Be Creative: How to Manage Your Creativity Flow Under Pressure
October 5, 2016
As a designer, being creative comes with the territory. It’s what makes this field so rewarding. At the same time, having to work under pressure can be a real obstacle, when it comes to unleashing your mind. But this is your time to shine. A designer that can work under pressure, and still deliver outstanding results, is a true professional.
Embrace the Fact that This Is Part of the Job
Creative jobs are immensely fulfilling, but they’re also incredibly stressful. There’s no way around it. This is something you’re just going to have to accept and learn how to work with.
That’s easier said than done, and most designers know it. But whenever you feel like the pressure is starting to get to you, remember that this is what makes your job so great in the first place.
Imagine yourself doing a completely stress-free job. Would it be the same? Would it be just as rewarding? Probably not. Pressure is what makes achieving your goals feel so good. Without stress, every task would feel just like the next. And that would be incredibly boring.
So, next time you feel like the pressure is just too much, think about how stunning and immensely satisfying it’s going to be when you’re done. Check out different sources of inspiration and embrace this pressure as one of the things that make your job so great.
Eliminate as Many Stress Factors as You Can
There are a lot of things that can make a project stressful. Impossibly tight deadlines, clients that don’t speak the same language, frustrating lack of budget or resources.
A lot of these things are beyond your control. You should focus on the ones that are. To keep your creative juices flowing, eliminate as many of these stress factors as you can.
Keeping disruptions away is going to be essential when you’re faced with pressure. It’s going to take some time until you can figure out what the perfect environment for you is. But while you’re at it, take this as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. It’s going to be a really productive way to get your mind off things.
Know Your Limits and Use Them to Structure Your Flow
Every creative dreams about being a super human when it comes to their job. When you’re really excited about a task, you might be tempted to say ‘yes’ to anything, instantly.
But you’ve probably already noticed in doesn’t work that way in practice. Real professionals know exactly what their limits are, and they won’t be embarrassed to state them clearly. If a deadline is too short, if a client asks you to do something you can’t, just say it.
Learning your limits and accepting them is something that comes only with experience. You shouldn’t ignore them in the hopes that you can overcome them. Pushing yourself is useful from time to time, but you can’t make a habit out of it.
Limits give structure to your creativity. If you become aware and embrace them, you can keep your creativity going even under pressure. When you’re faced with a dozen options, isn’t it great when you can narrow the list down? Creatives might want to make you believe they just let inspiration wash over them, and they pluck out their ideas from these tides. But that’s rarely the case. They know pretty well what they can and can’t do, and they stick to the plan. That way, they know they can deliver consistent results.
Take Active Breaks
Taking a break from time to time is a must. Even if you feel like you’re not going to finish on time, or if you just wait five more minutes until an idea hits you, sitting there in front of the screen doing nothing is not going to help.
On the other hand, if you start watching random videos on YouTube, or just scroll up and down Facebook, you’re still not going to accomplish anything.
Use your break to kickstart your creativity by looking at some online inspiration sources. You don’t have to look up something that’s related to what you’re doing specifically. In fact, it might be better if you didn’t. If you continue to narrowly focus on your work while you’re on a break, that’s not a break.
Nobody’s ever come up with new ideas by sticking to the tried and tested. Instead, try to go about it in a roundabout way. It’s going to help you relieve some tension, and it might lead to a creative spark.
Use That Pressure in Your Favor
A lot of tips and tricks about how to manage to keep a steady workflow while under pressure focus a lot on eliminating said pressure.But you don’t have to. On the contrary, you can use that pressure to fuel your creativity. If you’re a freelancer or have worked on a project with a deadline that was relatively far away, you’ve probably done this already. There’s that point in the project when adrenaline kicks in, and all of a sudden everything just seems to click.
Working like this can be thrilling, you really shouldn’t make a habit out of it. Stress does have negative effects on your health, and working non-stop can make things worse.
Whenever pressure starts kicking in, you shouldn’t panic. It’s surprisingly easy to turn anxiety into excitement. Because both reactions are ultimately quite similar. The main thing that sets them apart is the way you view the situation.
Now, again, it’s easy to say you should just change your perspective on something. But when you feel the pangs of anxiety gnawing at you, sit down, and start doodling. You’ll be surprised to see how many good ideas come from just trying things out until one of them sticks.
Everyone has their way of dealing with pressure. We’ve all experienced it, and we’ve all had to deal with it. And we can always learn from each other when it comes to managing our creative flows while under stress.
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