Every now and then you’ll be sitting there working away when suddenly, out of nowhere, BAM. A wall. Ouch.
Creativity doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes you get to a certain point and you’re absolutely stumped. No matter what you do, the solution to the problem just keeps evading you. Or, you’ll start off thinking you’re heading in the right direction, only to find that the idea looked a lot better in your head.
And so you hit that wall. All creative processes come to a halt, and you end up sitting there staring blankly at your computer screen, being completely unproductive. Your mind starts drifting to that game on your iPhone you wish you were playing right this second…
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to design, but to all kinds of problems and projects in work or life where you just can’t seem to focus and come up with a solution. So what can be done? Here’s some of what I feel are the best ways to bust through that wall.
1. Start with the small stuff. Hitting a wall has a way of making you feel pretty defeated, but instead of stressing about not accomplishing anything, start conquering some of the smaller tasks on your to-do list. The satisfaction of a few little victories can help put you back in the mood to tackle those larger issues.
2. Go for a walk. If you’re just sitting there staring at a blank screen you obviously aren’t getting anything done. So get out and stretch your muscles. It may be just what you need to clear you head and who knows, you may find some kind of inspiration out in the world away from your desk. Sometimes you just need a little time alone to think and relax your mind.
3. If a walk isn’t enough, try working in a different environment. If you can’t focus at your desk, maybe you just need a change of scenery. Grab your laptop and head to a nearby cafe.
4. Tidy! I’m sure not everyone enjoys cleaning as much as I do, but I find it really makes a difference. If you can’t focus, clean up any clutter on and around your desk. Clearing your workspace can help clear your mind.
5. Listen to music. It’ll help drown out distractions and ease tension. If you’re already listening to music, switch it up. Find something with a different pace. Personally, I find I’m most productive when I listen to country music. If I’m tired, I switch to dance tunes.
6. Forget about it! Well, not really. But try doing something else and just let the problem sit in the back of your mind, marinating for a while. You can’t always force things to happen. That “ah-ha!” moment might just sneak up out of nowhere.
7. Reward yourself. Tell yourself that if you accomplish something (e.g. work on a project non-stop for two hours, come up with five design concepts, write a certain number of paragraphs, etc) that you’ll treat yourself to a delicious snack, or 15 minutes of Angry Birds playing time, or whatever kind of reward you need to motivate you.
8. Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t be afraid to work on something because you think it’s not good enough. Expect that not everything you do is going to be perfect right off the bat, but at least it’s a start. It’s better to have a rough start than no start at all, and rough start can end up leading you somewhere great.
What are some of your ideas for busting through the creative wall?