Creativity in web design, graphic design, illustration, and any other creative profession is an integral part of daily life. And if you, as a creative professional, have ever experienced a creative block, you are certainly not alone. Keeping the creative juices flowing and fresh day in and day out can take a toll after awhile, but some daily practices can be the medicine you need.
Even if your dream and your passion is web design, a daily job in this field can suck the passion right out of you. And believe me, as an online writer for over 7 years, I feel the suckage right down to my very bones. So, this article is as much for you as it is for me!
If you have come to the point where walking up to your computer to start work each day (or night, depending on your routine) leaves you feeling drained, then it’s time to make changes. Below are some daily practices you can start to enhance creativity. I know that “daily practices” can sound a bit intimidating, but most of them are very easy, will add only a few minutes to your day, and are actually quite fun. I have tested them all, and found out that all work for me, with varying degrees and with different twists. So, like me, you’ll need to pick the ones that work best for you, and add them to your daily routine in a way that works for you to really renew your creative flow.
Drink a Beer or Two
I came across the above infographic a year or so ago and had to share it on my social media pages immediately. I love to drink a beer or sip on a shot of Vodka while writing as it seems to help me let go of the nitpicking every single sentence that I tend to do and just go with the flow of my brain. I also noticed that I usually had to wait until the next day to get any editing done, especially if I drank too much (check out “The Bad” section above).
The point is that a beer or two or even three (or a shot or so of your liquor of choice) are an excellent way to get those creative juices flowing, but you need to know your personal tolerance level to gage just how much to drink before it becomes a detrimental part of your daily practices.
More Tips for Overcoming Your Creative Block
Laugh Out Loud
Don’t be so serious! Laughter has been found to increase productivity and creativity in the workplace along with the more widely known benefits of reducing stress, boosting the immune system, reducing blood sugar, and much more. In fact, some studies show that laughing out loud can burn as many calories as a 10 minute workout! So, take some time every day to watch those funny cat videos, catch an episode of the Family Guy, or crack some jokes with your best friend. Your creativity and your longevity will be all the better for it!
Have a Conversation
When you are stumped on your design, ask for another opinion. Remember the saying, “Two heads are better than one”? Well, this is absolutely true. Even if you don’t use a friend or coworker’s suggestions, other ideas may send your brain on a new path of thinking and boost your creativity. In fact, having conversations daily with others will keep your thinking fresh, help you be more open to new ideas, and help you see life from different perspectives. All of these (fresh thinking, new ideas, different perspectives) are key ingredients to daily enhance creativity in web design or any other creative process that requires problem solving.
Exercise or Take a Stroll
One study found that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can enhance creativity for at least two hours after the exercise has ended, but the catch is that this amount of time only works for those accustomed to exercise. If you are new to a daily fitness routine, you’ll want to start in shorter bursts and build up because the fatigue could be a detriment to creativity. In fact, just the act of walking, even at a stroll, can help with creativity. And it doesn’t have to be outside, although this certainly doesn’t hurt creativity either. Walking outside surrounded by green (a color shown to improve creativity) and getting some sun certainly defogs the brain and boosts the mood. However, even a stroll from your office to the lunch room can help.
Write/ Sketch by Hand
It’s the engagement of multiple senses that makes writing or sketching by hand a creative booster – the smell of the paper and ink or pencil, the feel of the writing utensil in your hand, the sound of the scratching on the paper. You can take notes for website content by hand, or write down your daily tasks list with pen/pencil and paper. When coming up with a new web design for a client, draw in a sketch book first before opening your software. If you enjoy art, make it part of your daily routine as well. Anything that involves the hands and activates multiple senses (knitting, painting, coloring, doing puzzles) will help you when needing to build more creative websites.
Listen to Music
It has long been proven and known that music improves brain functions, and thankfully now studies have found that Mozart is not the creative boost for everyone. You have to listen to what you like but, more than that, also what puts you into what is called “mind-wandering mode.” Just like exercising, being in nature, daydreaming (see below), and other daily practices that help your mind wander, music that fits your mood in this exact moment pushes your mind into wandering mode, which is what brings you those “aha!” moments and the creative flowing that seems to overtake you by force.
But matching the music to your mood right now is definitely the key. Oh and don’t forget to keep the noise levels to ambiance decibels, such as what you would hear at a coffee shop. Too loud and the music could distract you from your work.
Meditate and Be Present
One of the main benefits of meditation is clearing the mind of clutter. And a daily habit of meditation means that benefits will be longer lasting and more effective. Many people set a time first thing in the morning or right before bed at night to meditate. Don’t worry if you have never meditated; you can use guided meditations. I have found many excellent ones on YouTube from which I can pick and choose for the length of time I have available.
Another excellent suggestion is from Ernest Barbaric in which he mentions simply being present. For instance, Ernest says that when he sketches, he quiets his mind by focusing on certain aspects of the object, such as “the shade of green on a Starbucks cup.” Practice becoming fully present in a single moment every day, such as when playing an instrument, painting, or drinking a cup of coffee. Focus on one aspect, such as a color, a shape, a sound, a taste or smell, etc. See how long you can quietly observe that aspect without thought or judgement or trying to label it. Even if this practice is just a few moments, a brief decluttering will renew and refresh your mind.
Daydream or Take a Nap
Sometimes your brain just needs a break from problem solving or creating. Allowing your mind to wander, such as in a daydream, or taking a quick nap are excellent ways to get that break. The key, though, is to make sure you are working hard on the problem before taking a break. One study found that the less work put into something, the less that daydreaming helps. So be sure to put your all into your creative web design before taking that daily power nap.
Write with Your Opposite Hand
Maybe while creating your daily list, taking notes, or creating a daily sketch, use the opposite hand that you normally use. You may feel a bit like a child learning to draw. But by using our less dominate hand, Lucia Cappachione says that it activates both hemispheres of the brain, meaning that both are more fully expressed. And more active hemispheres equal greater creativity in web design, or whatever task you are completing that day. So, embrace that clumsy, childlike feeling again and watch your creative juices build daily with this silly but effective exercise.
Change it Up!
Any daily routine will become boring to most people after an extended period. So, if you get to the point where any of these daily practices become drudgery or don’t seem to work anymore, change it up! Get creative with your creative routine, and come up with something different: either an entirely different practice or a new twist on one of your existing habits. Creativity thrives in a decluttered, exciting, new, positive environment. Even challenges can boost creativity, which is why doing something completely new and that possibly pushes you out of your comfort zone can help. So keep it fresh and don’t be afraid to experiment with your daily practices. You’ll see a nice boost in your creativity almost immediately and hopefully a renewed passion for your creative profession that will remind you of why you chose this career path…for the love of it!
For More Tips & Tricks, see these articles:
- Five Key Practices To Keep Your Creative Job Engaging and Avoid Burnout
- Why Your Design Work Is Making You Sick and What You Can Do to Feel Better
- 7 Tips for Prioritizing Tasks Effectively