You're so focused. You want something to work. You need some inspiration but your brain is screaming NO - I don't want to. I have been in there before. It's time to be creative but you just can't. Here are some things that have helped me focus and jump back in the game. They helped reset my brain and think about my problem in a completely different way.
First thing you need to do is stop thinking about the project you are working on. Second thing you need to do is walk away from it for a moment. Next pick one of the activities below.
1. Go for a Walk & Listen to a Podcast
I know you may be thinking..... but Nicole - I'm listening to more information - are you crazy? Hear me out for a second.
The reason I found this works is because you are FORCING yourself to listen to someone else's thoughts AND you can't write the information down. You are literally forced to listen. This totally distracts your brain and resets it.
When you are thinking about a problem or want to be creative, your brain can get stuck. This stops the repeat mode and directs your brain to new thoughts. Those new thoughts are going to direct you to a new answer or prospective.
I can't even explain how refreshed I feel after I do this.
If it is too cold outside, go to the gym. If it's nice outside, go outside where you are or find a park. If you can't walk, I suggest using a rowing machine or a stationary bike. Do something that keeps you safety busy to the point you can't write anything down.
I listen to all sorts of things - business podcasts, church sermons, interviews and motivational speakers.
I do this for about 30 minutes. After I am done, I'm usually running to my laptop because I'm so inspired.
2. Go to a Museum, Botanical Garden or Zoo
When I'm stuck - I'll take a day and go to a museum, garden or zoo. Looking at art work, seeing new tech, smelling flowers, seeing the animals or reading stories from the past helps me relax and reset.
Your mind will open up and take in the new environment. You will get to see, smell and hear things that you haven't seen before OR haven't experienced in a long while.
I can't even begin to explain how refreshed I feel after one of these days. If I know I have a ton of projects going on, I will work this into my schedule.
3. Watch Cartoons
Yes - I said it. Watch cartoons or a kid's movie. I'm not talking about adult cartoons either. Your mind just opens up when you watch cartoons or kid's movies. You get in touch with that spark you had as a child. A spark that allows you to explore and create.
My favorite types of kids cartoons to watch are old Disney movies, new random kids movies that look fun on Amazon or Netflix or newer Disney movies I haven't seen before.
4. Find a Hands on Hobby or Project
My current "hands on" hobby that doesn't include a screen is gardening. Last year I planted over 300 bulbs. Who can't wait for Spring? This girl.
You can pick whatever you'd like.
One time I picked up origami. I made a bunch of bookmarks for all of my books.
The great thing about a little hobby is that you can go back to it when you need to, it doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to generate income. It's just that - a hobby.
Things I've done in the past include creating new smoothie recipes, using a cool sharpie stencil to beautify my closet, sewing a t-shirt blanket, tying different types of knots (using paracord), making soy candles, regrowing grass in my yard and scrapbooking.
Doing something physical and semi-mindless can be refreshing.
5. Read Fiction
This helped me a long time ago (in college) and still helps me today. I believe it was my junior year at Mount Mary University. I just couldn't read another non-fiction book. I couldn't do it anymore. My brain was literally fried and I couldn't focus. I LOVE learning so when I got to that point, I knew I needed to change something and fast.
Hello Harry Potter.
Funny thing is - is that I thought people were ridiculous for reading Harry Potter.
While in college I worked multiple jobs and played sports. One job included working 3rd shift on the weekends at a gas station.
It was a cold Friday night. I was relieving a 2nd shift coworker. Before he left, he won't stop raving about Harry Potter. My thoughts... how old are you? Weird people standing in line for a book and eating disgusting jelly beans that taste like dirty. Really bro?
Well, he left the book in his cubby and told me I could read it if I wanted to.
Things get boring around 2am at a gas stations AND you can only do so much cleaning and homework.....
One night while working, I just couldn't read another word of my Art History book... so decided to try Mr Harry Potter.
I thought to myself = I'm going prove to myself how stupid this book really is.
Fast forward to today. I have a Gryffindor scarf and butter beer rocks. Meaning - I drank the Kool-Aid and read every book..... twice 🤦🏻♀️
Getting back to where we were.
When I get stuck in business, I find a new (fiction) book series. That way at night my mind runs away to a different place. It relieves the stress of the day. It gives me something to not only look forward to but RUN to. If you are working on a longterm project, this helps me a ton.
Books I've read recently:
Where the Crawdaddy Sings - Delia Owens
The Book Charmer - Karen Hawkins
The Kiss of Deception - Mary Pearson
A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman
5. Church - Yoga - Mediation
I'm a church girl so church on Sundays really helps me. It opens my mind back up and lets me just praise God. I am a horrible singer but my friends don't seem to mind. I bring in my coffee, sing and listening to word. It resets my whole week. I remember that as long as I'm doing what is right & not what is easy - things will be good and my ideas will come.
Church may not be your cup of tea SO I also recommend Yoga. The SLOW RELAXING kind. Weekly - I would go to yoga. It was a quiet candle lit space that smelt like lavender. The ideas was to relax your body and mind - NOT hold crazy positions until you fall over. LOL Before you sign up for a class, make sure it's the relaxing kind.
Mediation will quiet your brain at night AND you'll feel refreshed it in the morning. For about 2 years, I did this every night. You can go on Youtube and just search "relaxing mediation for sleep".
I hope these things will help you!
Now you know what I do when I can't focus or know my brain needs a break. Just because I need a break doesn't mean that I'm out of the game. Even though this might seem like a way to avoid something, it's the exact opposite.
Knowing that you are over thinking something and doing something about it - shows maturity. It shows that you know the path you are on isn't working and are willing to move in a new direct to change it.
These things are meant to give your poor brain a break in a way the helps solve your problem.
Even your brain needs a vacation!