How to Recharge as a Designer

As designers, our job is to create. And in order to do our best creative work, we should continually seek rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Just as writers experience ‘writer’s block’, I believe designers may be susceptible to ‘designer’s block.’ If you’re looking to recharge your creativity and motivation, I’ve rounded up a few tips ‘n tricks for getting back on track.

  • Relax — We all know that overworking our brains isn’t good. In fact, continuous work dulls it and reduces creativity. On the contrary, research shows that ideas and sparks of creativity occur when our minds are essentially at rest. So, if you’re stuck on a problem and desperately trying to solve it, stop forcing yourself to come up with something creative. Instead, stop thinking, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Letting your mind rest will do — and give you — wonders.
“Research shows that ideas and sparks of creativity occur when our minds are essentially at rest.”
  • Exercise — Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a magic cure-all, fountain of youth. Decades of research show that exercise reduces stress, increases productivity, improves memory, and now it may even prove to enhance creativity. How? Exercise stimulates Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), which encourages the growth of new brain cells within the hippocampus, the emotion and memory area of the brain. Research results show that exercising may help people “imagine new situations.” So, taking a little walk may aid in problem solving and give you new insights. Get up and go!
  • Expand Your Sources — Often designers have a mindset that they need to read, listen to, watch, and attend things that are strictly design-related. I say , “no way!” As a designer, you should seek inspiration from a myriad of sources and learn from eclectic disciplines: biology, psychology, geometry, etc. Nature is a major source of inspiration for me, and it never ceases to amaze me. Be curious and open to learning from a variety of sources; your work will be better as a result.
“As a designer, you should seek inspiration from a myriad of sources.”
  • Be Patient — Creativity and excellence take time. They also take learning and repetition. If you find yourself displeased with your work — give it time. If possible, start over, or put a project away for a bit. With time, we learn and grow. We can’t simply force ourselves to suddenly become a better in a matter of minutes or days. Be patient with yourself and realize that you will improve as a designer. Relax, take a deep breath, and be kind to yourself wherever you are right now. Love is the most important ingredient in a masterpiece — it’s also the most delicious.

And there you are! A few recommendations for recharging your creativity and design ability. Sometimes all you need is a little R&R to bring your A game.