There are times when working for yourself isn’t as great as everyone else thinks it is. In order to be successful as a marketing consultant, I’ve found you have to have a huge amount of self-discipline, combined with an almost self-destructive inability to switch off as you constantly search for the next marketing opportunity, or strive to squeeze 30 hours into a day to meet a client’s deadline.
And it’s usually when you’re under extreme pressure that your creativity deserts you and you’re left staring at a blank page with a looming deadline adding to the pressure. But I have a secret weapon, which always seems to work for me – and maybe it will for you too.
It’s not rocket science, but it helps me reassess situations, tap back into my creative side and work through problems to achieve clarity. It also varies, depending on what’s happening at the time.
So what is it? Well, for me, it’s as simple as stepping away from my desk and doing something completely different and preferably manual, such as putting a load of washing on, or giving the lounge a quick vacuum. This mundane activity allows my brain to totally disengage from the problem in hand and I’ll often find the solution I’ve been searching for will just appear all by itself.
Ron points out that this approach to problem solving isn’t all that unusual – for him, his creativity appears in the bathroom (no, it’s not what you’re thinking!) and for Albert Einstein, sailing was the way he disengaged his brain from the problems he was trying to solve.
When you’re stuck in an office day in and day out, I guess stopping and putting the washing on, or getting the vacuum cleaner out isn’t really an option to revitalise your creativity, but maybe, like Ron says, a bathroom break might help provide the solution you’re looking for. In this week’s Marketing magazine, Alex Bannister from Nationwide cites early morning running as his way to clear his mind and prioritise the day ahead.
So, next time you’re stuck in a creative dead end, try reaching for your running shoes, the vacuum cleaner or maybe some toilet roll, but probably not all three at once!