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The ‘Creativity Crash’ and What You Can Do About It

Thursday February 18, 2021

The ‘Creativity Crash’ and What You Can Do About It

Thursday February 18, 2021

A rustic lightbulb in the foreground in front of several employees participating in a creativity brainstorming session

Many people have experienced a creative block. Whether you call it a creative slump, a creative crash, or a creative block, it can spell trouble in terms of work. It can make you feel uninspired, or might make everything feel repetitive, stale, and boring.

When you experience a creative block, you may feel as if you’re no longer interested in all the creative passions you used to love. Or you could feel as if you want to deep dive into those things, but the ideas aren’t coming. Whatever symptoms you’re experiencing, there are ways to break free and feel inspired again.

Stanford University’s Nicholas Bloom believes a day of reckoning is coming. Although employees are working more hours, the lack of creativity on some teams is leading to a productivity decline.

Why Creative Blocks Occur

When a creative block comes on, many people immediately want to know why it’s occurring. It can be different for everyone, but often, the same factors come into play. When you feel in a rut or like you’re completely burnt out with no inspiration, there may be several things in place.

  • Burnout: When employees feel burnt out, their creativity is likely to suffer since they don’t have the mental resources to contribute.
  • Overwork: Using too much energy can sap all the creativity from you and lead to negative feelings.
  • Lack of confidence: A lack of confidence can lead to feelings of fear and uncertainty, resulting in employees not sharing thoughts and opinions.
  • Imposter syndrome: When someone feels they’re pretending to be something or someone they’re not, they aren’t likely to contribute original ideas in an attempt to blend in.

Remote work can also impact creativity. This can be positive or negative, depending on the person. There’s often far less collaboration when working remotely, which may make you feel less inspired.


The good news is that if this is an issue for your team, there are ways to move past it. Making an effort to connect and chat with other team members can help you move past the burnout and feel more connected to your work again.

How To Overcome a Creative Block

Unfortunately, many team leaders attribute creativity decline to ‘inability to be in the same physical space’ or ‘lack of access to whiteboards and Post-it notes’.

However, science has shown that creativity is far more than access to shared space and tools. What is most encouraging is that the sources of creativity are as accessible today as they were last March–in fact, teams can be far more creative–when given the right stimulus.

1. Turn Objections Into Collaborative Solutions

As Duncan Wardle, former head of creativity at Disney, explains in his TED talk, expertise enables you to make quick, informed decisions. But knowing too much prevents from asking “embarrassing” questions or offering unconventional ideas.

This means that expertise, while valuable, can hinder creativity by closing your mind to new opportunities.

To counter this, consider approaching creativity with an open mind, and don’t let your preconceived notions interfere with the creative process. John Wolpert—author and host of the Teamraderie experience “Mindset Shift”—advises that instead of just offering objections, professionals should add a second “but” to the objection, turning “but that won’t work” into “but it would if…”

2. Build Team Trust

Multiple studies have underscored the contribution of trust to creativity. Creativity always involves risk as it requires team members to think and behave differently from the prevailing routines. People fear others may not support their ideas.

Trust is an essential ingredient to creativity, since it allows a team to feel more comfortable sharing ideas and suggestions. When your team members are confident that they won’t experience negative repercussions and feel psychologically safe, they’re more likely to actively participate in brainstorming sessions.

3. Boost Your Team’s Mood

Studies show that a positive mood increases cognitive flexibility. Psychologists found out that people who watched a video that made them happy were able to think more creatively than people who watched a video that made them sad.

What does this mean for a virtual team preparing for a brainstorming session?

Right before brainstorming, team members should spend some time practicing:

  • Associative thinking: Bring random stimuli to thought patterns
  • Playfulness: Boost positivity and optimism
  • Authenticity, empathy and logic: Practice the three pillars of trust

By participating in mood-boosting activities, creativity can flow more easily.

4. Change Your Routine

When you work from home, a lot of things about work and the rest of your life remain the same. You work, sleep, eat, and live in the same location.

One of the best ways to beat a creative slump is by changing your routine. It can create a new perspective and open up your mind to the inspiration that bleeds into your work.

How do you create this new perspective? A simple change of location may be all you need. That doesn’t mean you have to make huge changes right away. You can do small things that let you bring more creativity into your everyday life.

A few options include:

  • Take a call while you’re out on a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Move into a different room of the house to work for a few hours.
  • Instead of sitting to work, try standing to do your next project.
  • Go to a coffee shop to get some of your work done.
  • Head out to the balcony or patio to drink coffee instead of staying at your desk.

Implement one, some, or all of these things and see how it helps your creative slump. You might be surprised with what a small bit of effort will get you.

5. Exercise

Adding a bit of exercise to your daily routine is a great way to beat a slump. When working out, the mind is impacted in positive ways.

It will help you physically, but it also releases endorphins to make your brain more positive. If you’ve stopped working out, doing that bit of self-care again can make a huge difference.

6. Daydream

Daydreaming is an excellent way to move past a creative slump. When you daydream, you let your mind relax for a little while. You get to look at different scenarios about the problem that is giving you trouble. Open your mind and look at the bigger picture.

7. Take an Intentional Break

Sometimes, creative slumps can be resolved by taking a little time away from work. Great ideas can come while doing other things, even mundane ones like showering or having a cup of coffee. When you aren’t focused on work, your brain relaxes and processes information better.

Overcome Your Creative Block With Teamraderie

If you have a creative block plaguing you or your team, try the tips above to get past it. You don’t have to sit around and wait for it to end. Be proactive but be kind to yourself until the issue passes.

Teamraderie offers over 60 virtual experiences that can help put your team into the right mindset before your next brainstorming session. Visit our experience finder if you’d like to learn more.

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