How to Free Yourself From Creative Block
Every creative worker knows blocks. In the worst case, the creative block, you won't get anything done at all. But what happens when a block basically focuses on a single area? Designer Ben Evans portrays his case of UX-burnout. It was a time full of work. He had to get an app going, and had dealt with questions of user experience (UX) for several months. Once the goal was achieved, the tension fell off, and he felt a deep fatigue, which he thought was just general exhaustion. However, when Evans sat down to describe his condition, he realized that words were basically flowing from his fingers. So it could not have been a creative block. He still had enough ideas and energy; he just didn't want to have anything to do with UX design. Thus, he created the term UX-burnout. Now, you could argue that it's not relevant how a single designer diagnoses himself. Nonetheless, I think this process is fascinating, as almost every creative worker should already have experienced this condition, without naming it like Evans did. From self-observation, I also noticed phases in which I was able to develop creative solutions but unable to put a word onto paper. Evans found six types of different problems that could have been responsible for his special exhaustion situation. If you want to read more on the topic UX burnout, I recommend Ben's article over at Boxes and Arrows. Some of the mentioned problems can be generalized, and be converted to all types of blocks. Let's take a closer look.
You Don't Have a Clear Mind AnymoreThis sounds like a simple problem, and that's what it is. If we're stuck deep inside of complex projects, at one point, the details will overwhelm us even if they are not as relevant. In the end, we miss the forest for the trees, beginning, and end of the project sink deep into a bunch of small and smaller problems. On top of that, there's the constant information overflow, which is hard to tame even in a normal situation. We feel as if we were being buried alive. Who's supposed to be able to come up with creative situations in that situation? The only way to solve the problem is discipline and distinction. Knowing our psychological limits, we should accept not being able to stay with it 24/7. Working by following the Pomodoro technique helps us not to be overloaded permanently. It works like this:
- Take a task, and work on it for an uninterrupted 25 minutes.
- Take a short break, and do something that is not related to work. Like getting a coffee, for example.
- Now, go for the second 25-minute session.
- After that, take another short break. After a total of four sessions, meaning after 100 minutes, take a longer break, somewhere from 20 to 30 minutes long.
- Then repeat.