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Have a Change of SceneryIf you have found yourself staring at the same spot of your office wall instead of concentrating on your latest project, why not have a change of scenery. You could get some fresh air and work in your backyard or on a porch or balcony. This may provide the change of atmosphere you need to revitalize your creativity.
If this is not possible or doesn’t work for you, why not try working from a local coffee shop or your neighborhood park. This will provide some opportunities for people watching and new inspiration to reignite your creative spark. At the very least, this will allow you a time out from your desk and make you feel more positive when you return.
Do Something DifferentIf you are finding that you are spending the entire day at your computer and you are losing focus and concentration, you will probably benefit from taking a break. While the temptation is to jump on the internet and spend some time on social media or surfing, do something different. Move away from your computer to do another form of activity.
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The choice of alternative activity is limitless. Take time out to enjoy cooking a meal for your family, spend half an hour coloring with the children or tend to your houseplants or garden. Doing a physical activity, rather than the mental challenges of using a computer will give your brain a rest and rejuvenate your mood and creativity.
Start a Pet ProjectWe all have an idea for a personal project that we long to complete someday. So, if you are struggling to grasp your creative sparkle, it is just the right time to start your pet project. You will discover you can gain a huge boost in creativity, when you are working on something that you have been imagining completing. This could be something small like reorganizing the space in your office, through to starting that best-selling novel that you always wanted to write. Any project ideas that you feel passionate about will get that creative spark igniting. Start working on your new idea and let the ideas and energy build, this will then spill back into your work project and you’ll be eager to get back to work.
Get Some ExerciseThis can be the most challenging activity when you are feeling low, but it can also provide the biggest boost. Exercise is well-known for providing a boost to your energy levels and sense of well-being. So this will boost your creativity, health and positivity.
If you lack the motivation to leave the house and go for a jog or a bike ride, why not exercise at home and do some yoga or Pilates. If you already have a regular exercise routine, why not change it around a little, so if you usually run on a treadmill switch to an outside run, or if you usually exercise outdoors why not try a swim instead. Any activity which will get you moving will be good for your body and your creativity.
Analyze Why Your Creativity is WaningTake a moment to stop what you are doing and work out if there is a reason behind your decreased creativity. Is there an aspect of your project which you are not comfortable with? Are you feeling pressure or stress from something? Have you got something on your mind which is worrying you?
Once you have analyzed why you are struggling with your creativity, you can take some positive action to remedy the situation. Sometimes, simply realizing that you are worrying about an upcoming appointment or feeling stressed by your schedule not working correctly, will provide enough relief to correct the issue and allow you to fully concentrate on the job in hand.
Take a NapIf you don’t usually have a problem with a lack of creativity, a nap may be just what you need for a recharge. Spend a minute thinking about your routine over the few weeks to work out if you have been getting to bed later or not getting your usual amount of sleep. If this is the case, then you may benefit from a nap.
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A nap can take anything from fifteen minutes up to a couple of hours; this will depend on the time of day and what your body actually requires. If a nap is not possible, then try to go to bed earlier for a few nights to catch up on your missed sleep. After a couple of days, you should feel better and have recovered your creative sparkle.
Seek Help From Your PeersThis could be in the form of collaboration on a particular project through to having a chat with someone who understands your field. Loneliness can stifle creativity, so interacting with another person can provide a boost to your creative idea flow. Remember that not all projects are the same, so if it is a particular project which has you stuck for ideas, you may need someone for a sounding board or to help with the idea flow.
Take Time for LaughterLaughter can be a great medicine for a number of ills including waning creativity. Take a little time to enjoy something that makes you laugh and it can give you a real boost. This could be watching an episode of your favorite comedy show, through to watching the family dog chasing his shadow. Whatever makes you laugh will help you relax and revive your creative spark.
Share a tip with your fellow freelancers – what do you usually do to stay creative while working from home?
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Best Beginner ResourcesA Practical Guide to Designing for the Web (HTML + PDF) – Mark Boulton
This would be your go-to design manual for graphic design theory applied to the world wide web. You’ll find it on more than one recommendation lists and the reason is its conciseness and readability. This eBook is available directly online and takes you through the differences of traditional design process versus web design process, after which you’ll learn about the importance of research, typography, color and layout.
Head First HTML and CSS (PDF) – Eric & Elisabeth Freeman
Are you completely new to the HTML game? Then you’re part of the target readership of this fun beginner’s guide that features a FAQ section titled ‘There are no dumb questions‘ almost every time it approaches a specific topic. Also, don’t expect mounds of text and boorish tones. It’s filled with examples, imagery and exercises for you to put in practice.
Learning Web Design (PDF) – Jennifer Niederst Robbins
Another beginner’s guide that covers a lot of ground, starting from what the term web design actually means and how different people could use the term for different sets of skills, ranging from graphic design to programming and detailing further on each of them. The book moves on to teach you about all the stages of website-building, so that you can master the skills to get your design work up and running.
