Recharging Your Creative Batteries in Three Easy Steps
Right-brained creative people are, in my opinion, the geniuses of our world. Sure, the left-brained scientists and technical experts are brilliant in their own regard, but they see things in 2-D, black and white; creatives see the world in 4-D, full color, with dimension and filters. The right brain is responsible for emotions, artistry, writing and imagination. The left brain is responsible for categorizing, analyzing, logic and (yikes!) math.
I’ve always been extremely creative and identified since childhood as a right-brained creative who despises math. Throughout my life, I’ve dabbled in piano, oil painting, colored pencil drawing, sewing, creative writing, poetry, virtually any arts-and-crafts project you can think of, dancing, and even ended up as a flute performance major during my first semester of college. Having been born on October 21, just two days shy of the Scorpio sign, my Libra traits are undeniable with creative juices flowing through my veins and a penchant for beauty and art. These days, my creative brain is used largely at Stokes to come up with website content, blogs, captivating Prezi and PowerPoint presentations, newsletters, email campaigns, social media posts and much more. It’s not easy, believe me!
One of the biggest problems that creatives suffer from is burnout and often hit roadblocks that prevent the beloved “A-HA!” moment from being born. It can be extremely frustrating and sadly sometimes there is no amount of coffee that can get you out of a creative slump. Although there are countless articles and resources on the topic of avoiding work burnout, my hope is that these three simple steps are enough to at least shift your thinking about the important role that restoration of mind and body plays in supporting the creative process. Since I’ve struggled with this in the past, here are a few of my best tips to help you avoid or get through a creativity halt.
- Maximize evenings and weekends
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, so many of us are bringing work home with us and oftentimes not truly enjoying our time off because we can’t seem to get everything done during our 8-hour day in the office. Establish a clear boundary to unplug and focus on yourself and your family. Without the proper amount of down time, your mind and body will both suffer and you’ll probably perform at 50 percent capacity during work hours. Fill your time away from the office with activities you enjoy, whether that’s sweating out your frustrations on the elliptical at the gym, curling up with the dog on the couch, laughing over a few episodes of Impractical Jokers on TV, reading SUCCESS magazine, etc., but don’t be a slave to your job and become a disgruntled, exhausted, work zombie. We’ve all worked with those people and they’re pretty scary, right? Creative thought requires fresh, clear-minded focus to allow your wheels to spin properly. You can’t do that if your wheels have been spinning full-speed until 8 p.m. or over the weekend. Maximize your evenings and weekends to give your creative brain a much-needed rest so it will be ready for the next time you’ll need it, especially Monday mornings!
- Keep an inspiration bank
Right-brained individuals are inspired by just about everything and anything we encounter—photos in a magazine, talk radio topics, or even a comment made by someone in a Doctor’s office waiting room—you name it! When we come in contact with something that gives us that spark and think “that’s a great idea”, it’s important to write it down. Keep an idea bank readily available so when you’re stuck you can quickly find inspiration to help get you back on the road to coming up with brilliant ideas you’re known for. When I find something inspiring on my phone, I take a screen shot so I can refer to it later. If I see an email that catches my eye, I print it out and save it in a folder to make my own version of it another time. Regardless of what inspires you, keep it nearby so you can use it for inspiration. For example, when I was thinking about the next blog topic to write about, I went to my list of ideas and “refreshing your creative batteries” struck a chord, and here we are. Your inspiration bank can help move you forward when you’re stuck—try it!
- Take a 5-minute walking break
Sitting at a desk all day can be physically and mentally painful. Until the day comes where all offices have treadmill desks, we’re basically stuck in a seat staring at a computer screen and there isn’t much we can do about that. When you start to feel the tension in your low back and shoulders (and the dreaded mental roadblock to creativity), that’s your cue to get up and move. Stand up and take a few laps around the office or go outside and get some fresh air for a few minutes, like a “nonsmoking smoke break” for your brain—it might help! Movement also helps to change our physiology like fatigue and the increase in blood flow may help you break through to your next “A-HA” moment. While you’re up, don’t forget to stop by the water cooler for some hydration (which also fights wrinkles, as I frequently tell my coworkers). The main point here is to listen to your body and your brain when they tell you that you are not functioning at 100 percent and take a break.
So, there you have it, fellow right-brainers … three simple ways to help keep your creative batteries fully charged and come up with great ideas for your business or clients. If you ever feel like you’d like a fresh set of batteries for your upcoming projects, please remember the Stokes team and I are ready and willing to join your team and blend the creative and technical aspects together to make a masterpiece. Our creative batteries are charged up and ready to help so call us today at 609-859-8400.
-Nicole M. Pace, M.A. (Director of Marketing & Communication)