A lot of us would love to be able to work from home. We can set our own hours, spend more time with our families, work in our pajamas if we want, and even take a day off without planning to. But as great as it is to work from home, it can sometimes kill your creativity.
Working alone at home day after day can be hard. You can’t focus on what you’re doing, the quality of your work starts to go down, and every idea you have seems simple and unoriginal. In short, you lose the ability to be creative.
Go outside to do your work
If you feel like your office is closing in on you every time you try to focus, it might be time to go somewhere else. You could do your work in the backyard, on the front porch, or on the balcony. The fresh air and activity in your neighborhood may be just what you need to get creative again.
You can even go to the park or coffee shop near you. When you get some fresh air and watch people, your mind will soon be full of ideas and possibilities. If nothing else, you’ll feel much better when you get home than when you left.
Mess up your hands
Spending all day coding, designing, writing, editing, or using Photoshop can be hard on your body. If your work is starting to move around in front of your eyes, it may be your brain’s way of telling you to take a break.
Spend some time doing something with your hands that isn’t moving your fingers over your keyboard. Step away from your computer and do something else instead of typing words and hitting commands that haven’t made sense in hours.
Take the time to enjoy your lunch or dinner instead of eating it quickly. Colour. You could also use paint or markers. Even if all you do is stencil your name, spending 30 minutes making something colorful will help you relax and give your brain something new to think about.
Take the time to water and pull weeds from your garden or houseplants. Put a plant in a pot if everything is taken care of. Anyone who likes to garden will tell you how relaxing it is to work with plants. Doing something with your hands can give your brain the boost it needs, and your creativity will be grateful.
Stop and ask, “What’s the matter?”
Stop! Stop whatever you’re doing right now, whether it’s browsing, checking your email, or answering the phone. Now, you should think about why you don’t feel creative. Something else besides your lack of creativity might be giving you stress. Is there something that you don’t like? What feels out of whack in your personal or professional life?
Once you’ve found the problem, you should try to figure out how to fix it. What can you do to change the way things are? It’s possible that your problem isn’t something that can be fixed right away. But maybe all you need is to figure out what’s wrong and agree that something is wrong. You’ll start to feel much “lighter.” You’ll also be able to pay attention to your work.
Work on a project for yourself
We all have a project or an idea for a project that we’d love to do if we had the time. Well, now is the time, since you’re out of ideas. Working on a project you care about, even if it’s just something like rearranging your office, is the best way to boost your creativity.
And you’re passionate about your personal project. You want everything to be great. For this project, you don’t want to do anything else.
Passion is the only thing that can boost creativity. So start making it happen. Your creativity will come from how much you care about the project and how excited you are about it. Soon, you’ll be full of good ideas and energy, and you’ll want to get back to work.
By far, this is the hardest thing to do. But it’s also the best way to do things. Exercise is the only thing you can do that is guaranteed to improve your mental health as a whole. So not only will you be more creative, but you’ll also feel more energized, happy, and healthy.
If you don’t work out, you should start right away. Get off the chair and onto an exercise mat, even if it’s just to do Pilates at home.
Those of you who already work out (notice that I’m not in the group of people who already work out? ), you might want to try a different kind of exercise. Unless you use a treadmill, go run outside. Try cycling, swimming, or hiking instead of running outside.
Anything that gets your body moving is a surefire way to get your creative juices flowing.
Meditating is a great way to calm down. Just focusing on your breathing can help you feel a lot less stressed. If you don’t want to, you don’t even have to get out of your chair.
Just close your eyes, turn off all the “screens” that are on, and focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in and feel the air going through your body. As you let out your breath, picture all your stress leaving your body.
Even though my way of meditating isn’t very good, focusing on your breathing helps. You can find a lot of good information about meditation on the Internet. Find one that works with how you work.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for a project and you’re wondering what’s wrong with you, here’s something you might not have thought of: the problem might not be you. Not all projects are created equal. Sometimes we need help. If you don’t know how to handle a project or can’t think of any ideas, ask a friend for help.
Work with another freelancer or, if you can, hire a consultant. Two heads are always better than one, and bouncing ideas off each other can be just what you need to get back into the swing of things.
Take a nap
If this is the first time your creativity has left you, you might just need to take a nap. Think quickly about what you’ve been doing for the past month. Do you go to bed at the same time every night? Have you been getting enough sleep? Peaceful, uninterrupted sleep? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it’s time for a nap.
Your nap can last between 15 minutes and two hours. It depends on what your body needs and what time of day it is. I wouldn’t suggest taking a two-hour nap at 5 o’clock.
If you can’t take a nap, try going to bed on time or even earlier than usual to get a little more sleep than usual. In a few days, your body would be back to normal, and your brain would be fully creative again.
Make an online water cooler
It’s very common for people who work from home to feel lonely. Freelancers who work from home want the exact opposite of what people who work in an office want.
If you work from home by yourself, I’m pretty sure there have been times when you didn’t say more than five words the whole day.
If you haven’t been with good people in a while, you should change that. You could talk to a friend, a sibling, or even your mom. Skype with someone who works from home in your field. Join a small online forum or start tweeting, or do anything else that will get you talking to people.
This lets you make a virtual water cooler, which is similar to the places in real offices where gossip is spread. The good thing about a virtual water cooler is that you can choose who to talk to and what to talk about.
So go out and talk to people, and every time you do, you’ll feel your creative spirit return.
Laugh. Laughter makes you more creative. It was true even for the monsters in Monsters, Inc. Who are we, then, to argue with a Pixar movie? If you’re stuck and can’t think of anything to do, watch your favorite comedies. Watch something funny, whether it’s the movie Hangover, the TV show Big Bang Theory, or a mix of funny animal and kid videos on YouTube.
Me? Right now, I’m going to watch some Monty Python to give my creativity a much-needed boost.