Number 1 Formula to Overcome Creativity Block You Will Ever Need
I used to struggle a lot with overcoming creativity block. For months my work on articles, videos, and podcasts was severely impacted. There was a difficult time when it took me a whole week to complete something that should have been done in an afternoon. I felt miserable. My work was stuck and I wasn’t making any progress.
So is there a fast, proven and simple way to overcome your block?
To overcome the creativity block, you need to release the stress and pressure you currently face. It will allow you to explore new things and find a fresh perspective. In the long term, to stop the return of creativity block, modify your work habits, and add relaxation rituals to stay energetic and inspired through the day.
Finally, I’ve decided to break this depressing cycle and find a solution. Few tries were not successful but eventually I figured it out, and right now, I rarely have issues with coming up and developing new ides
Let me share with you what you can do, to solve your creativity block problems.
I found that the key to overcoming creativity block in the long term consists of 3 elements. If you follow this you will also improve the quality of your overall creative workflow.
1. You need to immediately break the cycle that causes you to block
2. Find a 24h a day ritual that will fuel you with energy to work
3. Schedule future events that will get you excited and hopeful for the upcoming 2-3 months
Let’s go into details.
What to do when you’re creatively stuck?
Immediately break the cycle that keeps you there. You won’t fix everything in 24 hours but step by step you can fix your current situation. There is no immediate solution, but I don’t want you to feel discouraged about it. Without implementing any changes you will be stuck in the same place for weeks and months.
So start taking simple but meaningful steps. Do something that will give you energy and not remorse, for example:
- Go to the gym, on a long walk, go out and bike vs. eat a giant chocolate cake,
- Watch something inspiring but reasonably short vs. going on a series binge,
- Call an old friend for a personal connection vs. scrolling social media for an entire afternoon
Do something that breaks your cycle and routine that keeps you stressed.
Find a 24h ritual that allows you to stay free from creativity block
Develop a good day formula that you can repeat every day to be productive, but also inspired, but not burdened and overloaded.
There are limitless options on how can you implement this, but I follow every day something similar to this plan.
1. After you wake up do something that energizes you
A walk in a park with a dog, a swim in the pool, a 30min cardio session, a trip to the gym, etc. Something that will give you energy.
2. Complete quickly stuff that might haunt you through a day
Any urgent appointments you need to schedule, a mail with information you’ve promised to send. Get out of the mind, stuff that has the potential to haunt you for an entire day.
3. Work in a place that supports creativity
For some it will be a clean desk, others will prefer a chaotic, creative mess.
4. Eat fresh, stay hydrated, stay healthy to avoid stress
Your overall health will remove a lot of stress and allow you to focus on the essentials. Be hydrated with healthy drinks. Even minor dehydration can cause you a lot of energy.
5. Disconnect from the computer during the day
Most of my work is done in front of the computer. I could sit there from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. It is important to disconnect for a brief period.
6. Brainstorm ideas using pen and paper
Sit down and write ideas for the most effective brainstorming. All of them. You won’t use them all. Or maybe you will come back to some of them in 6 months, but allow for a free flow of creativity.
7. Seek inspirations in other areas
Watch or listen to something outside of your work bubble. If you work in tech, then check interesting ideas from the world of politics or sport.
8. Celebrate success at the end of the day
If you will appreciate your work then you will start a new day with more positivity and an open mind.
9. Read a book for relaxation
Find a time for this every day. Even 30 mins. You will end every year with new 30+ read books and your perspective on the world and creativity will be wildly improved.
Long term things to help you overcome creativity block
The simplest way to do it is to have things you can’t wait to start. We can group those basically in two main categories – holidays and new projects.
1. Plan holidays you love
Every year in May I go hiking in the mountains and in August I go windsurfing. I love doing this. I can’t way every year for May and August. This gives me a lot of energy to work.
