Thursday, September 24th, 2020
Many know the pressure of needing to create something new out of scratch, constructing an unique work of art out of thin air. This could be writing a 2000 word article due the next day, or producing a stunning piece of graphic design for a client.
So it’s late at night, yet you’re still at your office or in front of your computer at home, pounding away attempting to come up with a creative solution.
You can’t concentrate, there are too many distractions which forces you to lose your focus, you become frustrated.
You’re still struggling away at that project that was due yesterday, that creative masterpiece you need to produce isn’t getting done.
Your mind is completely blank and at a standstill.
Grasping At Straws
You haven’t come up with anything new or substantial, as panic begins to set in and you continue to spin your wheels.
For reasons unknown, it’s also difficult if not impossible to walk away from the task at hand. as frustration builds.
You’re hoping the solution, the answer is just a mind shift away, as you hope for a breakthrough.
If your work involves you to think and produce creatively, it can become a work hazard, which is part of the territory.
Realize you’re bound to encounter these mental roadblocks.
The Need To Be Creative
The most difficult can be starting a new project from scratch, writing unique content on your blog, or attempting to properly structure an upcoming presentation you need to deliver, and your mind goes blank.
You’re trying to be uniquely creative, productive, yet what happens is the problem gets lodged, goes into spin cycle and you can’t disengage yourself.
You find you’re constantly running into these same barriers time and time again, so you need a solution.
Once this happens, the most common reaction is to multiply your efforts, work harder, while panic sets in.
What you think is it’s persistence, determination and motivation that’s needed, and what any successful outcome needs is harder work and sweat equity.
The Burden That Is Creativity
When it comes to creative breakthroughs, what research shows is something completely different.
While working harder does have its merits when it comes to producing creative solutions, it’s found this dogged persistence can actually become counterproductive.
It’s found whenever you’re looking for a solution to a problem, especially a creative one, the more time and effort you spend deliberating, the more your focus begins to narrow.
It becomes a familiar protocol, that once a problem is first encountered, there are certain solutions which will immediately come to the forefront, which may not feel right.
You then attempt to reexamine the issue, give it new perspective, then you try and try again.
Before you know it, you’ve become counterproductive and your mind begins to spin in loops.
What happens is you begin to lose focus on the bigger picture, while becoming fixated on the smaller details.
The harder you try, you come up with fewer ideas as your mind goes blank, and diminishing returns occur.
You Go Into Bang Your Head Mode
At this point, you need to give yourself a break when you’ve reached this impasse, as giving it time and distance becomes advantageous.
Once you begin directing your attention away from the problem temporarily, what you’re allowing is your focus to wander elsewhere.
The answers to the problem will then suddenly begin to flood your mind, bridging those creative gaps when you least expect it.
We all know that the occasional long weekend, or an extended vacation away from work can result in a rejuvenated more focused perspective.
These options however aren’t usually available in a time crunch, when you’re facing an imposing deadline.
Take Small Breaks Or Switch Tasks
If you want to make progress, allow small yet related distractions to divert and occupy you.
Allow yourself to lose your focus on occasion, and think of other things you can temporarily do.
Once you feel yourself getting mentally stuck and begin losing your creativity, a well deserved “mini-break” can reset your mind.
Once you temporarily dismiss a problem you’re needing to solve, then your perspective suddenly begins to expand.
That’s why you’ll discover solutions at the oddest places or times, such as during exercising, in the shower, watching a movie, or when having dinner, etc.
Redirecting your attention activates incubation, as your subconscious mind continues to churn away in the background.
Once you give yourself this brief distraction by giving yourself a break, doing so activtes the creative mind to your immediate problems.
Answers will then suddenly begin to flood towards you more rapidly, than if you were focusing on the issue intently.
The key is knowing when you’re feeling stuck and you need to take a break.
For the majority of the time, it’s when you’re beginning to feel discouraged, is when you can benefit from walking away and taking a break.
Creative Thinking Involves Multiple Sessions
It’s found the most productive way of resolving any type of difficult problem, resolving a creative issue, is to avoid thinking intently on it for the time being.
You can do so by strategically shifting your thinking and attention elsewhere.
Instead of setting aside a block of time to work on or solve a creative project, instead, schedule shorter sessions which are more frequent and intense.
By planning these periods of alternate thinking, by promising to get your mind off the task, does is guarantees your focus expands.
Create A To-Do List
Any creative solution will rarely emerge when you need them to, such as when you’re at the office sitting behind your computer expecting the answers to appear.
This is the reason why it becomes helpful to write down an ongoing list of things to do, projects, or issues you need to solve.
Make sure you revisit and add to this list whenever you have time.
To Remove The Creativity Roadblock
Occasionally glance at the “to-do” list when you have the opportunity, then allow your mind to become free and let it wander, this by doing other tasks such as shopping or jogging.
You could be going out for lunch or driving to a meeting, and then bang, suddenly the solution will come to you.
What doing such a completely unrelated task does, is it flushes out fresh new solutions which pops into your head.
Ultimately, the key when it comes to harnessing this power, which is known as psychological distancing, is taking a break, especially when the solution won’t appear when you want them to.
When you’re pressing your brain for answers, by attempting to work harder, what you get is flustered and a migraine.
What’s preferred is you allow them to sneak up on you when you’re least expecting it, as your subconscious mind is constantly working nonstop to provide the answers.
Then once these solutions occur unexpectedly, make sure you have a pen and paper on hand.