how to weed out monotony and harvest great ideas
As creators, innovators, designers, we’ve all had those moments when we just feel like we’re in a rut. We’re stuck. The monotony of the creative process begins to dictate our yields. It’s bound to happen.
We strive for work that is rich with soul, creativity, or love. The modern Greeks call this “meraki.” It’s a word that describes work that is created from the essence of ourselves. On our best days, we’re operating in meraki. But when our work requires us to deliver day after day, it can become harder to achieve. It’s up to us to find ways to uproot our usual routine and establish mechanisms of creativity. Like good soil for plants, your environment often controls your yield; here are a few ways to keep things fresh.
CHECK YOUR [HEAD] SPACE
Sometimes a change of scenery can rejuvenate the mind. At Astute, we work in a “U” shape of desks, facing inward towards each other, but from time to time, people will move to the conference room or into a desk by a window just to switch it up. Or, when weather allows, we’ll take quick walk outside–This can make all the difference. Sometimes when we’re stale physically, our wheels stop turning. A simple relocation, inside or outside of your office, can make all the difference.
LET THE BRAINSTORM FLOOD THE PAGE
We’ve all heard the expression that “no idea is a bad idea,” and we all know that’s not expressly true. But sometimes we’re so paralyzed by the fear of bad ideas that we are blind to the good ones. Making a list by firing off all the ideas you can think of in five minutes can sometimes clear your mind and expand your thought process. It’s also beneficial to do a solo pre-brainstorm before going into a group brainstorming session. Again, it’s not about eliminating the bad ideas, it’s about removing the fear and allowing yourself to feely exist in an idea-creating space so you’re winning ideas can take root.
TAKE A STEP BACK
Taking a step backward can often, in the long-run, help you to move forward on a project. Fresh eyes give you a new perspective, bending your mind to new solutions to the same problems. Try taking a break from the project that has you tripped up, perhaps for an hour, or even a day, depending on your deadline. Then return to the project and allow the creative process to continue. Often, after some time has passed, the next steps that were so elusive before will become immediately clear. Most agencies or creative work environments understand that innovation is a process and build in time for you to work through that.
Producing meraki-level work should always be your goal. Work that you’re able to throw yourself into is easy to remember, but it’s not always easy to recreate. Giving yourself the space and freedom for trial and error until you find the sweet spot is sometimes all you need.