Working vs. Soaking


We all hit walls. We all reach a point where the ideas just aren’t coming. Usually, this is the point where we go for a walk, or pick up a magazine, or spend a half hour on YouTube. And that’s all okay. It’s soaking up the culture, art and life that we’ll probably use somewhere down the road.

But next time you hit a wall, try this instead: Keep working.
I’m not saying a half hour of fresh air or viral videos is bad or ineffective. But I do think more often than not, we’re too quick in succumbing to the wall.
So when you hit it, take out a couple blank pieces of paper and a stopwatch and promise yourself that you’re going to write continuously about whatever assignment you’re going to work on for the next 30 minutes. If you have no ideas, start writing, “What I want to do with this ad is…” or “Dear Mom, I’m writing an ad for [product here], and here’s why I think you would love (or hate) it…”
Don’t just accept that you’ve hit a wall. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to knock a few bricks off it.

How I got unstuck

About a week ago I was in a serious rut. I was down on work. Down on our clients. Down on co-workers. Needless to say, it was a pretty unproductive few days.

Then I started listening to this podcast called The History of Jazz by Georgia State University professor, Dr. Gordon Vernick. (Look it up. Wish I could link you to it directly.)
I also started reading my co-worker’s copy of Paul Arden’s book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be.
And on a bright sunny day, I accidentally took the bus too far and had to walk through a couple of neighborhoods I’d never explored on foot.
And suddenly, things were awesome. I liked work. And I’ve been very productive since.
If you’re stuck, frustrated or down on work, it’s not enough just to take a break. A walk around the building or a trip to the burrito joint across the street can sometimes help. But you really need to change your routine.