How to stay creative while working remotely

There are so many benefits to working from home – greater flexibility, more time with the friends or family you live with, no commuting… For many, it’s the ideal working environment.

But when it comes to creativity, living and working in the same place can take its toll. It can affect your concentration and make it difficult to come up with fresh ideas.

Here, the Sprintbase team – who have all been working remotely for years – share some of their tips for staying creative whilst working remotely.

Where possible, change up your environment

Being in the same room day in, day out can really suck your creative energy. Go and sit in an alternative spot with different stimuli around you, and you’ll find it easier to trigger new thoughts and ideas.

Talk to your colleagues

If you were working in an office as part of a team, the chances are that when you were struggling to get creative, you’d go and have a chat with a colleague, so make sure you do this from home too. Arrange a call, share your challenge, and get a fresh perspective.

Engage with things that inspire you

Whether you watch a great video, read a story, or listen to a podcast, engaging with other creative content will calm your mind and help you get inspiration for ways to tackle your challenge.

…and make a note of points you want to remember

If you want to hold onto something you’ve read about, make notes straight away. Or, even better, have a chat with somebody about what you’ve discovered. It’ll keep it fresh in your mind and help you start applying it to your own situation.

Find great ideas you can build on

Think about who you can borrow from. Are there writers you want to emulate? Designers whose style you want to try out? Presenters you’d like to channel? Don’t feel limited to your industry either – research throughout your areas of interest and see where you can take inspiration from.

Get some fresh air

Going outdoors does so much for your wellbeing. Step away from your laptop, get some exercise, and you’ll come back feeling more content and energetic. If you can, try working outside for a bit too. Surrounding yourself with different sights and sounds will make you feel brighter and revitalised.

Give yourself a deadline

This doesn’t work for everybody, but for lots of people the pressure of a deadline gets their creative juices flowing and forces them to dig deep for good ideas. It might be that feeling you have unlimited time to work on something is preventing you from really getting going, so give yourself a deadline to give you more structure.

When you can, build in time for ideas to percolate

Deadlines are good, but where you can, make sure they’re long enough that you allow time for ideas to develop subconsciously. It’s often when we relax and stop forcing ourselves to think about something that our ideas suddenly become clearest. If you can, build in time to sleep on an idea before you run with it, to see what else you might come up with.

Block out time so you won’t be disturbed

If you need time to think about something, make it clear in your calendar that you’re busy so others won’t disturb. You don’t want to be going down a great train of thought and then get a call that pulls you away from it.

Imagine you were someone else – what would they do?

Knowing you’ve got to present ideas you’ve worked on alone can feel daunting and fear can be a big barrier to creativity, so imagine what somebody you admire would do in your situation. If you were as bold as them, what might you suggest? What would you create if you weren’t worried about what anybody thought?

Work when you’re at your most creative

Are you a morning person or do you have your best ideas in the evening? Work out the optimum times for you and dedicate those hours to getting creative work done.

If you’re struggling to get going, work out why

If you feel like you’re having to force yourself to get going with a creative project then stop and ask yourself why – are you tired? Confused? Hungry? Distracted? Get to the source of the issue rather than pushing on regardless. And if you need to stop and start again later, do it.

Generate ideas your way

There’s no one way to brainstorm ideas. Make notes, draw pictures, use post-it notes, make a collage – whatever helps you get your thoughts down is the right way to do it.

Get enough rest

On a related note, you can’t expect your creative spark to stay alight if you’re exhausted. Get a good night’s sleep, take regular breaks, and go easy on yourself.

What else would you add? Join the conversation

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