The Principles of Beautiful Web Design (PDF) – Jason Beaird
An in-depth look at the artistic side of web design is what this book’s aiming to offer – and it succeeds. Out of all the design resources out there, how many have you seen actually taking you through the psychology of colour? The book includes chapters on layout, textures, typography and imagery, each with arguments and examples of what to do and how to do it so that the finished product looks appealing and well-crafted.
Advanced Web Design & Specific TopicsAn Advanced Guide to Web Design (HTML) – Shay Howe
Expanding on the beginner’s guide written by the same author (which you can also check out), this advanced edition is available entirely free online and brings you up to speed with responsive web design, an aspect which came to be increasingly important once people got to know and extensively use mobile platforms. The eBook is easy to read, enriched with illustrated examples and most definitely one to keep in mind.
Dive Into HTML5 (HTML) – Mark Pilgrim
You may have heard of Mark Pilgrim before this introduction, he is a well-known developer and free software advocate with quite a few eccentricities. Back to the topic at hand, he started a project that has been continued by a community of followers regarding HTML 5, its uses and proper integration in the web design process.
The Essential Guide to User Interface – Wilbert O. Galitz: A book that covers both GUI and Web User Interface, with characteristics, comparisons and best design practices for both. It is largely theoretical, but proves useful if you are looking to understand the human elements that need to be taken into accountfor the end result to be an excellent user interface design. This willmore than likely do wonders for the website you may be planning to build.
If you’re looking for more resources on typography, we recommend you read The Elements of Typographic Style for the Web (HTML) and Type Classification (PDF). The subject will have been covered if you go through some of the above suggestions, but when you need to review specifics, these two eBooks will come handy.
Performance & CreativityHow to Motivate Creative People (Including Yourself) (HTML + PDF) – Mark McGuinness
If you’re an experienced web designer, you know that sometimes you’ll be able to take care of some projects on your own, while in other cases you will have to work with a small team of people. Whatever’s the case, reading this book will help you understand the different types of motivations people experience and how the relationship between motivation and creativity unfolds.
The Design Funnel: A Manifesto for Meaningful Design (PDF) – Stephen Hay
You might have noticed how hard it seems to innovate in the world of web design. There are a lot of copy-cats out there and you could say that lack of talent accounts for them. What if it’s not so much talent at fault, but a lack of creativity, induced by unquestioned, repetitive work processes? Stephen Hay expands on this idea and suggests a particular order in which to approach a project so that every finished design product showcases its own spirit, adapted to its purposes.
More Time Now: Time Management Made Simple Again (PDF) – Dave Navarro
A fun read on time-wasting behaviors that each of us needs to acknowledge and quit enabling. Redefine your understanding of time management and start making things happen with a few tweaks added here and there to your work schedule.
What Matters Now (PDF) – Seth Godin
This book doesn’t cover any specific topic, but rather joins a lot of people’s (successful bloggers, entrepreneurs, best-selling authors) thoughts on simple notions such as empathy, productivity, enrichment, vision and so on. You could say it’s an unconventional dictionary, while all of its ‘definitions’ lead back to the creative-business world to some extent. All in all, an essential read that’s likely to leave you thinking.
Business & FreelancingWeb Designer’s Success Guide (HTML + PDF) – Kevin Airgid
With a straightforward subtitle, namely How to profit from freelance web design, this little gem will take you through freelancing and self-employment step-by-step. There are many details left untouched by most titles covering freelancing, maybe because they seem difficult to pin down in a general form. We’re talking about little things, such as deciding how much to charge for your services, possible mistakes you could make in relation to your clients (case studies), but also a dedicated interest to what your home office should be like in terms of furniture and hardware.
How To Be Creative (PDF) – Hugh MacLeod
A very honest and thus valuable eBook on integrating creativity in the grand scheme of your professional life. Not so much referring to work methods, How To Be Creative discusses which compromises you might have to take in your creative pursuits, as well as those you’ll have to avoid, how you can’t be a professionally creative person without taking responsibility for what you do, why all of us are different and how damaging it is to fail to see that. It’s a personal and professional development book that we undoubtedly recommend, complete with a series of wonderful cartoons drawn by the author himself.
Personal Branding for the Business Professional (PDF) – Chris Brogan
The basics of personal branding are covered in this concise 15-page eBook. Chris has put together more than a few useful points on a topic which some freelancers really struggle with. Promoting yourself may come to you easily, but it’s likely you’re not focused on it, especially if you’re starting out.And this would be the time it matters most –the more established you get, the less you have to invest in your branding strategy.
What are some of your favorite web design eBooks? Have you picked up a specific skill exclusively by using this sort of book and what was it? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below.
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