1. Take more time to read
And no, I don’t mean professional development or design books. New creative ideas sometimes come when you’re not focused on creative work, so take time to dig into new best-selling books or go back to some of the classics. Heck, get a new graphic novel, comic book or YA series that captures your attention. Some of these works actually have some incredible creative elements: beautiful covers, vivid copy and incredible characters that can really get your creative wheels spinning. If you’re more of a studious reader that would prefer historical fiction or biographies, well, go for it! No one is judging you. 😊
2. Goof off with my colleagues more
Yep, you read that right. I don’t know about you, but our minds sometimes goes into “creative lockdown.” If I focus too much on getting a creative or strategic task done, my mind freezes. It’s an incredibly frustrating and emotionally exhausting experience. Rather than sitting at my desk, I like to take time to regroup and connect in-person with other like-minded professionals. We take the time to vent our frustrations and catch up on other things at events, most notably HOW Design Live. In an event environment our minds are open and receptive to new inspiration. By being able to conduct conversations organically helps us go back to work reenergized. Before we know it, we’re brainstorming ideas, untangling puzzles and tackling all of the challenges we were having isolated by virtual communication. It goes to show that sometimes, you simply can’t force creativity.
3. Move my body
Ariana Huffington has always been a big proponent of walking meetings, and some research has indicated that exercise can make you more creative. It makes sense: when you go for a walk, your head feels clearer and your body feels, well, lighter. But you don’t have to drop everything and run a 5K or lift weights for an hour. It could be as simple as walking around your office, running up and down the stairs a few times or having an impromptu dance party. Do what moves you in the moment! (No pun intended.) This year, I’ve been making this a more integral part of my day-to-day, whether that be Huffington’s tried-and-true walking meeting or a quick moment to shake the stress out. I know it pays off.
4. Walk away
When you’re tapped out, you’re tapped out. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your mind and body may be depleted. That’s OK. Seriously. I know better than anyone that there is always something to do. Literally, always. Any time I cross something off the list, there are five more things to add. That’s just the way it is in this fast-moving, always-on, digitally-driven world. It’s up to you to walk away when you need to. Are you up for the challenge?