How to Overcome Creativity Blocks by Making These 8 Simple Offline Changes

  • 47 comments
  • Psychology of Blogging
  • Read Summary

    Key Points

    • Change the location or position you work in.
    • Change something around you, like the brightness of a light or the location of a plant on your desk.
    • Try working and listening to different types of music, of create a playlist with your favorite songs and listen to them.
    • Having a good or drink with you that relaxes you while you work is a must.
    • Rather than planning with services online, try using a whiteboard or a piece of paper to plan your projects.
    • Try working at different times of the day.
    • Take breaks frequently, and make sure you do not sit around while on your break; move around.
    • Relax more. When you're not working, simply take some time to relax and soothe your mind.

    Summary

    Sometimes, to fight off creativity blocks we just need to make a change in the environment surrounding us to see results. Sometimes reading other blogs and looking through design galleries just don't help, but only kill time.

    Close

by Alex

Ever feeling uninspired? Lacking creativity? Can’t figure out what you should write about next? It’s a very common thing to face a mental block; something that prevents you from getting your work done. It happens to everyone, and as hard as we try to prevent them from happening – it still happens.

Having these mental blocks, or a lack of inspiration can really stop your productivity. If you can’t figure out how to get that inspiration to work back, you will get very far behind in your work.

As a blogger, what is the one “block” you suffer the most? Since you’re writing a lot, it’s most likely writers block. It just seems like the more of something you do, the more of these blocks you can suffer.

A lot of us try to combat these blocks by doing something online. Like read blogs, look through design galleries, talk to some people or other things that may not help that much. Sure, they help sometimes – but maybe the solution isn’t what you do online. Maybe it’s offline.

I suffer from some creative blocks a little more frequently than I’d like to sometimes, so I tried some new things to try and get me back into a better workflow. I’d like to say they have had an impact on how productive I am, and that I also suffer less blogging crashes.

So the next time you are having trouble figuring out what to write about next, or how to approach a client project – don’t read blogs or scroll through design galleries. Try changing some of the things in your environment.

1. Change your work area

Do you sit and work at the same place day in and day out? In can get pretty dull after a while if you are sitting in your office chair or lying on your bed to work every single day.

Why not try moving somewhere else? Some people like to go into public places to work, some people just like to to sit outside. You can make a simple change such as working in a different room or moving to the other side of your office area.

2. Change something around you

Rather than moving rooms or going outside, why not try changing the scenery in your work area? You can make a change as simple as adding a plant to your desk, or even try working with the door open rather than closed. Even the smallest of changes to your work area can have a great impact on how you actually work.

One thing I noticed helps me a lot is the lighting in the area you’re in. Try playing around with the brightness of a light in the room. Find the most relaxing level of light and try working in it. Call me old fashioned, but I have a lava lamp in my room which I always have on when I work. It just adds a really cool, red glow to my room that really relaxes my mind.

3. Experiment with Music

Some people like to listen to music while they work. I always work with music on, no questions asked. Even as I’m writing this, I’m listening to Jason Mraz (what? He has a cool style) on my iPod. I like to listen to mellow music when I work because it’s what keeps me at peace the most.

But try to working to different tunes. From experience, finding your favorite songs that make you feel good and throwing them all together in a playlist on your music player can really make a difference in how you feel.

4. Try different foods or drinks

Whenever I write, I like to keep a glass of water and a cup of tea by my side. I haven’t written a blog post in months without one of these two drinks by my side. Could you guess why? Because they work.

Tea is by far my favorite drink, and I always feel good drinking it. I mix it up of course and write with different flavors, just to see what relaxes me the most. I do love my green tea.

5. Brainstorm and plan offline

There are many online note takers andorganizers, but have you ever thought of depending less on your computer screen to plan, and more on paper? You have to stare at the computer screen while you work anyways, why do it for both?

I put about $10 down on a pretty large whiteboard, and I do all of my planning on that. I am thinking of buying another one as I use it so much, but it’s incredible how easy I can plan on it.

