5 Tips For Powering Up Your Creative Energy

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Nick Haas
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This quote from Scottie on Star Trek “ I can’t do it captain, I just don’t have the power!” can ring true to web designers whose battery is tapped out. Whether you are working super late on a project deadline, working on multiple projects at once or just crashing your head against the sketch book in hopes a good idea will come to you, being tapped out can hinder you.

With energy down, quality of work tends to suffer, deadlines may be missed, and grumpiness rears its head. Here are five simple ways to keep your design battery charged during these busy times so that you stay positive and feel great about the work you are creating.

1. Work in spurts

The saying “too much of a good thing is not good at all” applies here. No one is built to work at maximum effort for 8 hours, heck for even 4-5 hours. Some believe that one needs to power through tasks in long marathons of working. This may be the case with a large deadline looming; however, even in those situations you need to take a break.

The best way to maximize your production output is to work in spurts. Set aside a few hours where you can focus on the tasks at hand at full energy. Once you start to get fatigued, stop and take a break. Do something that doesn’t relate to the tasks at hand, such as taking a short walk around the office. Set a schedule of what you plan to work on and include distinct stopping points.

2. Get away from the computer/phone/desk

Oftentimes, when you need to clear your head and re-boot, it’s easy to jump from your task to sites such as Facebook, Bleacher Report, Amazon or play games on your phone, etc. I recommend getting away from your desk, phone and the computer all together. Take a long walk outside or in your building, grab a magazine, and change up your scenery.

When you have creative block or need to generate a fresh idea, disconnecting from technology is the best way to remove that block. This allows your brain to relax and refocuses your intentions with fresh energy.

3. Look around for inspiration

There are times when you feel as if you are recycling the same design over and over. Such sites as thebestdesigns.com, smashingmagazine.com, thedesignfridge.co.uk are excellent resources for finding inspiration. They offer up ideas on design trends that influence us daily.

You can find inspiration in just about anything if you keep an open mind. Not only do sites that focus on design drive inspiration, but resources on other disciplines can push a designer to think in a broader scope. I suggest researching other disciplines for inspiration. Fields such as architecture, interior design, fashion, print design, music and the arts often offer up ways to approach a creative solution that may be completely different than web design.

When all else fails, get out and go somewhere inspiring. An art museum, a conference, even a furniture store. All places have the potential to inspire you to come back with a fresh perspective.

4. Talk to people

When working on a concept, designers can get tunnel vision. There are problems around us that we cannot see. Getting your work in front of people is crucial. Sharing concepts with your team and being open to their feedback is a key component to improving your work.

Every member of a team can offer up a valuable opinion that can make your work better, take your idea to new heights, or completely crush it. But that is all good. If it is a bad idea or concept, wouldn’t you rather know before trying to sell it to a client? Outside of sharing work with others, take the opportunity, when you meet other design professionals, to pick their brains on how they work, on what types of projects they like, on how their agency operates, etc.

Gaining knowledge from others when it comes to approach can highly influence how you do things, offer up new ways to improve, and get you excited to get back to work.

5. Relax.

Relaxation comes in all different forms. Some prefer intense exercise while others meditate. Some play guitar while others read a book. Whatever your fancy, ensure that you make time for it. Relaxation keeps you fresh, energized and, most importantly, happy. Consistently keep time open in your schedule for relaxation. It can be hard to see through the immediate importance of a deadline, but relaxation keeps things in perspective. Your work, co-workers, friends and family will thank you for it.

Some websites for inspiration:

How do you stay inspired?

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Comments (5)
  • Awesome advice, Nick. Scheduling time to relax sounds silly at first, but the payoff is a better quality of life (and work!) I enjoy walking aimlessly. It clears my mind and encourages healthy circulation.
     
    Have you ever read Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian”?
    http://mikejmoran.typepad.com/files/pedestrian-by-bradbury-1.pdf

    • Hey Mark, glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing this link. I will give it a read.

  • Hey Mark, glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing this link. I will give it a read.

  • Yeah! creativity at work! #6 could be “let go.” Often we hold onto things to closely at work and try to control.

  • Hey Matt, great point. Learning to let go is very important. It can be hard, however, your project, sanity and overall ROI usually benefit from it.

 
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