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Tips for Staying Creative While Under Pressure


New goals and deadlines are unfortunately (and very typically) accompanied by new pressures. Thus, the new year is just about as stressful as it is motivating. The trick is not to let stress, and the feeling of failure, stand in the way of your motivation and overall creativity. Easier said than done.

Here are some tips for keeping your creativity (and cool) when expectations are at an all-time high.

1. Pretend to work on someone else’s behalf

The stress of looking bad can greatly hinder your creative process. It may sound strange, but pretending to come up with ideas for someone else (like a client) can keep your pitches unique. Detach a bit, as if your project will be passed off.

2. Outlines are your friend

An empty page can be incredibly daunting, trust me- I know. When you’re too overwhelmed to get started, simply write down some bare bones bullets. Then take a break, and come back to it later. You’ll be surprised how much the pressure subsides.

3. Work during your peak creative hours

Some of us are morning people, others are night owls. You know when you work best. During this time put other obligations and distractions (ie Slack and your email inbox) on hold while you really get down to business during your 2-3 hour creative window.

4. Know when to walk away

When your mind is absolutely fried, it’s pretty easy to get distracted on the internet. Although the idea of leaving your desk when deadlines are looming can sound absolutely terrifying, it’s time to take a much-needed real break. Getting lost online will only set your mind even further away from your aspirations rather than closer to them.

5. Get some solid sleep.

This is one of the most vital, and also overlooked, tips. Basically, your productivity is shot during resting hours— not to mention, a lack of sleep stifles creativity. That is all, case closed.

6. Write down creative ideas when they hit you, at all times of day

Chances are, you have a smartphone— aka a notepad and pen, or voice recorder, strapped to your hip at all times. A brilliant idea can hit you without a moments notice, and depart just as fast.