5 Quick Ways to Snap Out of a Creative Slump at Work
Let's face it: nothing can seem more dreadful than the idea of your brain running out of gas, especially when you're trying to make a dire deadline. And yet, as hard as you might try to prevent these mental burnouts, they still happen, time and time again. Sometimes it's as if I can feel my creativity being slowly sucked from my fingertips. "Wait. Don't go. Come back . . ."
But over time, I've learned two things: these roadblocks happen to us all, and as apocalyptic as these scenarios can seem at the time, a creative comeback will always arise. So whenever you find yourself feeling unfocused, unmotivated, or lacking inspiration, try these easy ways to snap out of that slump and take back the reigns of your creativity.
Ease your foot off the gas.
The first step toward overcoming a creative lull is acknowledging that you're in one. But as frustrating as these burnouts can be, it's important to be easy on yourself. Remember, this experience is natural and inevitable every now and then, and trying to work harder through this period will only leave you feeling even more burnt out.
This slump is not a reflection of your value or ability, it's simply your brain needing a break! So the sooner you ease your foot off the gas and show yourself some compassion and self-love, the quicker you'll be able to bounce back.
Forget about the pressure to be productive.
Just like when working any other muscle, creativity needs time to rest and recover. Sometimes the best strategy when you're experiencing a creative slump is to forget about the pressures of having to churn out creative work.
For instance, step away from your desk and get outside. Go for a walk. Breathe in fresh air. Squeeze in a quick yoga class during your lunch break, if possible. And if nothing else, tidy up your work area. While this idea might seem simple, I can't tell you how much better I instantly feel after Clorox-wiping my desk!
As Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her book Big Magic, "Any motion whatsoever beats inertia, because inspiration will always be drawn to motion." You heard the wise woman, get moving! And rest assured that slowly, your inspiration will start to feel more within reach.
Switch up your routine.
When you're navigating your way through the thick mud of a creative lull, consider switching up your routine. By doing the same thing day in, day out, your creativity can't help but become stunted, as your mind isn't experiencing anything new. Everything quickly becomes mundane and repetitive.
So instead of working the entire day at your desk, why not find another space to get in the zone? Whether it's in an area in the office or a cozy corner in a local cafe, bringing about change will assist in sparking new inspiration.
Give yourself permission to get away.
When none of the previous tips listed seem to do the trick, chances are your brain is in desperate need of a break. And by that I mean a real break, away from the office. Whether you need to take a mental health day or a couple of days to "get away from it all," if you have extra vacation days saved up, use them. What good is it doing you to sit at your desk, dwelling on your creative funk? This will only make you more stressed out.
When you give yourself permission to get away, you'll allow your mind to rest and recharge. Throughout this time, close your laptop and, as hard as it might be, try to forget about work. The only thing you should be busy doing during this break is seeking ways to relax and have some fun. In doing so, you'll quickly find that by loosening up, your mind will subconsciously become untangled, and inspiration will once again seep back in.
Press reset and jump back into the game.
After escaping reality for a day or two and giving yourself enough time to properly refuel your mind, it's essential to get back into the game. Whether you're 100-percent ready or not, sometimes all it takes is showing up. Picking up the pencil. Staring at the blinking cursor. Even if your ego is still bruised from temporarily losing your creative mojo, you'll have a better chance of finding new sparks of inspiration if you continue onward with your creative routine.
Trust yourself and be confident that you will crawl out of this creative rut. Trust me, great ideas are on the horizon. I can feel it!