How To: Stay Creative When Facing Deadlines

If you are a designer, a writer, an artist or in any creative field, then you’ve been in the situation where you’ve had to be creative while at the same time, trying to meet deadlines. You also know that sometimes it is a very real challenge not to go creatively bankrupt in that process.

I deal with this type of pressure every week. I have writing deadlines with clients and even with this blog that sometimes throw me into a creative tailspin. In my opinion, handling this kind of situation is truly an art form that is developed through experience.

Some people suggest that a way to deal with this is to get away from it for a while. But, since writing is my passion, getting away from it only makes me want to get back to it, so that does not always work for me.

“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.”

I have developed my own personal 4 part formula for staying creative when under pressure, and it works for me every single time, no exceptions. I will share it with you in hopes that it might help you when you are in this situation.

1. Recognize early on that you are getting stressed and handle it before it gets out of control. For me, I notice this because I start holding my breath. I know, it’s silly, but I do. Holding your breath is a subconscious way the body tells your brain that something is wrong. This will start to happen before you are stressed out, so if you can catch it when it starts to happen, you can address it before you get into full on stressed out mode.

2. Communicate with a friend that is also trying to be creative under pressure. When we have writing deadlines here at Bit Rebels, my fellow rebels, @Mistygirlph and @Minervity start to get DMs from me touching base because just a quick communication with someone on the same wave length can do wonders. You’ll immediately remember to lighten up and not to take yourself so seriously.

3. Stay in an inspired state of mind. To me, being inspired is a choice, similar to being happy. It comes from within and is not dependent on external things. I had a close friend tell me once that he is inspired by a closing door, pouring tea, his little girl’s smile. That is what inspiration is all about, noticing the the everyday things around us in a different way, like we’ve never seen them before.

4. Shift into hyper-focus mode. When trying to stay creative while trying to meet deadlines, transition from trying to manage time to trying to manage distractions instead. With a little practice, you’ll be able to shift into hyper-focus mode where you shut off every distraction around you and just focus on what you are trying to create.

You don’t hear noises around you, you don’t hear people talking to you, you don’t even notice the music streaming into your headphones, all of the energy in your body is targeted into one bulls eye – and that is to complete the task as creatively as possible. If you can tap into this hyper-focus zone, you can move mountains.

Being in hyper-focus mode is like concentration on steroids. It’s an incredible state of mind. It almost feels like you are adding a new dimension to your thoughts and feelings. If you are unfamiliar with this, I encourage you to google it and check it out.

I would like to give credit to for the great main image in this post. Her photostream is one of my favorites on Flickr. Please check it out!

This is a great video that talks about how designers can stay creative.