6. Work at different times of the day

Are you a morning or night person? I would much rather write at the beginning of my day, the morning, rather than write just because it’s the time where I’m feeling the best. Yes, I’m a morning person.

I find that I can work a lot better overall in the morning than I do at night, probably because my eagerness to work in the morning is much more alive than it is at night. With that eagerness there, I can alway come up with some great ideas and have excellent productivity because of how well I can work at that time of the day.

7. Change your break routines

Hopefully you take breaks when you work and don’t sit in front of the computer screen for hours without moving. Breaks are important, but they can also make us lazy if we get too relaxed when we take them.

So, when you take your breaks – try walking around and stretching out. Don’t just walk away from your desk to go sit down in front of the TV, take a walk around your house and maybe make some more tea.

8. Do more of nothing

This can sort of fall into the same category as taking breaks, but at the same – it’s very different. I wrote about how simply sitting around and doing nothing can improve your productivity, and I still very much believe in it.

Taking more time to lie around and simply relax can really make an improvement on how you think and what ideas you can come up with. You’re at a relaxed state of mind, which is the best state of mind to be in, and you will find you can be much more creative in that state. I recommend you read the article for more ideas about this concept.

How do you take back your creativity?

Do you think actually trying these eight changes will have any effect on how you work? They have helped me, sure – but will they help you? It certainly doesn’t hurt to try a few of the things I have listed here, but I am interested in seeing how you react.

Do you honestly think that by simply moving across the room, or drinking a cup of tea can help you think better? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Back to the top

by

To learn more about this author and see all of their posts, click below.

View Full Profile →

Discover the Real Meaning...

of what it means to master the psychology of your blogging practice. Find out one of the most missed aspects to blogging now, totally free!

Steven Corbett February 16, 2010 at 12:43 am

I totally agree… music gets me in the mood to write, and prevents me from getting restless and tiring as quickly. It’s amazing how deeply we are moved, even subconsciously, by the right music.

I also like to turn off the lights and open the windows- fresh air and natural light do wonders for my perspective!

Great stuff, as usual, Alex!
.-= Steven Corbett´s last blog ..PHPmotion V3.5 Released! =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Parker Stevens February 16, 2010 at 4:02 am

Hey Steven!

+1 to music and going outside! Add a bike and your set!
Going out with my music and bike for an hour or two always gets me pumped for design (or just about any project I’m currently working on).

~Parker
P.s. my blog is not yet finished, so if you click on it and its all broken, I’m aware of it. xD

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
King Sidharth February 16, 2010 at 8:01 am

Yes!!! Music ++1 and same for food and drink – it’s bad for my laptop if drink decides to be sipped by the machine but it’s good for me. LOL

Hey Parker, do let us know when your blog is complete. Would love to see it.
.-= King Sidharth´s last blog ..A How-to on Hardcore Motivation =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Parker Stevens February 16, 2010 at 11:20 am

My fix to drinking liquids by the computer is using a waterbottle with the screw on top! xD

Hmm, weird it didn’t even post my blog in that last comment….
Lets see if it works this time. (just in case: http://parkersoft.net/)
.-= Parker Stevens´s last blog ..Welcome to Parkersoft.net !! =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Alex February 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm

What kind of music do you write to?

I would love to open the window and write, or even go outside – but it might start snowing on me. Summer cannot get here soon enough.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Parker Stevens February 16, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Well I’m a big fan of Hans Zimmer, he’s the one mastermind behind movie sound tracks from Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes.. etc..
Its so complex but soothing, at least to me. It really gets me in the mood.
I’m also a lover of classical music, some good Beethoven does me really good when I’m working late hours in the night. :)
.-= Parker Stevens´s last blog ..Welcome to Parkersoft.net !! =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Steven Corbett February 17, 2010 at 12:35 am

Parker!! Yay! :)

I couldn’t agree more on Hans Zimmer. That guy’s compositions (done right) make me shiver. Love that stuff!

