You’re staring at the screen or a pile of paperwork. You know what needs to be done but your brain has shut down; creativity is at an all-time low and all you want to do is… nothing. This is called a rut.
Not all jobs require great levels of creativity, but for those who have careers in the arts, public relations, marketing, publishing and advertising, being creative is essential. All jobs can incur stress and anxiety, but being stuck in a creative rut can be especially damaging when this forms the core of your job.
Escape the dreaded creative rut by following these simple steps. And remember: it’s alright to step away, take a timeout, speak to friends and colleagues, ask for advice and ideas, and do something completely different for a bit until you feel motivated enough to finish what you started.
Get up and go
You have a deadline and you haven’t even started the project. You’ve done the research, asked for opinions and still nothing. Sound familiar? Get up and go for a walk. Remove yourself from the workspace and go for lunch, take a stroll somewhere quiet or bustling (depending on your mood) or even hit the gym for a quick sweat session. Stop thinking about work for a bit, then return and attempt it with a fresh outlook.
Against the grain
Nothing tampers creativity more than routine. Doing the same thing repeatedly becomes boring, and while bureaucracy may play a part in how you carry out creative work, you need to look at it from all angles including those that don’t seem “right” the first time around. Many famous brands and designs became successful by going against the norm, being rebellious and not caring about what the masses thought.
Close your eyes and breathe
Meditation used to be the domain of yogis and religion, but it has become - and been proven to be - an effective way to quiet the mind and help people find focus and calm. Breathing techniques enhance meditation and bring clarity to the thought process, which in turn will get dormant creativity flowing.
Play that funky music
Okay, it doesn’t have to be funky – it can be soothing, melodic, deep, loud. But music has the amazing ability to calm us down, rev us up, clear our heads and inspire creativity. If you’re in an open-plan space, listening to your favourite playlist can also instil a sense of privacy so you can concentrate on your creative task.
Exercise + rest
This could be the most basic formula to cure a multitude of sins, including losing your creative flow! Speaking to a group of creatives, we found that when the ideas dried up, doing something physical from something gentle like Hatha yoga to hitting a punching bag did wonders for work the next day. Pair that with a good night’s sleep and that article you were stuck on or design that was going nowhere will come to life again.