Everyone who works on a creative field has those days where nothing seems to flow. Creativity has infinite potential, but our brains and our energy are quite limited and must be maintained. Yet, deadlines don’t care about that, so how do we deal with it?
As someone who works on a creative field as well, I find that most of the time lacking in creativity has more to do with lack of concentration and energy rather than running out of ideas. For example, most novelists can turn in a first draft of a completed book in three months, leading them to write at least one book a year. You must think this means they are constantly inspired… But it’s not that.
Inspiration, in fact, has nothing to do with it. They just know where the story has to go and they know how to write it. That doesn’t mean it will be easy all the way through, but what matters is getting through the bulk of the work and then polishing the rough edges later.
The same principles apply to the contractor business.
If you’re struggling to finish a project, write posts, creating your marketing campaign, a project proposal… Here are a few tips to get you unstuck and back to work!
Reading is an excellent exercise no matter the day. Your brain behaves like a muscle – the more you train it, the stronger it gets, allowing you to solve more complicated problems and difficult situations faster. In extension, it sharpens your creativity and allows you to enjoy more of it for longer.
This is not exact science, since everyone is different, but reading will absolutely make any of your creative endeavours a much smoother ride.
Give it time
Personally, I work the very best when I can do the bulk of the work in one day and finish it the next – this gives me the perfect amount of time to check my work with a clear mindset, make improvements and fix mistakes.
But… obviously certain deadlines make it impractical to wait a full day before resuming projects. Sometimes we have to get it done quickly and move on to other things.
Still, I recommend taking very short breaks if you’re feeling stuck. Take a moment to snack, or breathe some fresh air, stretch, watch a video, and allow yourself to truly disconnect from work – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. That alone can be the rest your mind needed to get back into the flow!
Look for inspiration
Looking for inspiration is one of the best ways to get unstuck… but also distracted.
It’s way too easy to find yourself losing tons of time “looking” for inspiration in a deeper way, rather than in a practical way. As in, you can look at pictures, examples, templates, but none of it helps you directly – you’re just waiting for your own inspiration to hit. That works too, mind you, but not always.
I find that it’s more productive and healthy to set a goal. Instead of looking for inspiration “aimlessly”, try to determine exactly what you want to achieve. Are you an interior designer trying to figure out a color scheme? Start with that. Take notes and try to focus on making progress, rather than waiting for progress.
It’s a fine line, and I’ll be honest when I say I regularly find myself distracted when looking for inspiration and need to shock myself out of it. Don’t be hard on yourself. The mind loves to wonder. When you’re working though, it’s important to stay focused so you can get things done!
Your body affects your mind way more than you might think. A healthy body leads to a healthier mind – that’s a fact.
I’ll get to the physical exercise part below, but for when you’re just sitting by your desk and feeling a bit clunky, there are a few stretches you can perform even without getting up. These are perfect for releasing some tension throughout the day, but I highly recommend at least one proper stretching session outside of the desk.
Being able to feel your body and release that tension really helps, especially during busy and stressful days.
Physical exercise is one of our most basic necessities. Yes, I know, people don’t like hearing that, but it’s true.
Some lines of contractor work allow for a lot of moving around, so you probably already exercise by simply performing the practical part of your job. But if most of your line of work is in the office, then you should incorporate some sort of physical activity because your body needs it more than it lets you know.
Here are a few ways to incorporate physical exercise in your day:
- Get a standing desk. Sitting all day can be very detrimental to your body, so a standing desk can help remedy the problem.
- Take walks around the neighborhood. Great for clearing your mind and doesn’t have to take long. A short 15-minute can save the day sometimes.
- Bodyweight exercises. You don’t need to go to the gym or purchase gear to perform most exercises. There are tons of bodyweight routines out there if you’re looking for something a bit more high-intensity.
- Yoga. Very light and slow, yoga is still phenomenal for your body and mind alike.
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