Hey- awesome new blog- can’t wait to see it making waves!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
King Sidharth February 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Don’t laugh at me. I put on Lord of the Rings Sound track or Buddhist chants or sometimes Green Day or Linkin Park. Well … o.O
.-= King Sidharth´s last blog ..Zen Story: Why You Must Throw it Away =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
BloggingJunkie February 16, 2010 at 12:55 am

Every blogger has to face Mental Block. He should find his comfort zone and then try for something new. Like steven said, music helps him to think more productively. In such zone, one can find new ideas and topics for his blog.

Imrans’ Last Blog…We migrated to new domain

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Alex February 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm

You have to get used to working outside your comfort zone too. There are times where you don’t want to work, but you know you should for the sake of your blog.

It’s important to find your comfort zone for sure, but you need to also be able to work outside of it. What do you think?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Adrienne February 16, 2010 at 2:06 am

Sometimes I’ll stop and watch tv. It’s a chance to think about nothing but be entertained. Strangely, cleaning helps me think also.
.-= Adrienne´s last blog ..Do You Buy Into Celebrity Endorsements? =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Alex February 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Ah, TV just makes me lazy and totally kills my productivity! I’m seriously considering dropping TV from my life soon. But hey, different things work for different people!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Parker Stevens February 16, 2010 at 9:03 pm

I encourage you to do it! My family decided 6 years ago to get rid of cable completely (no channels), now we only use the TV for VHS/DVD movies and its absolutely changed our lives!
We’ve had much more time to spend with each other, rather than with the TV, and have lots more fun going out to places using the $800 we were spending yearly on TV.

Also, our productivity in School/Learning and hobbies have spiked, because we have so much extra time on our hands now!

In other words, theres much more to life than TV, television is a serious time consumer. :]

My 2 cents.
~Parker
.-= Parker Stevens´s last blog ..Welcome to Parkersoft.net !! =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Self Storage Las Vegas February 16, 2010 at 4:06 am

Wow nice and Very interesting blog…….thanks for the information.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Kuswanto February 16, 2010 at 5:31 am

Music also can boost my mood, not just break the creativity block.
Sometimes I also play new games to overcome my boredom.
.-= Kuswanto´s last blog ..Weekly Inspiration #7 =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Palabuzz February 16, 2010 at 6:23 am

hope this could help me to increase my productivity.
.-= Palabuzz´s last blog ..Kara Diogardi Maxim March 2010 =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
King Sidharth February 16, 2010 at 8:05 am

Wow! Looks like I’ll never have to fight a mental block again – thanks to the new, awesome, simple tips.
I know you love green tea, have seen you with it on Asnio. ‘t was hidin your face – paparazi shot. LOL

The best part about blogussion is – it talks about blogging from heart rather than just get more peaks on graph. Love it!
.-= King Sidharth´s last blog ..A How-to on Hardcore Motivation =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Alex February 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I like to put content out that I can backup with personal experience. And I have tried everything on this list, and they all worked for me.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Christopher February 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

Great list. I think the key here is to change something up. Not only do we get bored with the same thing but we also settle into a rut and well, when your doing the same thing all the time it tends to stifle creativity. So it doesn’t matter what it is, just change something, awesome.

I find music to be very motivating as well. I tend to listen to a lot of different kinds of music so I have plenty to choose from depending on my mood. I’ve discovered that I can’t really listen to something while I’m writing though. I can listen while I’m brainstorming, preparing to write and even editing. But for some reason when I’m writing I find music very distracting. Strange eh? So I guess in my case turning music off helps too.

Cool post!
.-= Christopher´s last blog ..The Go-Giver Review =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Alex February 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Keeping a regular routine is boring enough, the least you could do to try and make it less “boring” is to change something around you, right?

I’m with you Chris. I can’t design without having music, and oddly enough – I can code with it. I’m 50/50 with having it on when I write. I really like to keep music that is soft and mellow on, but sometimes when I’m not feeling 100% while writing – music doesn’t help. It’s weird, I totally understand where you’re coming from!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
iWoodpecker February 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I can’t say that I’ve found the way to fight my blocks, but I’ve noticed that my best writing time is after 4-5pm, which is not that good, because I get up like everyone else at about 8-9am.. and I, actually, lose these hours checking my stats, tweeting, then again checking my stats, then again tweeting or voting somewhere..

