HOW TO STAY PRODUCTIVE WHEN YOU FEEL CREATIVELY BLOCKED
8 Simple strategies to boost your creative productivity
Creative minds often struggle with focused productivity and strategy (throw being a Gemini like me in to the mix and it feels like there’s no hope!). We always have so many good ideas on the go at once and when we tire of one a little we just move on to the next. That’s just what us creatives do right?
Not if you want to utilise your creativity to build a business, make and impact and an income.
I still remember all the wasted hours in building my business where I thought being creatively blocked meant I couldn’t do anything productive at all. I thought it was something I had to ride out. I had to wait until I felt the inspiration to work again. I was wrong.
I’ve learnt now both creativity and productivity are required and that two different thinking patterns are responsible for each. Which is good news, because it means that we can tap into and fully utilise each thought pattern, depending on what we are working on and what our goals are, instead of trying to work the two conflicting thought patterns together - which equals creative block and stress.
DIVERGENT AND CONVERGENT THINKING
I’m talking about divergent and convergent thinking; divergent thinking is all about the big ideas, expansive possibilities, the daydreams, the brainstorming, the thoughts that feed our creativity. Convergent thinking is all about the nitty gritty details, list making, organising, the thoughts that channel us to get things done.
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, Nancy Duarte says “Divergent and convergent were identified by J.P. Guilford in 1967 as two different types of thinking that occur in response to a problem. Divergent thinking generates ideas, while convergent thinking sorts and analyzes these ideas towards the best outcome.”
Once you have some simple tools and systems in place it’s really quite easy to train your brain to shift between creative thinking and productive action. So even if you are feeling blocked creatively there are still convergent thinking activities you can do to keep your productivity up.
Here are some tools and simple strategies I use on a daily basis:
EXPAND YOUR MIND (divergent)
I have recently developed a morning routine, where I dedicate time to myself first thing each morning, having this space to feed and free my mind early in the day, before everything else gets in the way, has been a game changer for me. I spend the time reading, journaling, card pulling, meditating or listening to a podcast.
POMODORO TECHNIQUE (convergent)
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo. I started using this when I first started my business alongside my full time job and I had to squeeze in time for my side hustle wherever I could. Using this technique I was able to make the most out of the short amount of time I had. The technique is to break down work into 25 minute intervals separated by short breaks. The idea is that the timer instills a sense of urgency and pushes you to just get the work done. I highly recommend giving it go!
STOP MULTI-TASKING (convergent)
Multi-tasking is a lie. Humans cannot multi-task. Recent neuroscience research shows that the brain can’t do tasks simultaneously but in fact it just switches between tasks very quickly. There is a start/stop/start process that is occurring all the time in (micro seconds) and it costs us time, energy and often mistakes. It is not a productive way of working at all.
CREATE SYSTEMS (convergent)
Being a creative Gemini, it took me along time to admit that I needed some systems if I wanted to be successful. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long because now I don’t know what I’d do without them! I use Asana every single day and have all my monthly/weekly/daily tasks mapped out and set to recur if needed, I have my workflows and templates in there too and it really saves me so much time and energy on thinking about what I need to do and when I need to do it.
Collaborating is one of my key focuses for the year (if you haven’t got my free ebook yet, which is an amazing collaboration with 12 creative women across the globe who are making impact with workshops, you can get it here). Spending time and focusing your energy on people who are high vibe and have the same big goals and ideas as you is incredible. You’ll generate so many new ideas, you’ll network in new ways, you’ll have a renewed sense of energy and determination. How can you collaborate with others in your niche?
CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY (convergent)
Accountability for productivity has been huge for me. I have worked with a coach and have my own little group of accountability buddies on Facebook. Announcing your goals to someone else is a powerful way to hold yourself to account and to commit to taking action. If you’re looking for accountability with other amazing creative women, join us here.
VISION BOARD (divergent)
Create and use a vision board as a way to keep your eyes on the prize. When the workload is feeling heavy or you’re feeling uninspired, having a visual aid to remind yourself why you are doing this can be a powerful tool to boost your energy and shift your mindset.
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT (divergent)
Perfectionism is the biggest productivity killer of all. More often than not we are done, we have finished the piece of work, but we hold on to it, we sit on it for waaaay to long because its just not perfect yet. I urge you to forget perfect. How can you impact the world with your creativity if you aren’t ever getting out there? Aim for progress not perfect.
I hope moving forward you will start to recognize your divergent and convergent thinking patterns and be able to identify which activities and tasks benefit from each. I’d love to know which of the strategies above you implement and find the most useful, reach out and let me know.