Downtime, need inspiration

Hey all, you ever feel all tapped out of creativity? Well that’s me right now.
Having some downtime while trying to find more clients and I’m not feeling inspired to create random things for my portfolio.
Send me your muses!

take a walk or a ride outside … I get all sorts of ideas from good old Mother Nature :slight_smile:


I second RKK’s suggestion. Getting away from my desk and exercise is super helpful. For me, that’s usually hiking or getting out on my road bike or mountain bike. The art museum is always a good option, too. Soaking in the beauty and creativity. Probably the worse thing you can do is look at design blogs, design books, other people’s design work, etc.


I agree with the others; go outside. Take the dog for a walk, or and just find a place to sit and watch (actually watch) the world go by. It doesn’t matter if it is in the countryside or the city. These days I have a rock in my top garden with amazing views. I’ll just sit and watch the buzzards catching thermals, but when I was in London, I used to just sit at a tube station and people-watch for half an hour. Surprisingly calming.

For me, the trick, however you achieve it, is to let your mind wander.

I also find an hour of playing bass does it – either just practicing a particular technique, or going over and over a part of a song you need to perfect. Firstly you achieve something musically, but more importantly, it resets your head and gets it out of the tunnel. Often, I find by doing repetitive practice, my head naturally just starts wandering. You don’t have to play bass, of course. Any instrument will do – well perhaps not the bagpipes!. Music, itself, opens up creative pathways – though probably not for those within earshot of me!

The other thing I’ll do sometimes, is take an hot bath or shower (a bath is better for this though), then go for a siesta. Again, it’s a head restart. All the the things you’ve been struggling with, your conscious mind stops thinking about, allowing your subconscious to have a go. Meditation and mindfulness can help as well, but that, like playing an instrument, takes practice.

Finally, a beer and belly laugh with your mates can do the trick just as well.

In almost any other profession, that would be list of work avoidance techniques. I love this job that sometimes allows you to go to sleep for a living! How good is that?!

Yes! I envy those who have urban environs nearby. Just a few blocks’ walk, or even just standing on a busy city street always changes my mindset in one way or another; so much to see and smell, so much to observe and absorb. It’s such a great way to shift gears and get thoughts moving in another direction. A more rural setting can be good too, but not in quite the same way, for me anyhow.

Can’t say this is a bad idea.

I’d also go for a power nap. Works wonders for my coconut.

Distractions also help your sub-conscience (otherwise know as The Force).

1 Like

I am a big fan of naps. One of the benefits of working from home. Not that I’m lazy or sleep all afternoon. But a 20 or 30 minute nap can do wonders some times.


Thank you for all the suggestions. As a baby freelancer, I’d like to know … how do you avoid the guilt of “not working” when you are clearing your head? I already feel like I’m not doing enough, not working hard enough.I know that creative endeavors require this sort of thing, but I feel like such a slacker! What are your thoughts on this? thanks so much

This is called Return on Investment. You’re only a slacker if it doesn’t work.

It is far more of a slack if you keep going down the same blind alley and not coming up with anything. You’re supposed to be a creative. Be creative. Over the years, you learn the best ways to get your own head in the right place for you. Everyone’s different, so the more you do it, the quicker you will find what suits you and the less downtime you’ll have. Not that it is really down time. Do you think mathematicians spend their whole time working on calculus to solve a problem. No; they go away and think about the problem, then come back and do the nuts and bolts of the calculus bit.

I knew someone who worked at Bletchley Park during the war. They said Turing used to take his coffee every morning by the lake and was not to be disturbed. Without that ‘downtime’ he’d have probably never had the insights that allowed him to break the enigma code.

Let yourself off the hook and go free your head. After all, ideas are your stock in trade and if you don’t work out how to free your head enough to have them, you’ll soon go out of business.

1 Like

I used to work freelance and I would avoid the guilt of ‘not working’ by doing something else productive. Doing my accounts / archiving job files / baking bread / cleaning up ( I worked from home). Phoning up clients ‘for a chat’ would foster business relationships even if it is just to moan about not being busy.

1 Like

©2019 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook