Stop Working if you Have a Deadline to Meet

Meeting Deadlines

Remember those long nights of writing reports and essays, and creating videos and posters for college classes? You could burn the midnight oil and come out with a masterpiece – well, at least something that got you a passing grade!

A few shots of Starbuck’s espresso, a Mountain Dew or two, and a couple of slices of pizza was all it took to keep the fires burning.

But in the real world of creativity, forcing the outcome through prolonged hours and sleep deprivation, is not necessarily the best route to success.

Here’s a secret for creative people. Creativity comes from a relaxed mind and body.


Think about it. When you force yourself to work on a project and ponder the answer to ad nauseam, you often get stuck deeper than you were before. Locking yourself in a room and burning the midnight oil may simply lead to frustration, anxiety, and even depression – not to mention you may miss a deadline.

In the AdobeĀ® (Nasdaq:ADBE) State of Create global benchmark study:

  1. 75% of respondents indicated thatĀ  they are under increased pressure to be productive rather than creative, despite the fact that they are expected to think creatively in their jobs!
  2. More than 1/2 believe that creativity is stifled by education.

Yikes! Pressure to produce is more important than creativity when the job is considered creative? It’s time to slow down for sure!

Foster Creativity

So what’s a better way to foster creativity?

How about trying some new techniques to relax and really get the creative juices flowing? Schedule time to do nothing! Give yourself time to relax, observe, think, and talk with others. Some of the best ideas come during relaxed, fun conversations with friends.

Many creative people work from home or work alone. That means you really have to schedule time to get away from your ‘office’ and interact with other people – and nature. Getting outside refreshes the brain and helps clear your head. Chatting with others gets new ideas, debates, and thoughts out in the open – which spurs creativity.

Try some of these ways to relax so you can become more creative:

  1. Schedule time for ‘nothing’ each day. Even if it’s a time to sit on your porch and daydream. Watch the birds and listen to the sounds of nature. Listen to soothing music. Do what makes you feel good. You will feel refreshed and more creative.
  2. Make it a point to meet with friends and talk. This means REALLY talk – not texting, emailing, instant messaging, or phone calls. It’s all about human contact and interacting the way people are meant to interact!
  3. Collect inspiring things and use them to spur creativity. A digital space, a scrapbook, a bulletin board, a chalk-board painted wall – whatever works. Choose inspiring things and then spend time enjoying them by simply meditating on the objects around you.
  4. Experience life. As Steve Jobs once said, “The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” The more you experience life, the more creative you will become.
  5. Keep an open mind and think clean. Steve Jobs once again taught us, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”
  6. And finally, go to bed! Sleep deprivation can kill creativity. Get enough sleep and allow your brain cells to regenerate. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the time spent sleeping plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful we are when we’re awake.

The next time you have a deadline for a creative project, it might help to stop working on it. Get some rest and relaxation. You’re likely to come up with the most creative idea yet!

That’s it for now – I’ve got to enjoy a walk in the park.

For more ideas on reviving your creativity, click here.


2 thoughts on “Stop Working if you Have a Deadline to Meet

  1. I notice that my creativity goes in cycles. When I feel a surge of creative energy coming on, I try to clear my schedule and make space for the many ideas that will come. When the energy ebbs, I can work on the ideas I generated or just remind myself that the dry spell won’t last.

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