We’re probably all familiar with that little dip in spirits that often comes after the holidays. Once the parties are over, gifts are given, and A Christmas Story is no longer on repeat on TV, we start to settle back into the reality of everyday, non-holiday life. And frankly, that can be a little depressing.
Jumping back into work can be especially hard for people whose jobs require creativity, like inventors and product designers. Sometimes, all you feel able to do is tasks that require no creative thought, like data entry or punching in a few numbers.
But if you can force yourself to move past that initial inertia, thinking creatively can be its own reward. It’ll actually help pull you out of that blue mood, if you let it.
Here are a few ways to beat those post-holiday blues and get back in creative mode.
- Ease yourself slowly back into the daily grind. During the holidays, we over-indulge in all kinds of things – food, relaxation, spending. While it’s tempting to think that as soon as New Year’s Day hits, we’ll suddenly have all this self-discipline, that’s usually not the case. Give yourself some time to get all the way back into your routine.
- Add some fun into your work routine. Whether you’re an independent inventor who works from home, a freelance product designer with a day job, or a full-time product developer, there are always ways to inject some fun (read: creativity) into your typical work routine. Not only will it increase your creative thinking, it will make getting back into your post-holiday routine a lot more enjoyable.
- Introduce some moderate distraction into your work environment. All those hipsters working on their Great American Novels at Starbucks? They may be annoying, but they’ve actually got the right idea.
- Practice making connections between unrelated things. According to an Inc. article on creativity, one way to generate ideas is to force connections between unrelated things.
- Free yourself from self-criticism. What do most of us do with our risky, out of the ordinary ideas? We shoot them down before we can even get them out on paper. That’s why so many adults don’t draw, or paint, or write creatively – we censor ourselves from the get-go because we think what we come up with isn’t worth anyone’s time, even our own.
Try to add healthy things to your diet, instead of just eliminating items. Start off at work by doing some easier, less demanding tasks, rather than expecting yourself to come up with five new, fully formed product ideas right off the bat. This will prevent you from adding to your negative emotions by feeling you’re inadequate or lazy – which, of course, you aren’t.
You could go for a stroll during lunch time with a colleague, for example – chatting and getting some exercise will instantly boost your mood and leave you feeling refreshed, both mentally and physically.
Or try a creativity-building exercise like free writing – all you have to do is take a piece of paper and pen or pencil and write whatever comes to mind for 10 minutes. It’ll loosen up your thinking, and get those creative juices flowing.
Surprisingly, creativity thrives not in silence, but when we’ve got some mild distractions around us. If you’re in an office, you could accomplish this by listening to some quiet music, or taking your work into a cafeteria or other area where you can be around other people.
So let’s say you’re trying to come up with a new consumer product aimed at the 18-24 age demographic. With that knowledge you could start looking around your office at whatever random things are scattered about. There’s some stationery, a water glass, a printer, your coat, etc. Then start making connections between those things and the demographic you’re targeting. You’re not looking for ready-to-manufacture product ideas just yet – instead, you’re coming up with material that will spark further thought, which sparks further thought, and so on. You might just come up with your next great idea.
But creativity certainly can’t flourish in that environment. Those of us who create for a living must have had some success already silencing that negative inner voice, but you can always continue to practice. It’ll not only allow you to pursue more potentially good ideas, but it’ll make life a lot more joyful, too.
The holiday blues are no fun, but don’t let them impair your creativity any more than you have to. And once you’ve got that great idea, let Pivot help you make it a reality! We can help you make a prototype, get your product manufactured, or manage your supply chain. Contact us today!