Unblocking Your Marketing Creativity
How about those times when you just can’t seem to get your mental car started when you’re working on a client project?
I don’t get writer’s block very often, but sometimes when I’m working on a client project, sometimes, often for the simplest parts of a project, like finishing up a website, or putting the finishing touches on a video, I get a little stuck. Not every time, but sometimes, I think it’s just hard to say good bye to it.
I can tell when I start vacuuming and doing laundry instead of buckling down and finishing it that I am really just procrastinating — and THAT’s when I bring out my secret weapon. It NEVER fails. It never fails when I am procrastinating about anything, including doing the bills or cleaning my room. It’s my secret jump-start.
I turn on iTunes and play Sixpence None The Richer.
Don’t ask me why this works, it just does. I like it, but I don’t know that it’s my all-time favorite band. But there is something about the music. As soon as I start playing it, I get the work done. I’ve had times when I was working on a tough project, and I just play it over and over, like background noise, and it keeps me focused and moving.
I’ve wondered many times why this always works. My guess is that it’s a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s very familiar to me now (as you may guess) — I know all the words and music. So it’s enough of a distraction that my mind doesn’t wander, but not so distracting that I focus on it and can’t pay attention to what I’m working on.
My second guess is that at some point, I must have been mentally blocked and happened to play that music. By coincidence, I got back into a work flow, and now I am conditioned to that whenever I hear this CD.
My third guess is that there is something soothing about the music that is just neurologically soothing and conducive to the highly detailed, solitary, and intensely focused work I tend to do for clients (like building websites, writing brochure copy, and video editing).
I would be curious to know what “unblocks” your creative flow — or gets you jump-started when you need to focus on a project.
Of course, coffee comes to mind, for those of you who can drink it (I can’t). But if coffee doesn’t do it for you, try one of these sure-fire alerting techniques when your energy or motivation are lagging at the office…
- Be sure you are hydrated; drink plenty of water
- Chewing gum (works great for me)
- Eat something crunchy, like cheerios or mini-pretzels
- Take small sips of ice cold water or ice-cold lemonade (or anything tart)
- Take frequent movement breaks and stretch; do chair push ups; go up and down the stair wells
- Try smelling herbs: basil, peppermint, oregano
- Eat a popsicle or frozen grapes
- Put some bright colors around you, maybe flowers
- Brush your teeth with cold water
- Splash cold water on your hands and face
- Blow bubbles (this is also calming) or take deep breaths
- Dance (if you can, in your office) to a whole song
- Move some heavy stuff around for a few minutes, or try pushing hard against a wall
And if you get really stuck, my best default is to do something, almost anything, that you can complete quickly and easily. Being successful at a small task, or series of small tasks, will increase your confidence and motivate you to tackle the big one.