Sometimes the harder we try to come up with a new idea or creative solution to a problem, the more elusive the answer becomes. What are some ways to work through a mental block and get your productivity jumpstarted again?

Completely step away from the problem.

Drop the pressure of having to find a solution right now and do something else. Take a hike. Go to a movie. Head out for a drive. Take a nap. Visit with friends. Whatever you choose, let your mind wander and just enjoy what you’re doing. By taking your focus off of finding a solution, one may spontaneously present itself.

Tap into the ideas of those around you.

Maybe you’ve gotten into a rut and unknowingly tend to look at things with the same approach or perspective. Ask your staff, your spouse, a friend, a neighbor, anyone outside the situation for their input. A fresh idea might be sparked by someone unfamiliar with the issue. Even if that person only asks questions to clarify what you’re looking for, that alone may help you think about the problem in a new way.

Do something physical.

Put your brain on hiatus and get your muscles in motion. That boost of exercise-induced endorphins may be just what you need to trigger a fresh idea. You’ll also get a physical release from the mental stress of what’s challenging you.

Remember what worked.

Now that you’re out of your slump, write down the strategies that got you through the process. Mental road blocks are bound to pop up again, so knowing the specific tactics that help get your creative juices flowing can make the next dry spell shorter. While creative slumps may be inevitable at times, with a little insight you’ll know what to do to get to the other side.


Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. She can be contacted at