6 Counter-Intuitive Ways to Beat Creative Block

Are you stuck in a creative rut? Have you tried brainstorming and browsing the Internet for inspiration but keep coming back with nothing? It might be time to mix things up a bit. Here are some ways to combat creative block that may seem a little backward, but will definitely help you get back on track.

  1. Get Away from Your ComputerChances are you spend every workday sitting in the same place, staring at the same computer screen. When you need a new idea, try looking for it in a new place. Take a walk, brainstorm in the break room, or visit a local cafe - just don't take your laptop. The change of scenery and switching to good old pen and paper can put you in a completely different mindset, and help reduce stress.
  2. Stop Thinking About Your ProjectSometimes the best thing you can do to move a project forward is something else entirely. If you're stuck and can't come up with the next great creative idea, switch gears, preferably to something mundane. Update that mailing list you've been avoiding or sort your paperclips by color. Taking on a boring project can free up your mind to daydream the perfect solution.
  3. Impose RestrictionsIf you've ever gone grocery shopping on a tight budget, you know that having less to work with can make the solutions you come up with a lot more creative. When you're overwhelmed with too many directions to choose from, give yourself some limits. Dr. Seuss famously penned Green Eggs and Ham after his publisher bet him that he couldn't write an entire story with only 50 different words. Challenge yourself to do more with less.
  4. PlayTake a break and do something fun that takes your mind off the stress of the project. Break out a tub of Play-Doh, revisit Angry Birds, or indulge in a grown-up coloring book. Challenge your team to a paper plane flying contest over lunch. It will give you peace of mind, bring back childhood memories of an overactive imagination, and let that creative idea bubble up to the surface.
  5. Focus on Your FlawsOnce you find something you're good at, it comes to you easily and becomes your go-to solution. If you find yourself returning to it time and again, turn yourself around by focusing on your weaknesses. Are you terrible at technical writing? Is web design not your forte? Look at your project first from a perspective you would never choose and see how it changes your ideas.
  6. Let Yourself Be Bored
  1. We tend to fill every spare moment of our lives - think about it: when was the last time you were stuck standing in line and didn't pull out your phone? Do the unthinkable and turn off your phone for an hour. Let yourself get bored (and probably frustrated) and see where your mind takes you. As Don Draper put it on AMC's Mad Men, the best way to come up with something great is letting people "be unproductive until they are."

What's your favorite way to beat creative block? Let us know in the comments!