The lockdown fog is real. It feels thick, murky and it’s closing in around you. You have to write a piece about staying productive in these “weird times” to help people “stay safe and sane” and you’ve been staring out the window as blankly as your word doc currently is. Suddenly, it’s 5pm.
Hi, it’s me, your resident Buffet productivity hack-lover and creative-ideas-on-command person reporting for duty. As we stare down the barrel of many more weeks of locky-d, and as the threat (or reality of) menty-bs quicken, I thought it’d be a good moment to pop in with a tender jolt of inspiration. And also because I clearly need one myself.
Specifically, I’m here today to help kick-start your creative juices again, which might be more trickle than flow right now. Don’t worry, it’s a list, for the ideal impact-to-attention-span ratio. I.e. extremely digestible. Read on.
Lean into the boredom. Sounds a bit weird and counterintuitive, but hear me out. Even though we’re in this sort of repetitive state of sleep-eat-work-repeat, most of us are likely rewarding ourselves by staring at the medium screen all day, then staring at the large screen in between whilst scrolling on the small screen. Read: we’re in a state of constant distraction, letting the fog of the internet roll over us (fog is the word of the day). Shower thoughts are moments of random inspiration for a reason — your brain has a tendency to wander and piece bits of info together when you least expect it. So, try to go screen-free for a designated slot (20/30/60 mins). Let your mind float around and see where it lands. You can take a bath, go for a walk, take out a paper and pen, knit while you do this…but go in with no plans, and no screens.
Find a different way “in”. Stimulus and newness are super key to creativity and ideas generation, and during these lockdown times, your access to both is restricted. On a broader level, try switching up your work environment by moving your station/desk around the house. Try reaching out and chatting to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while — they may be able to offer a different perspective. Read a book outside your comfort zone. On a more granular level, try a new approach. The Deck of Brilliance has some great prompts. Or you can use this cool service that pairs you with someone else from around the world who is looking to get a task done. You have a chat, then spend an hour on a video call with one another to hold each other to task. Find inspiration from other industries / consume stuff out of your comfort zone (give that Netflix roulette feature a spin, we dare you). Try new things within your means, basically.
Listen up, plug in. I love listening to the Creative Pep Talk, Creative Boom and Creative Rebels podcasts to help with the general approach to creative practise and thinking. But also, pods are a great way to shake things up, bone up on a new topic and expose yourself to different modes of thinking (see point 2).
Music or musak. Mr Turtlenecks aka Steve Jobs used music to change his moods and boost creative thinking. Need to change yours? Try a serotonin-boosting tune or playlist. If it’s concentration you’re after, there’s a music app designed specifically to boost concentration. The music is written to promote focus by treading a careful line between repetitive and engaging. Focus @ Will folks, I swear by it. OR if you want to go au natural, do as my Buffet buddy Rose does and put on some atmospheric thunderstorm sounds and go right to the calm at the eye of the storm.
Do a flip, exercise. Make sure you’re doing something that gets your body/blood/oxygen moving. Walk around the block to clear your head. Do a headstand. Star jumps on the spot. A lights off, music loud dance in the dark. Exercise is very good for your mind-muscle. That’s science.
Break up your day, baby steps. Section up your day by breaking your calendar into tasks and downtime (morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea). If it doesn’t have time allocated in your calendar, it won’t get done. You can try using the Pomodoro technique and setting tasks as 25 min stints with little 5 min breathers in the middle. There's a timer here. I’d also like to stress that mealtimes are sacred. Honour these as much as possible. Move away from your laptop and eat your delicious morsels without your phone, if you can. Give yourself a proper break! Lord knows you deserve it.
Keep the comms channels open. Stuck for ideas or trying to choose between two options? Soundboard over slack, a call, or a video call to break things up. Or take it to the masses and do a poll on your stories. Use your network to problem solve, the hive mind will (often) provide!
It’s wild out there right now. If you’re feeling stuck and can’t get out of your rut, don’t sweat it. This too shall pass.
Need some help getting your creative content ideas flowing? Get in touch.
Sign up to our newsletter for more thought morsels concerning food, social media and other hot tips.