For all of us creatives out there, it can be hard to stay focused and productive throughout the week. Whether we like it or not, the deadlines we have and the clients we talk to will demand our attention and creative thinking.
Being fixated on work for extended periods of time can be exhausting, but our minds are the sharpest tools we have in the design industry we work in. As someone who struggled with meeting client’s criteria in the past, I will tell you about some of the things I’ve done to free my mind and think more clearly as a result.
Open your mind to new ideas
Becoming and staying creative is all about accepting new ideas – no close-minded designer has ever become successful. This means you should do something new, unknown and unexpected every once in a while. Watch an animated movie with foreign voices, go to a Thai or Chinese restaurant even though you never did or simply travel someplace new.
Being open to new ideas and activities helps you stay creative, free and unburdened to the outside world. Unlocking your thinking requires accepting the world as it is, not as you see it personally. Do your best to try everything you can get your hands on and learn to respectfully disagree with the things you don’t like.
Scheduled brainstorming activities
You might be familiar with the term “brainstorming” enough to know that it’s pivotal to our profession. Coming up with new ways to combine existing ideas and designs takes practice and ingenuity – something you can only acquire through trial and error. Do yourself a favor and brainstorm on a daily basis.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and start writing, scribbling, sketching or simply collaging the paper altogether. Doing creative exercises will help you unlock the part of your brain tasked with creative thinking and problem solving – two of the most important traits designers should nourish. You can also go an extra mile and gather your notes into a scrapbook for later use, once you get actual clients and tangible projects to apply them to.
Find your chill zone
Designers and creatives are a fickle breed – we need a special place and time to be truly productive. Finding your “chill zone” as I like to call it takes some time and experimentation, which is something not many people like to do. If you are productive in the early hours of the morning, why not use that and wake up really early to work on important projects? Feel like a night owl that doesn’t work well with others? Why not stay up really late and work on whatever design work you have in store for the day?
As a creative, your job is to find the appropriate time and place in which you feel content enough to think freely. This is the true purpose of pursuing creative thinking and unlocking your creative potential. Don’t work in strict hours if you are not that type of a person. What works for some doesn’t necessarily translate well to others, so focus on creating a “chill” schedule that you are comfortable with following.
These are the three rules I try to follow on a daily basis. Some deviations will come along once in a while, but I always try to think of new ideas each day and work in my special corner of the apartment. Find the perfect solution to your creative block by allowing yourself the freedom to shape the world around you. Only then will you manage to unlock your thinking and succeed at becoming a good creative.