It has happened to all of us at some point in our professional lives. We start working on a project, we sketch some different concepts to explore possible solutions to that problem and suddenly we can’t come up with new ideas and none of the ideas that we already have to seem to be the correct one.
Personally, I need to switch projects during the day, for me, it’s very difficult to work on the same project for 8 hours on a row in the creative phase. Usually, after 2–3 hours, I need some rest, I simply can not come up with any new ideas anymore.
But I also have some other tricks for when this happens to me:
- Practice sports: For me, it really helps to go for a walk or go for a run outdoors. Especially in summer when the weather is good. The combination of practising some sport and enjoying the outdoors helps me to clarify my mind and think of new ways of solving that problem. Sometimes I even came up with the solution while practising it ;). This is something that I really miss from where I was a freelancer, at that time, I went for a walk in the park or went for a run whenever I needed and most of the times, it worked and I found the correct solution, but now working in a company is not that easy to go for a walk in the middle of the day.
- Check Pinterest, Dribble, Behance, Instagram or any similar website: When I’m in a creative block sometimes it helps to check visual work, even if it’s not related to my project. Sometimes it’s even better if it’s not related. It can be anything, photographies, graphic design projects, UI work…
- Listen to music: By listening to my favourite music it helps me a lot to focus and get into the creative mode again. I have specific songs and playlist for these moments.
- Switch to another project: As I said before, sometimes I just need to have some rest from that project and focus on a different one. Usually, I switch to a non-creative project like writing documentation for the dev team, doing some research, etc.
- Ask for feedback to anyone: Sometimes people have some suggestions or point out issues on my concepts that lead to better solutions and also help me to think of other ways of solving the same problem. In this case, I can ask for feedback to anyone, I’m just looking for different views/opinions so anyone can help.
- Change my scenario: Sometimes it really helps me to simply go somewhere else to work. Now, it’s very easy for me because I work in a co-working space so I have multiple different spaces to go (meeting rooms, common areas and also a club!). Especially the club helps me a lot, I don’t know exactly why but it’s a beautiful place and also working around other people with the noise of a typical bar (if it’s not too loud) help me to get in the creative mood.
- Flip through art books: This is similar to Behance and Dribble. Just by consuming visual content helps me to think and explore other ideas. Maybe I find a colour combination that could be good, or maybe a layout or grid lead me to come up with different options.
- Talking to people about the problem: This works better if I talk to someone who doesn’t know anything about the project. I don’t even show any concepts at all. I just talk and explain the problem that I need to solve. It might sound silly but by just talking about it, it helps to start thinking of possible solutions. Also sometimes, the person suggests to me something that is a good idea to try.
Anyway, no one likes creative blocks but they are inevitable. The best way to overcome them is to not stress about it, do not panic and just relax and get some rest. Besides, it’s good to try different things to identify those techniques that help you the most. Each one of us is different and maybe for me practising sport helps, but for you, it can be something totally different.