3 Ideas For Getting Over That Creative Slump

1156284_39977081 Whether you’re writing that next great novel, unleashing your inner artist or brainstorming for the next big project at the office, you want creative juices flowing. What if it all shuts down though? What if you’ve found yourself in the iconic “writer’s block”? Read on for 3 tips on how to keep chugging along without losing your stride…

1. Change the zoom!

Have you ever looked at an instruction manual that showed the finished product laid out in its “exploded view”? I’m talking about when it shows all the components, bolts, nuts and screws with lines connecting each part to where it needs to go. If you’ve put together anything from IKEA then you know what I’m talking about and you’ve probably begun twitching from the memory…I’m so sorry…

Anyway, sometimes the best way to get over a creative slump is to change your “zoom level”. In other words try zooming out of what you’re focusing on right now and zoom into a different component for a bit. You can also zoom in to see the small things that make the whole. For instance perhaps you’re looking at the whole house when you should just focus on the kitchen, the spare bathroom or how you’re going to increase the audio dampening ability of your teenager’s bedroom walls.

This simple switching back and forth can help break up the monotony and set your brain free!

 

2. Compare your apples to your oranges.

So now you’re zooming in and out and all over your project making changes here and there. What’s next? Well for the next level of slump-slappin goodness we’re going to start comparing how our changes to the individual components are actually affecting other components. What’s that mean you say? If I expand my kitchen to allow for more pies to be produced then how is that going to affect the space I made in my dining room for the eating of said pies? We’re quickly coming up to a critical “bake to eat” pie ratio here!

When we start thinking about how the changes we make in one area can affect other areas it can open up a lot more to explore. Think even on possible intangible changes that might occur. Like how I want pie now…

 

3. Solve a different problem.

This may seem odd but you gotta try it. Let’s say you’ve been designing the next great widget that goes on the whatchamacallit that’s part of the super X3000 Gen 2 thing. After you’ve refilled your coffee and cracked the knuckles just stop and switch to a completely foreign project for a few minutes.

Now in your head you’re designing the next super car for your favorite automobile company. Yes I know you may not be an engineer but let’s just pretend. Just…dream. Go through switching the zoom in and out and thinking about what component changes might affect others. Most of all though have fun! Then after a bit come back and start afresh on your project. It will be a nice reset for your brain and hey, who knows? You might even be able to glean an idea from la-la land to use on your own project!

I hope this helps! I love ya and Jesus loves ya. Until next time – keep creating!

Becoming Efficient with Time

Time seems to be that one thing folks just can’t get enough of. The interesting thing about it though is that no matter where or to whom we were born we all get 24 hours a day to accomplish life. What we focus that time on is what we become or what we continue to linger as. There are many successful people in this world that even started with nothing that have the same amount of hours as the rest of us. So what’s the difference?

I wanted to bring some tips that I’ve learned from my own fevered searches for understanding on this topic so that time doesn’t remain elusive. I hope it will bring peace to your day and hey…remember that Jesus is the Lord of time and the Restorer of what the locust has eaten!

The 80/20 Rule

Many have probably heard of the 80/20 rule because it’s used in just about every subject. Basically, usually twenty percent of the work that you do is more important than the rest (the 80%). Most of the time you will have twenty percent of your customers responsible for the brunt of your work and/or pay. In the same light, during twenty percent of your workday, you will be at your highest energy level.

Everyone has a peak energy “window” of time in the day where they are able to be the most efficient. It varies from person to person but we definitely want to figure out when that is for us. A lot of times this can coincide with optimal glucose levels in the body as well. In other words, the time of the day where you’ve been without food the longest is probably not the best time to make your most important decisions.

Once you are aware of this you’ll start to see when that time is. From there just start asking “is this an 80 or 20 project?” The key is to do your “20% work” during the time that you are at your peak. When this gets lined up the time starts freeing up more.

Another thing about that window…Protect it! Don’t let people steal your peak time with menial tasks. Broadcast your availability to others so that they know when they shouldn’t interrupt you. If you need to and are able to then get away from the distractions. For instance maturity is paramount with technology at this time. If you have Twitter buzzing your phone clear off the desk then turn it off. Uncle Frank’s post about his new Bassdestroyer 2000 can be liked during the eighty percent time. Unless of course you don’t like the Bassdestroyer 2000…but who wouldn’t?

If a large amount of your time is still being spent on the eighty percent even after you’ve dealt with the twenty percent in your peak time, then the next step comes which is to –

Delegate – Automate – Outsource

If you don’t have to micromanage something and you still are…I wish I had your energy. Leaders lift others up to their own level. The whole purpose of leading is to create other leaders. If you aren’t developing others around you then you aren’t passing the baton. When you stop passing the baton your destiny becomes stagnated because you’ve stopped work on your next promotion.

Here’s something that I try to live by as a general rule for delegation – If it can be done by someone else…it should be done by someone else. Now, that’s not an excuse to become lazy so it has to be said with balance. I’m saying it here because there’s some that need to balance doing everything on their own with this statement. Remember Jesus said you have to love me. :)

What can you delegate, automate, or outsource? Yes maybe you can fix the car for cheaper. How much is your time worth though? After five trips to the store, three YouTube videos watching professionals make it look easy and 6 hours of work did you really get your money back? How much work could you have done focusing on your strengths that God gave you to make a profit faster?

God made you specifically a certain way to answer a problem that the world has. When you find out what that is, you can focus on that strength and then use the success from that to pay others to do what they were created to do. Isn’t it so relieving that you don’t have to be good at everything?

Sleep and Have Fun!

The traditional thought about work is that it should be categorized apart from fun. The problem with that is that God created work and He’s the funnest person you’ll ever meet so somewhere there’s been a disconnect. The mindset is what I’m going after with this. The thought that we are going to just go full crazy for eight or more hours straight almost every day of the week just isn’t within the confines of our design. Our brain needs a break and our body does too. God doesn’t want us sedentary in body or in mind.

There are plenty of studies out there that say taking quick naps or just taking a break to play a game or create something small can reset the brain and make us more efficient. I want to challenge you to sharpen the axe throughout the day and see how much of a difference it can make! Eccl. 10:10

 

What are some ways that you break up the day to stay efficient? Leave a comment!