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Creativity Hacks For Creative Professionals

Creativity is the most unreliable talent you can have. One day you are in the flow, coming up with insanely creative concepts for the project you are working on, only to run dry the next day. We have all experienced creative blocks – they can last from days to months, depending on the circumstances. While there is no cookie-cutter approach to getting out of the rut, there are methods to kick-start your creative engine and avoid the next big creative block. Here are a few ideas:


1. Meditation

If you look back on all those moments when you had your breakthrough ideas, either in the shower while running, washing the dishes, or staring at the blank sheet of paper in your sketchbook – all of those moments have one thing in common. You get your creative peaks when your mind is usually calm and unburdened by worries and repetitive thought patterns.

In my experience, creativity is more about the mental state you are in than anything else, and the best way to reconnect to that calm and serene state of being is to meditate. No need to burn incense sticks or listen to fancy guided meditations – just 20 minutes of deep breathing and mental relaxation in a quiet place is enough to get you started. Meditation teaches us to let go and create space in our minds for inspiration.

2. Removing Distractions

The biggest obstacle to deep work is getting distracted, and multi-tasking – our phones are the biggest culprit here, but it could mean anything that steals our attention from the task at hand. Distractions could be a pet, crying children in the next room, and the cluttered desk you are working at. 
How I fight distraction – I have zero social media apps on my phone, all notifications turned off, and data connection is on only when I really need it. I schedule limited time for social media and email twice daily. I put my phone on silent mode when I do deep work. And last but not least, I declutter my desk daily, making sure that I only have work-related stuff on my desktop.
3. Movement

The body is the mind – there is absolutely no way you can have a strong mind, capable of handling deep work if your body is not fit. What works best for me is going out for an intense mountain hike once a week – there is something about the connection with nature and trekking at high altitudes that gets your bodily and creative juices flowing. Also, a daily stretching routine in the morning is a must – a flexible body is a flexible mind.  
4. Creativity Enhancing Substances (the legal ones)
I am all about tapping into the brain’s natural resources without the help of external stimulants. But sometimes, you need that extra kick to find inspiration, which is when substances come in handy. Here is what I use regularly:
  • You cannot beat Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom in combination with green tea or coffee for concentration. I pop two 500mg capsules with a cup of strong tea when I need a few extra hours of laser-sharp focus to get through a challenging project/deadline.
  • I have found that micro-dosing on psilocybin mushrooms helps when you want to think outside of the box and be truly creative. Micro-dosing is legal in most western countries (check your local legislation). 
  • Cocoa products like dark chocolate also help with creativity. The great taste and improved mood are a bonus.
Some creatives swear by a glass of red wine to help them relax and get into a state of flow. I have mixed results with wine and would rather stay away from alcohol while working.
5. Bedtime Inspiration
When we sleep, we have full access to our subconscious mind – untroubled by daily tasks and busy schedules; in our dreams, we are free to connect the dots and come up with original ideas. Here is the kicker – while the subconscious mind usually runs on autopilot when we sleep, we can intentionally program that part of our psyche to work for us while we sleep. The best time to do this is just before we fall asleep when we are at the threshold between the conscious and subconscious. 
Here is how it works – you need to go to bed with a clear intention to get inspiration in your dream. Visualize the project you are working on right before falling asleep and ask for solutions. Try this for a few consecutive nights, and don’t get frustrated if you don’t dream your way to insight on the first night. Keep a pen and notebook by your bed – be ready to put down anything important that came up in your dreams immediately upon waking up.  
I have used this method to develop complex strategies and creative ideas that I wouldn’t have been able to think of otherwise. It is not the most reliable tool for coming up with ideas, but it really works when it works.