Here’s something for those whose work revolves around ideas; that includes marketers, educators, entertainers, artists and problem solvers of any kind. You probably have experienced the dreadful block at some point. If you haven’t, I’d either salute you or call you a liar (depending on my mood). I mean come on; even Don Draper was stumped in the first scene of the first episode of Mad Men!
So I’m guessing you know what I’m talking about. You know, the standard, hair-pulling, eye-watering, head-to-wall bashing frustration you get when you’ve reached a dead end? When an idea isn’t quite just there yet and all you need is that little push to break through but you’re all pushed out? Or when you’re trying to think of a third example to make your point but your mind draws a blank?
Yeah, it’s a doozy.
And it affects each of us differently. Some blockages last for only 5 minutes and sometimes it stretches over a year!
So here are some common scenarios we have all personally experienced and tips to hopefully get you through it:
1) You’re all out of ideas
As familiar as this feels, it is probably unlikely. Your brain is like silly putty as is probably just caught off guard. To beat this, carry a notepad with you at all times, and jot ideas when you have them. So when you’re low on juice, turn back to your list to be inspired. Similarly, ask a friend or even a stranger for a separate point of view. It is amazing how a simple question or comment will spark off something great.
2) You’re head is too full of ideas
To get over this; you’ll need to structuralise. Again, list them down, but if you find yourself bouncing from one idea to the next too rapidly, try come up with a scoring system to rate your ideas. Rate by how much you want to do it, how much you think you’re audience is going to enjoy it and overall relevance. It’s fine to shift back and forth, as long as you maintain focus.
3) You’re on a deadline and the pressure is too much
This one is easy. Since you don’t have time altering powers or know the art of hypnosis, all you can do is start creating. You don’t have the luxury of time and it may not be your best work, but by god, you will get it done. And bear in mind, some of the best works are from rushed jobs! To avoid this, just make sure you plan ahead next time and keep a mental note on how long it actually takes you to complete a job like this.
4) You’re feeling self conscious
You might not want to admit it but you’re worried of what people will think of your work. Negative comments from your friends or boss might make you seem inadequate. Well, naturally some of your works will be better than others, but most of the time there is more good than bad, so just forget about it and hope for the best.
5) You’re getting distracted
Some days you work better in bustling coffee shops and some days you need dead silence to tune everything out. Only you can know what environment is most productive for you, but if you find yourself getting distract too easily, change your environment!
Whether its time, inspiration or ideas that you need, make the most of the resources around you whether it be people, art, articles or even a simple object to get those gears going. All we can say with any real certainty is that you’re in full control!
Are the ideas flowing now?