Have you ever started a design or a creative concept and after hours of tedious work, generated nothing remotely close to cool or original? I have. And even after hours of creating nothing but delete-worthy ideas I continue to work on the same design. Why is this happening to me?? It’s because the only entity that can stop me is me, and I’m not backing down!
If you’re like me, you literally need to step away from the design. Seriously, walk away.
There are more designers out there besides you and I who’ve been in this situation. Your day may start out right. With a little coffee in you and a firm grasp on your creative concept you might just pull it off in time for lunch. You’ve finally sat down to work when out of nowhere; 5 o’ clock hits. Despite the hour you still insist on forging ahead with the hopes that you will create something groundbreaking, when in reality you continue to produce visuals that you wouldn’t dare let your fellow designer see, much less a client.
The simple solution: take a break.
Deadlines are a haunting b*tch, I know. And I know how hard it is to tear yourself away from a design, especially when you have worked so many hours on it and still have nothing you would ever consider showing. But the simple truth is, you need to take a break from your design and give your brain a rest.
What happens if you don’t?
It can lead to stress, exhaustion, distraction, and lets be honest, sh*tty ideas. The creative thought process is not designed for continuity. Your mind becomes fatigued after sustained use (just like your muscles), and needs a rest period before it can recover. Working over a long period of time can be invigorating but if you’ve hit a wall in the creative process, you are only draining your reserves, stressing yourself out, and quite possibly setting yourself up to present something mediocre or worse! Long forced hours don’t necessarily mean good work – original, creative, highly efficient, productive work is more valuable and frequent with the occasional break.
Give your brain a chance to refresh!
Breaks also promote and improve productivity and creativity. Sometimes you need to step away from what it is that you are designing and do something completely different. This may sound like the end of the world to a designer. But it’s not.
It is as simple as going outside, stretching, going out for lunch, or just having a really good laugh with co-workers about non-worked related stuff. Clear your mind of design. By doing this it takes you out of your tunnel vision perspective and brings a whole new perspective into play. And when you broaden your perspective, there is a chance that inspiration may hit and you’re able to return to your design with a fresh eye, renewed vigor, and optimized creativity.
The design process is demanding and so are the skills required to constantly create beautiful work and original ideas. So after a certain point when you feel the tunnel vision setting in and the delete-worthy ideas start reemerging, do yourself and your brain a favor, step away, relax, and take a well-deserved break.
Sometimes you need a little help. We all do… Take a load off.