I’m in the process of finalising a project and I’m completely stuck. Fiddlesticks! It’s 4pm on a Sunday and I have the worst creative block in history! After an almost-melt-down, I decide to set this tragedy of me staring at a blank page to an end. I get up and then it strikes me:
I know how to end this! I’ve done it before!
When I was younger, my mum and I used to have our creative nights with the simple purpose of creating. So I pull myself together and, as a to-do-list-lover, make a plan for the night. It worked wonders! You want to know how I did it? Here’s how to have a creative night:
1. Stop drinking coffee
I know it’s hard, but stay away from too much caffeine — in any form. Because of the negative impact caffeine can have on your health, you should stick to water or caffeine-free tea from 4pm on. That way, your creative juices can flow freely and your sleep later on won’t get affected.
2. Make space
Your mind is being reflected in your environment. So set a timer for 5 minutes and clean up your work space. Make sure to eliminate any possible distractions, including your phone. If you want to take it a step further, you may want to make some quick creativity-fostering changes at your work place. This is known to stimulate your brain as well.
3. Get moving
The best way to reset and kick-start your thought process is physical exercise. So get outside, let your mind wander and push yourself further! As a growing body of evidence proves, sports and the increased ability to be creative are closely linked.
4. Sparkling thoughts trigger a brain-firework
I don’t sweat, I sparkle. Especially, when I am creative. So as soon as you get home, write down all the thoughts you had during your exercise. This is something, the author and blogger Michael Hyatt suggests to do. These fresh and sparkling ideas will give you the perfect start and — after a shower — a base for your first brainstorming session, leading up to a brain-firework!
5. Get started
You’re already right in the middle of the creative night and circumvented the creative block without even thinking about having another melt-down. Congratulations!
If you’re looking for more inspiration for particularly tricky problems, you might want to have a look at the problem solving approach of Design Thinking which I explained in another post.
6. Work, pause, wine, repeat
It might be tempting to make use of your rush of creativity and get things done as quickly as possible. Seems reasonable, however, not the smart way as I had to learn it the hard way. Taking breaks supports the creative activity of your brain and will make the whole evening less draining but rather enjoyable. So treat yourself, have a glass of wine, or blast some music and dance yourself into the next brain-firework!
7. Get enough sleep!
You can be in the most creative mood but if you’re running on too little sleep, chances are high that you get less productive or, worst case, even ill. This means that when you’re starting to feel too tired,
stop working and get into bed!
Your health should be your first priority so you can seize both night and day.
+1 Insider tip: Know your chronotype
We all have a natural internal clock, also known as a circadian clock or our chronotype. Our chronotype determines when we are active during the day and when we are not. There are several factors which have an influence on this, however, besides the internal factor of genetic predisposition for a certain chronotype, the main external factor is exposure to (sun)light. This means that, if you want your body to adjust better to your creative night sessions, you should try to avoid bright sunlight in the morning and seek it during the night.
So since I found my love for creative nights, I learned to see creative blocks as little challenges which are part of a process. And who doesn’t like a good challenge?