Besides, it’s not the only one problem. My second #1 problem (yeah.. I have them two at a time) is my girlfriend.

She doesn’t support me at all, nor understand me, nor wishes to understand, nor cares about my levelling-up future business. I guess this can become a real reason to leave her.

PS “Self Storage Las Vegas” is a spammer – no doubt and I also can’t write another blog without several cups of coffee :)
.-= iWoodpecker´s last blog ..First Page of Google With 106 Millions Competitors: My First Time. How?! =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Alex February 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Finding out information like that is step one to fighting these blocks. Keep writing at the times where you feel best, try these and other “fighting creative blocks” tips and you will definitely with that battle!

I guess you just have to decide what’s more important to you – your business or your girlfriend. Who/What do you love the most at this point? ;)

Thanks for the heads up on the spammer! The moderation system here got lighter, but it seems like some spammers are breaking through. Can’t have that!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
iWoodpecker February 17, 2010 at 5:17 am

“Who/What do you love the most at this point?” – I think.. that there are no options in this case.

I love her – no doubt, and I have to do what I know how to do, because making money blogging, as we all know, is the way to escape from your government’s chain.

The only thing I really need to do is to find a way how to combine these two things.

Btw not bad for another topic: “When You Want to Blog and Don’t Want to Leave Her” or something like that :)
.-= iWoodpecker´s last blog ..First Page of Google With 106 Millions Competitors: My First Time. How?! =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Jasmine Henry from System Fail News February 16, 2010 at 9:12 pm

I always listen to music when I write because I end up feeling more enthusiastic about what I’m writing. In fact, today I starting writing to the beat!

Reading always helps because descriptions in a book (fiction) can be really useful when transferred into a blog post. Plus, readers love stories and we’ll be able to write them more creatively after reading.
.-= Jasmine Henry from System Fail News´s last blog ..Which Console Do You Like Best? =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Steve February 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

Hey Alex, great post !

And yes music is great for focusing the mind, I usual listen to James Blunt which is pretty mellow stuff.
One method I found to work well at beating these blocks, is to keep a text document on my desktop & each time I get an idea for an article, I just jot down the details on the note pad.
Another trick I use is to write the artciles when the idea comes to mind, but I will hold them in reserve as it were & not publish imediately.

Anyway keep up the great work

Steve
.-= Steve´s last blog ..55 Top Tips – Website Promotion =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Dennis Edell February 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I get writers block, but not in the traditional sense. I’m never at a loss for topics, i have too many to choose from! I have to sit and plan which goes 1st 2nd 3rd…..
.-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..UPDATED – THREE Plugins Needed – What Do You Recommend? =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Chris Palmer February 17, 2010 at 11:48 pm

This is such a good idea man. I’ve noticed little things here and there work to improve my circumstances.

I get about 80% of my work done from the hours of 10PM to 4 AM. It just works really well for me.

I also feel like I’m sluggish these days because I don’t work out much, which is another one you could throw in there.

Great post.
.-= Chris Palmer´s last blog ..Aviator90 Episode 9 =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Parker Stevens February 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Wow 10Pm to 4AM? Thats crazy! But I don’t blame you, sometimes staying up late is the best way for me to go.

Working out helps me to clear out my mind, and gets that extra energy out of me which keeps me from sitting still while I try to work.
It also helps to build a little muscle… When I first started getting into computers and technology (3 years ago), I told myself one thing I’d never do was get a geek belly (pot belly), if I wanted to do this hobby I had to stay in shape.
Its a good goal to set. :)
.-= Parker Stevens´s last blog ..Welcome to Parkersoft!! =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Instant Fundas February 18, 2010 at 1:52 am

I go and read articles from other blogs. That gives me fresh ideas.
.-= Instant Fundas´s last blog ..5 short links for today #29 =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
lisa@life4you February 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

Great tips! I suffer from mental blocks all the time – getting up and doing somthing different even for 10 mins makes a big difference.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Mormon Secrets February 20, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Writer’s block is the worst for bloggers. These are some helpful tips.

