how to come back from vacation

oh, Labor Day.  what a tease.  a day celebrating workers...a day before they return to work.  if we were truly supposed to chill, Labor Day would fall on Friday.

it’s hard returning to work after long, hot, summer weekends.  you probably feel out of whack and low on creativity and unproductive today.

here are suggestions and some links to get you moving again.  while they’re slightly tailored to artsy endeavors, you’ll try anything if you’re blocked and feeling lazy, right? 

Creative Bloq offers 20 tips from graphic designers.  even if they sound basic, some have little twists that could yield inspiration.  for example, list main ideas in columns and mix and match them later on.  brilliant!

99u goes in a psychoanalytic route, reviewing 7 kinds of blocks and offering solutions.  

below are some of my own

CHANGE THE SETUP  the variety among these 72 options for visual thinking by information designer Anna Vital, via Visualistan. keeps me coming back.

How To Think Visually Using Visual Analogies #infographic

exploring “how to think visually using visual analogies,” the infographic reminds us there are boundless ways of conveying information.  which is true, but since we all have preferred methods for organizing, it’s easy to forget the possibilities.  i wonder if playing with how you outline or categorize information helps you see it in a different light. 

also, i didn’t catch on immediately, but the graphic is handily separated into sections: charts and diagrams, abstract analogies, analogies, and allegories. 

START WITH THE HARDEST TASK...OR WITH THE EASIEST  this tip may inadvertently reflect your optimism or lack thereof.  one option is handling the most difficult item first so you’re prepared for unforeseen chaos.  alternatively, build up confidence by crossing simple items off the list and work up to harder ones. 

CHANGE OF SCENE it's classic but crucial.  work in a new space, if at all possible.  spending time outside or visiting a new neighborhood are refreshing, too.  on sunday i took a break and checked out a museum i’d never visited.  sure enough, i was bombarded with ideas about this week’s posts. 

SET TIGHT DEADLINES  brainstorm about an issue non-stop for 10 minutes.  or work on a project in 15-minute time slots, setting a small goal for each session. 

OR NOT, and let yourself space out, doodle, and play. have fun, but not too fun, objects around.  i keep a big rubber ball and a cool, multi-colored eraser on my desk.  or, as they say in the Creative Bloq article, “don’t run it like a clinic or a prison.”

ROTATE BETWEEN OR AMONG TASKS  this idea is similar to my second to-do list.  basically, i always have several posts in draft form at all times, even if they’re only outlines.  this way, when i get stuck, i can pick one and dive in.  

this also comes in handy when i have a few minutes before an appointment but want to keep working—i can open a draft, add a few paragraphs or ideas, and be on my way.

the numerous documents also create an illusion of bounty, tricking me into thinking, look at all these ideas awaiting me.  you aren’t stuck! 

"FLIP THE CANVAS UPSIDE DOWN AND ONLY USE WHITE!"  that’s what my painter friend says about breaking through creative blocks.  i’m a little jealous.  painting looks fun.  and painting problems seem manageable.  plus i love that visual and wish i could employ it. 

but writing is a different animal, one that looks boring under the best of circumstances and physically painful at its worst.  but the canvas concept holds up metaphorically, and i’ve found myself thinking, how can i flip this upside down and only use white?

how do you get unstuck from procrastination or lack of inspiration?   tell me in the comments! 

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