Many people have experienced the dreaded creative slump. Whether you call it a creative slump, a creative crash, or a creative block, it can spell trouble in terms of work. A creative slump can make you feel uninspired. It 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, the economist, and expert on productivity, fears a coming day of reckoning. Although employees are working more hours, the lack of creativity on some teams is leading to a productivity decline. “The new ideas we are losing today could show up as fewer new products or ideas in 2021 and beyond, lowering long-run growth.”
What should leaders do to resuscitate creativity?
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) EXPERTISE INHIBITS CREATIVITY
As Duncan Wardle, former head of creativity at Disney, explains in his talk, expertise enables you to make quick, informed decisions. But knowing too much prevents from asking “embarrassing” questions or offering unconventional ideas.
(2) TRUST IS THE FOUNDATION OF CREATIVITY
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.
(3) POSITIVE MOOD SPARKS CREATIVITY
Studies show that 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? There is a great answer backed by science. Right before your brainstorming, team members should spend some time practicing:
(1) Associative thinking – bring random stimuli to your thought pattern
(2) Playfulness – boost positivity and optimism
(3) Authenticity, empathy and logic – practice the three pillars of trust
Why am I Feeling a Creative Slump?
When a creative slump comes on, many people immediately want to know who 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 is a common cause of a creative slump. The same applies when you are overworked. Using so much energy can sap all the creativity from you and lead to negative feelings. Some people also find themselves in a creative crash when they work at home or in the office, while they operate well in the other environment.
What other feelings contribute to creative slumps? A lack of confidence can make it hard to be creative. It can lead to feelings of fear and uncertainty. The same applies to imposter syndrome. This occurs when someone feels as if they’re pretending to be something or someone they’re not.
Does Working Remotely Increase the Chances of a Creative Slump?
It depends on the person. In many cases, teamwork adds to creativity. More ideas are flowing to bring into your work. As someone who moves from an office to remote work, this can have an effect. In some cases, that includes a creative slump. There is 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 you, 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.
Changing Your Routine Can Help You Get Out of a Creative Rut
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 a small bit of effort will get you.
Ideas to Overcome a Creative Slump
Are you ready to take action to overcome your creative slump? There are tons of options out there for you. Use the ones below or create your own using these as ideas.
Workout. 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 have stopped working out, doing that bit of self-care again can make a huge difference.
Daydream. Most of us have experienced a teacher on our back about daydreaming in school. However, it’s 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.
Take a 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 better processes information.
If you have a creative slump plaguing you, 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 now offers a 45-minute virtual experience that puts your team into the right mindset before you brainstorm your next big challenge. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our experience finder if you would like to learn more.