8 Tried and True Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks

by Yazi

Before we dive into the steps of how to overcome the problem, it seems appropriate to first answer the question "what is creative block?".

In a nutshell, it's a form of mental block wherein you simply can't figure out how to approach something or what to do next, similar to how writers suffering from writer's block can't think of their next sentence or topic.

Creative blocks are a blight to every entrepreneur's and creative worker's life, whether you're a painter or a musician. And the sad inescapable reality is, creative blocks are ubiquitous in life, and you'll encounter it at various points in your life.

To help you climb out of that metaphorical well, here are a list of eight tips on how to overcome creative block.

1. Keep a journal.

Keeping a journal allows you to be mentally free and expressive. It's a technique that lets you target your stream of conscious intentionally and extract thoughts out of your head in more precise and vivid detail.

Since creative block is basically a mental rut, you can also implement specialized journaling methods that encourage your thoughts to pour out. Be as honest as possible when journaling, regardless of how difficult or embarrassing it might feel to write it on paper.

Maintaining the integrity of the information that's on your journal is imperative to making the technique for you.

2. Reframe your mind.

Thinking the same trains of thought on a daily basis is what created this mental rut in the first place, so it's only sensible that you try to think differently if you want to resolve the problem.

Reframing your mind is a powerful way of overcoming creative block. Think outside the box and entertain weird or funny solutions.

Instead of going to your common habits of listening to your music playlist or going out for a walk around the neighborhood, reframe your mind by quitting, doing something completely unrelated to your work.

3. Move your body.

Sitting in front of your computer screen six to eight hours per day can dull both the mind and body. And since the two are interrelated, your mind can be affected by whatever you choose to do with your body.

If you live a sedentary lifestyle, the mind can also stagnate. Move around at least every three hours of work that you do. Going to the bathroom or taking a smoking break doesn't count.

Do something that's actually physically challenging, such as sports or weightlifting. Even better, do some outdoor activity, like hiking or canoeing. Physical exercise coupled with some time with nature can definitely reinvigorate your spirit and passion for work and life.

Read Also: Get Moving For Less Stress And More Energy

4. Jot down your ideas.

Brainstorming is another common technique on how to get rid of creative block. It encourages you to think in different angles and exhaust all viable options then narrow it down to the most logical and doable one. 

Effective brainstorming begins by jotting down everything that comes to your head that's related to the topic. No matter how crazy the thought is, as long as it's relevant, jot it down. 

Once you've listed down all the possible options, look at the high-level picture and analyze each option thoroughly. 

5. Do something random.

A regular routine helps relieve some of the workload from your mind. Every time you wake up, you don't have to think about and stress over what to do next. You just go to the bathroom, wash your face, and brush your teeth. Afterwards, you can either eat breakfast or do some light workout. 

But as beneficial as routines come, they also slowly train your mind to be lazy and uncreative. Insert at least one random activity in your day, whether it's playing a videogame with other people, drawing on a piece of paper, or visiting the dog park and playing with the pups. 

These activities don't have an exact outcome and so anything can happen i.e. you might meet a new friend at the dog park, you might encounter a new puzzle on the video game you're playing, or accidentally draw the outline of a product idea. 

6. Review your day.

Perhaps one of the most common bedtime mistakes is not recounting everything you've learnt throughout the day. Before bedtime, list the things you learned that day. 

Explain it in your own words and in great detail. Consider learning and mastering the technique of lucid dreaming, which is basically maintaining consciousness while dreaming. 

Once you can maintain that state, you can choose to stay in that dream and explore. Getting to that state, however, will take time and consistent practice to achieve. 

7. Advocate for breaks.

After working for a while, the mind might hit a wall at one point. That is why it is crucial to take regular breaks from tasks. A study from Hiroshima University has shown that the perfect formula for perfect productivity is 52 minutes of work to 17 minutes of break. 

This means that we should make an effort to actually do something relaxing and different in those 17 minutes. 

You don't have to have a rec room to for your break time. Below is a list of better ways to take 10, 15 or 17 off at the office.

Energizing Activities: 

- Set out equipment like a yoga mat for stretching. If you don't have enough space for a yoga mat, try doing some desk stretches. A jew stretching moves can give you that energy boost you need and lower a chance of getting lower back and neck pain.
- Head outside and walk around your block or building. Schedule a few breaks with a brief, brisk walk throughout the entire workday could make you happier, healthier and more productive on the job.

Brain-Boosting + Social Activities: 

- Puzzles can keep your brain running and enhance your focus. To get the social benefit, try assembly puzzles that specially designed for a group play such as, pyramid puzzle or wooden high rise condo.
- How about designing a funny e-card send it to your co-workers? This idea is a great way to spread some office cheer. This idea could work in some offices, but might not work in some other offices.

Relaxing Activities:

- Take a nap, period. We all know how short napping has multiple benefits to your brain. This choice could easily fall into both energizing and brain-boosting activities.
- Head to a nearby coffee shop and treat yourself to a warm drink. Take the time to actually sit, relax and savor every sip of it.

8. Power through.

There are times when overcoming creative blocks is just a matter of pushing through no matter what. It can seem easier said than done, but in a way, it is sort of like exercising. 

At the beginning of your exercising, it can be difficult to keep going, especially if you feel exhausted, but once you push past that breaking point, the rest of it will seem easy. 

It can be the same way with your writing, business idea planning or designing, push through the hard time and the creativity will come back.

Final Thoughts

Remember, there is no one time or permanent solution on how to get over a creative block. For as long as you do anything that's even remotely creative, you'll encounter creative blocks. 

Consistently practicing the creative thinking techniques listed above will help you better deal with it when it does surface up again. 

In addition to these eight techniques, there are a lot more you can explore, such as keeping children's toys on your office desk, engaging in flash fiction writing, and trying out different creativity tests designed by brain experts.

About the Author: Yazi is an inspired writer who enjoys writing about personal growth, self-help tips, and women's lifestyle.

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