Trying to be more creative can be exhausting. In fact, sometimes it can seem like more work than your actual job.
I should know--I just went through this at my new start-up, an online greeting card company called Open Me. While developing our logo we hit a serious creative rut. Finally, after looking for inspiration in the logos of other major brands, we came up with a simple and elegant solution.
Need your own inspiration? Try one of these tactics to get your juices flowing:
1. Let go of your fears. Reaching your creative peak means dropping your inhibitions. So what if you make some mistakes along the way? Begin working with a mindset that's free of any fear or interest in immediate perfection and take it one step at a time.
Try this: Simply dive into your work without excessive preparation. Don't fall into the trap of to-do lists and detailed calendars--dive in and stop wasting time.
2. Let it be. Unchain yourself from your project or task for some time--you might be surprised what taking a step back can do for helping your creativity flow. Sometimes, focusing on one task for a long time clouds your judgment and impedes creativity in the process. Exiting your task for a short period of time and returning to it later will help you to see the project with fresh eyes and perspective.
Try this: Rather than flipping to a new task, walk away from your workspace entirely and participate in some sort of physical activity for 30 minutes.
3. Get inspired. Do as Jack London says, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Waiting around for a spark isn't always an efficient option when you've got clients and customers. Go out and find your inspiration yourself. The good news is, there are no rules for how you must do it. Do what works for you.
Try this: Thumb through the work of someone who inspires you creatively, or read blogs from thought leaders that get your gears turning.
4. Revisit past ideas. Whether you keep a notebook for your past ideas or you've just kept them stored away mentally, it's time to circle back. There may be something you've previously worked on that will help you reach a new level of creativity in the present.
Try this: Take a past idea and look for ways to improve or expand upon it. See if you can adapt it to your current needs, or simply reflect upon it as a way to stay inspired.
5. Share. If you're struggling with an idea or task, share it with someone else. Seek out a new creative perspective by having your coworkers or team members comment on how they'd improve the idea or where they envision the project heading.
Try this: Rather than sharing the details of your idea or task in full, disperse bits and pieces of your vision or goals to see if others can connect the dots in a new way.
6. Get some rest. It's amazing what sleep can do for your mind. Sometimes the most challenging tasks or creative roadblocks are better undertaken after a good night's sleep. If you've reached a roadblock or the creative juices have stopped flowing, sleep on it before driving yourself silly attempting to force productivity.
Try this: Take a nap and revisit an idea afterward, or save the task for tomorrow. Avoid tackling any important projects if your mind isn't sharp after a good night's rest.
7. Exit your comfort zone. Whether you've got a physical comfort zone--like your office or workspace--or a mental one, it's time to leave it. You may work more efficiently there, but that doesn't always leave room for creativity. Switch it up and create a change of scenery to get the juices flowing.
Try this: Do some of your work outdoors on a coffee shop patio, or take your laptop to a new part of the office.
8. There's an app for that. If all else fails, there are a number of apps that may do the trick of inspiring your creativity. Many provide a space to store your notes, visual displays for presentations, or brainstorming exercises to break through mental roadblocks.
Try this: Together with your team, download a few new apps for creative purposes and test them out for your project or current task.
How do you get moving when you're creatively drained?