One online tip is to check your own archives and archives of blogs you enjoy. It often sparks some ideas.
.-= Mormon Secrets´s last undefined ..Response cached until Mon 22 @ 2:57 GMT (Refreshes in 23.95 Hours) =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
ZK @ Web Marketing Blog February 22, 2010 at 3:56 am

Change of place is really working fine for me.

I just carry my small net book. Go to terrace or some play ground or near river or at some bridge or any multiplex or sometime surprise visit to close relatives.

These all works for me.
.-= ZK @ Web Marketing Blog´s last blog ..Thesis Theme Coupon $ 30 – Limited Time Offer =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Sheffield March 3, 2010 at 7:41 am

You’ve just got to keep getting up and doing something different – go for a walk to clear your head!
.-= Sheffield´s last blog ..An HGV medical is needed by: =-.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Steve July 29, 2010 at 1:16 pm

You know there are some really great ideas mentioned here, but nobody seems have mentioned the best one of all !

Simply get a content writer, this will take the pressure off you & you will find that without the pressure the work seems to flow much easier.
At such a low price of $0.005 getting a content writer lined up ready for your next crash & burn, has to be not of the agenda.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
dave @ what should I name my bearded dragon August 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I use a combination of 1 and 6 on a regular basis. My laptop is an essential part of me getting my work done. I can pick it up and move to another part of the house, go outside, or venture anywhere I can find a wifi signal.

Working at different times of the day helps a lot. I find that early in the morning usually is best when you have 2 young kids running around during the day and they usually have me pretty tired by evening.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Silent @ Cheap dog clothes September 5, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I’ll try to use something from this list. )

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Jason @ I need lots of money now September 8, 2010 at 10:52 am

I agree especially with #6 (Work at different times of the day) and #7 (Change your break routines).
Quite a lot of bloggers seem to blog just because “they need to blog”. But it tends to cause them not optimally blog at their best and produce quality posts.

I advice together with your 6th and 7th suggestion that it’s not necesarry to blog ‘every single day’ – and that you should allow yourself to get to ideas (offline like you suggest). How one can also get billiant blogging ideas is obviously to spend more time at other bloggers’ blogs. Hey, I learn a lot of stuff every single day – while making the time commenting on other blogs or while (trying to) brand my blog.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Hitta Fakta September 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

Wow read this post one month ago. And today I realized that this have really helped me growing my blog.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Rodney@home building guide October 27, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Useful post for everyone because our brains freeze up from time-to-time. What i do is go on a 20 minute power walk and by the time I’m ten minutes into it the idea gears start turning. Just make sure you remember your ideas by the time you’re back at your desk.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
alter ego hair products November 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

This is so true dude. We draw inspiration from the world around us–and I believe alot of what you put out creatively is directly related to our moods. I mean sure you can sit infront of the keyboard and bash out a few thousand words if you literally force yourself to-but the quality of that content is going to be lifeless. You’re are right aswell, even a small change, such as re-arranging a room can be very refreshing.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Moraira spain November 16, 2010 at 9:54 am

I think your blog is excellent, I’ve been having writers block for a bit now and you are really helping me to put pen to paper. keep up the good work :)

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Ryan December 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I think the rearranging your work environment is a powerful aspect. You need to break your routine to get your mind to think differently.

Another way I use to break my minds normal habits is to employ random words. Grab some random words from http://creativitygames.net/generator and create ideas based on these. Then repeat a few times with new sets of words and after that review what you have and see if you get any inspiration.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Rafael December 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Alex, great article. Some items I try constantly (changing work area or changing something around, music too). But the whiteboard is s good idea, I’ll buy it, it’s a hopeful experience.
The breaks are very good too: drink a cappuchino or something that is really a pleasure helps so much. Well, unless makes you fat. ;)

Thanks! Rafael from Servidor Linux

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: