As an entrepreneur, creativity is your lifeline. You are valued and get rewarded for the innovative solutions that you bring to the market.
But after working for hours, days, or even weeks, you find yourself suddenly unable to think of anything innovative. Nothing inventive comes to mind worthy of being executed. Everything you see is a source of disappointment even though you gave your all.
What can possibly be the cause of this mental block? How do you get your creativity back and return to your path toward success?
Reasons for Getting Stuck
Here are the usual explanations why you’re having a hard time thinking of ingenious solutions to your work.
- The need to make money
Everyone needs money to live, and the most practical way to earn cash is to get a stable job with regular pay.
However, the pressure to make money pushes back the creative juices in your brain. Creativity is replaced with ways to earn more because that’s what your body prioritizes at the moment.
Oftentimes, people quantify success by how much money you can put on the table. This kind of thinking can shift your focus from thinking of something creative into doing something that will make you more money regardless of its ingenuity.
- Lack of rest
Attending meetings, taking care of your children, responding to emails, and traveling from one point to another are physically and mentally draining, especially when you do them every day. Over time, these activities pile up, depleting your energy, and causing stress or anxiety.
Depriving yourself a much-needed rest time not only deteriorates the brain’s capacity to think clearly but also to come up with creative solutions for problems. Creativity thrives in a healthy body, and to do this, you should take a break once in a while.
Fig. 1. How stress affects the brain
When you sleep, the body’s lymphatic system drains out the toxins and wastes, including those found in the brain. However, the brain only flushes out toxins during the REM stage which occurs at the end of the sleep cycle.
If the brain is unable to drain the accumulated toxins, it results in reduced concentration, attention, coordination, and creativity. An exhausted mind won’t be able to think soundly, much less come up with creative ideas. Your brain won’t let you ignite the spark of creativity because it’s calling for time off first.
- Too much screen time
It has been a norm to hold your phone and browse random stuff or play games to ease your mind. This activity can give your brain the time out it needs from the strenuous activities you’ve done for the day. However, using your phone for hours can put the mind on a vegetative state and stifle your creative juices.
Too much screen time signals the brain to switch into autopilot mode. Doing this regularly can result in reduced attention span and limited ability to grasp creative solutions.
Special mention: Growing up
Do you remember how when you were a kid, you can imagine all sorts of things? You were overflowing with creative juices that you can make up your own friend, see yourself riding a spaceship, cook plastic food on a playset, and solve mysteries as a detective throughout the day. It’s as if your brain is restless that you can’t contain all sorts of things it fabricates.
But as you grow up, you became more aware of your surroundings. You became more rational, practical, and conscious of the effects of your actions. This is when you often lose your creative side by outgrowing your child-like spirit.
Ways to Get Your Creativity Back
There’s no need to panic if you can’t squeeze enough creative juice to make things work. Here are ways on how to get your creativity back.
- Clear your mind
You won’t be able to squeeze creative juices from a tired mind. If you’re exhausted, take a rest. Staying up and forcing yourself to think of something won’t get the work done faster.
Forcibly thinking of creative ideas while unrested will give you half-baked results. Then, after seeing the disappointing outcome, you’ll redo it, all while you still haven’t had enough breathing space. This can become a cycle that will repeat itself over again until you get that much-needed break.
Taking a break is one of the effective ways to get your creative juices flowing again. You can sleep, watch a movie, hang out with friends, play games, or do anything not related to your work or project.
Give your mind time-off and allow it to refresh before you go back to your work. You’ll be surprised by the fresh perspective you’ll have when you sit back on your desk.
Do not give up if things aren’t working. Throwing in the towel is not how you get your creativity back. If you’re stuck, just take a break but don’t ever quit.
- Avoid negativity
Doubting yourself and thinking that you’re not good enough is one way to limit your creativity. When you start out with negative thoughts, everything you’ll do next will be a disappointment.
Listening to your inner critic can be helpful at times, but too much of it can hold you back from achieving success.
Whenever a negative thought comes to mind, counter it by turning it into a positive thought. Don’t let it flow without diverting it to a positive path.
For instance, whenever you think that “I’m not talented enough to do this”, you can shift to a more positive affirmation and instead think along the lines of “I have the skills and experience to complete this task”.
It may help to write down the negative thoughts that come to mind and put in countering phrases to turn them into positive ones.
Repeat your affirmations every day until you naturally counter the negative thinking with positive thoughts that will help you gain more confidence in what you do. As you become more assured of yourself, you’ll get your creative juices flowing without any blockade.
Sometimes, even if you try to sleep, your mind won’t let you take a breather. It’s like your brain is forcing you to stay awake even if your whole being is bone-tired.
So, how do you get your creativity back if you can’t sleep?
One way to get your creative juices flowing again is by clearing your mind through meditation. Sitting and detaching from your thoughts is a very difficult thing to do because the brain is wired to pop up random ideas.
To start meditating, sit in a quiet place and think about only one thing. It can either be a mantra or your breath, whichever you feel will keep you from racing thoughts. You can also try counting each time you breathe until you reach 10 to help increase your focus.
Fig. 2. Give yourself time to meditate
It’s alright if you can’t meditate the first few times. It’s hard to train the brain to focus on one thing only, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Continuous meditation will help calm your mind and make it easier for you to fall asleep. Waking up with a fully refreshed brain will stimulate your problem-solving skills and get your creative juices flowing again.
- Clean your surroundings
Studies show that a messy desk encourages creativity. Experts say that messiness is a sign of genius.
However, there’s a limit to how much disorder your mind can handle. Your source of ingenuity can also be the cause of distraction. If you add pressure to the equation, the brain’s rate of exhaustion multiplies, and this won’t go well for squeezing your creative juices.
If you need to take a break, might as well make it more productive by cleaning your room or desk. Like the brain’s way of flushing out toxins, you need to do the same to your space to remove distracting items. A decluttered environment can give you a refreshing feeling that you’re ready to start anew.
- Take inspiration from somewhere else
If you’ve exhausted every way you can to get your creativity back, maybe it’s time to look for it somewhere else.
Read a book, go to talks, attend conventions, listen to music, or hear out speakers who talk about their ideas. These things will help your mind wander and get inspiration from others.
You can also try joining groups related to your field and surround yourself with like-minded people who are willing to support each other. It’s easier to achieve success when you have people who share their energy to continuously boost each other’s creative spirit.
- Talk to someone
Sometimes, all you need is to let out your frustration to get your creativity back. Getting things out of your system usually works and it may give you new ideas you’ve never thought of before.
Fig. 3. Breathe and talk to friends
Talk to a friend or colleague about the issues you’re experiencing. They can be your sounding board who can give feedback on how to tackle your problems better.
The method is so simple, obvious, and effective, yet many downplay its impact on reigniting creativity. By talking to someone, you can receive new suggestions that will help you reinvigorate the flow of ideas into your mind.
As an entrepreneur, you rely on your imaginative thinking to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for everyday problems. However, it’s only natural to get exhausted and lose your creative juices after some time.
It’s not time to hang up the gloves yet just because you feel like you’ve lost your mojo. Just practice any of the methods here on how to get your creativity back, and you’ll surely be on a roll soon.