Let me preface this post by saying that everyone has their off days. And for freelancers, off days are slightly more difficult to get over when you don't have anyone but yourself to answer to. When I find myself in a rut, with a writer's block or a creative block, I used to just waste my day away by succumbing to my base urges and Netflixing or shopping until I find some semblance of sanity back in my system.
Over time, I realized that this style of doing things wasn't helping my productivity at all. I needed to come up with a way to get over this and get over this quickly without having to resort to retail therapy or transforming into a full-on couch potato. Here are some of the things I do to get over my bouts of unproductive haziness/laziness.
Get Out of the House
If I had an unlimited source of funds, I would put "Traveling to Wherever" as my number one pick. But IRL, an unlimited source of funds is still a pipe dream. So the next best thing is to simply just get out of the house. Go for a walk. Go to a new coffee shop. Go to a place where you can watch people from a distance (in a non-stalkery way, of course). Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need. And people-watching can give any marketer ideas.
If you usually work in your room, like I sometimes do, I have trouble sleeping because I associate my room with work-related stress. The best thing to do to convince your brain that your room/home is a sacred space for rest is to get out of the house and work from outside. Now, if you've got the extra cash (and you're super lucky) and you don't have any meetings scheduled, you are free to work from any country, province, beachfront, mountain view place, if you so choose.
If you need new coffee-shop ideas where you can work, you can check this out.
Listen to New Music
A friend of mine always teases me that the music I listen to is weird. And while this may very well be true, I always believe that music has a way of tapping into something inside of us that can't be reached by the internal monologue we have in our heads. Sometimes, all we need is a new soundtrack to boost our creativity or put is in the proverbial zone on purpose.
Here are some of my favorite playlists on Spotify to get you started:
Take a Break and Boost your Endorphins
For those who are close to me, they know that I'm not a fitness person. Because of course, I'm me. Exercising doesn't come naturally to me. I like to consider myself as a thinker and not a...doer of activities. BUT. I have learned that in order to get my thoughts straight, I need to clear my head. And one way that I do this daily is to go for a 45 minute to an hour swim.
I never have a fixed schedule but I make sure that I do this within the day/night. There is something about plunging your head underwater that just forces you to be alone in your thoughts. I have come up with many a marketing campaign underwater. My most cherished ideas have sprung up on me while doing laps in the pool. And when I get back to work, my mood is 100% times better.
I'm lucky to have access to a pool where I live, but for those of you who do not, exercise in any form (like going for a bike ride, a run, a gym session, yoga, whatever you're into really) is a great way to gain some clarity.
Look at Other Peoples' Work
If you're stuck in a place and can't go anywhere, Googling things and reading things can be your best friend. People are always showcasing their work online. If you need inspiration for video editing work or pegs, refine your search and look for great high-quality videos on Vimeo or YouTube. People post their demo reels all the time! If you're looking for great graphic design or UI/UX design, Pinterest, Behance and Awwwards are my favorite sites to visit. If you're looking for great writing and observations about humankind, I always visit McSweeney's, The New Yorker and Brain Pickings for great insights.
There's an infinite number of resources you can find online to look at inspiration, especially in a field as creative and as technologically driven as this. Not only is it great to be inspired by the work of other hardworking individuals and teams, but it can also be your motivation to do better work. Because of how much great work there is already out there, benchmarking the quality of your work against the work of others is simpler. Being aware of your competition can be healthy. The opposite is also true which is why it's always advisable to approach it from the point of view of humility, knowing that your work can always be improved.
These are only a few things I do to get over my creative blocks. Are there any tips and tricks you guys have for fighting against your off days? Let me know in the comments below if you have anything helpful to share! :)