2. Have a backlog of exciting projects
When I work on something I need to finish it quickly because there are many more exciting things to do next. But be careful not to skip or just pick the things you like. Those projects don’t have to be work-related. You can organize your garage, get new plants for your balcony, create a gallery of pictures at home, etc.
Things to avoid that cause creativity block:
1. Saying yes to every request – if you agree to do everything you are asked of, the pressure will just grow and finally crush you. It will squish your creativity.
2. Social media – social media has only one job. To hook you in and not let go. The more time you spend there the more ads can be served to you so the companies can make more money. Social media is designed for maximum consumption and not for inspiration (despite what their marketing says).
3. Netflix binges (or any other video service binges) – similarly as with social media. They are designed to send you on a binge. The more time you spent there the higher chance you will renew your subscription for the next month. You probably won’t spark your creativity from watching 30 episodes of a show (even a good one).
4. Procrastination – at first procrastination looks like salvation. Let’s just delay this thing that is hard by a day. But the next day you repeat it, and the next, and the next. Finally, you will decide not to followthrough at all.
5. Being stuck in the bubble – constantly thinking about one thing and not being able to jump to different tracks. Stop thinking about that task that haunts you for a few hours.
Here are 7 best creative block exercises to unblock you
1. Fitness, gym, training – basically push something heavy to get your endorphins flowing. The gym is my personal pick, but there are no winners or losers here.
2. Get in contact with nature – a mountain hike, stroll through the forest, a walk on the beach, anything that can make you stop and feel the sense of wonder.
3. Read a book you’ve always wanted to read and think if you would do the same as the main character. Some time ago a picked a Witcher series which has a great lot of moral ambiguity to wonder about.
4. Listen to a podcast that would not be your first choice – something outside of your expertise that will leave you wondering how things in this space work. Here is a great 15min podcast episode that kept me in shock for years after I’ve first listened to it.
5. Listen to an inspiring figure that will blow your mind
Just look here like Carl Sagan, one of the greatest scientist educators, goes. Truly amazing.
6. Watch something advanced – something out of your league so the questions in your head can start poping
Here is a panel about the Large Hadron Collider. Very inspiring and makes you wonder about the future.
7. Do something simple – cook a meal, play with building blocks with a child, something that requires manual work, and drags you away from the computer.
What are the most common types of creative blocks?
1. Second-guessing everything you do
2. Fear of failure preventing you from starting, progressing, or finishing
3. Low productivity cycle – spending hours on tasks requiring minutes
4. Personal problems with a close one – super-powerful distractor
5. Health problems – it is difficult to think about work when the future is uncertain
6. Financial problems – same as above; in this situation creativity becomes less important
7. Being overwhelmed – if you have a backlog of 30 things you need to do in a month you will get paralyzed from all the pressure
Popular questions concerning crativity block:
Yes, it can be classified as a type of anxiety. But regardless of the label, you want to use, everyone that has a highly creative work or passion, experience a form of creativity block. In some cases, it is very severe and can ruin a career, but in a light form, it can mean you will just have an unproductive afternoon or a week.
Creativity block can be caused by stress, overwhelming work, poor health, personal or financial problems, etc. Anything that can occupy your mind in a strong and intrusive way can block your creativity, even a call to a doctor a friend you keep postponing for days.
Yes, stress is probably the main thing that kills creativity. But stress can be caused by many things. So you must get rid of the things that cause stress in the first place to reduce stress levels and unblock your creativity.
Some of us are lucky and work without obstacles a full year-round.
William Faulkner, an American writer, once said “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”
That is a nice thought but in reality, all people will struggle with a block sooner or later. The best thing about overcoming a creativity block is that is possible to do.
I’ve just outlined a good process that can prevent you from falling into the state of blocked creativity, low productivity, and low self-esteem.
Implement this simple 3 point routine of breaking a creativity block and your chances of getting done a lot of work will skyrocket.
- Immediately break the cycle,
- Develop a 24-hour ritual or high energy,
- Have long-term inspiring plans.
What is your story of the biggest creativity block you had to overcome?