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Unplugged creativity: the benefits of a screen break

Written by Hannah
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Screens are everywhere you look in today’s world – whether that is a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop or a TV they help to keep us connected with colleagues and clients, we are entertained by the content we see on them and they are essentially our shop window as digital marketers. While these screens offer countless benefits and opportunities, they can also hinder one important aspect of human expression: creativity. In this blog, we’ll explore the value of stepping away from screens to unlock your creative potential.

Digital connectivity makes it easy to find ourselves in a continuous cycle of screen time. Whether it’s working on projects, scrolling through social media, or binge-watching the latest series, screens demand a significant chunk of our waking hours. While these activities offer instant gratification and information at our fingertips, they also limit the space for deep introspection and creativity.

The Creative Block

Have you ever felt stuck while trying to come up with a new idea or solve a problem? This phenomenon, commonly known as a “creative block,” can be frustrating and discouraging. Interestingly, research suggests that spending too much time staring at screens can contribute to this feeling of being creatively stagnant.

Constant screen exposure can lead to cognitive fatigue and a narrowed focus, restricting our ability to think outside the box. The influx of information and stimuli from screens can overwhelm our brains, leaving little room for the kind of expansive thinking that creativity thrives on.

The Digital Deluge

Stepping away from screens doesn’t mean cutting yourself off from the world entirely, of course, we cannot do that, we’re digital marketers remember! Instead, it’s about introducing techniques that can stimulate your mind, spark your imagination and help manage your time more efficiently. 

Here are a few ways to do that within your working day:

Put pen to paper

Ever find yourself at the beginning of a project clicking around from source to source – from Pinterest tab to competitor website to client website then back again?! Putting pen to paper at the start of a project can act as a complete brain dump. These ideas are completely unique, they’re just from your brain and should give you a starting point and narrative that is easy to follow because it came from YOU!

Chat it through

Talking with a colleague or friend, is sometimes better than googling or sitting trying to find a nugget of inspiration within a client brief.  Discussing an idea or the skeleton of a project with someone separate from the subject may unblock any barriers in your head. It will encourage you to consider things from a different perspective. Taking the time to explain and articulate the project to someone else often results in you answering your own questions without realising you’re doing so. Either way, this is definitely a great way to inspire new ideas and get your creative juices flowing again. 

Take a walk

If you come up against a creative block during the working day. Take a walk outside at lunch. Spending time in nature without the distractions of screens can provide a much-needed mental reset. Being in the outdoors allows your mind to wander and you will return to your desk with new ideas and creative solutions.

Reduce the noise

Not physical noise… digital noise. This means the number of screens, tabs, and notifications. I’m a serious culprit of this… as I write this I have 4 screens in my eye line: Straight ahead – My desktop screen with this blog document on it, below – My iPad – which shows today’s to-do list, to the left – my laptop, with Slack and Spotify open, and just to the side on my desk – my phone below… which lights up now and then with a ring doorbell notification!

GET RID. If you’re struggling with a mental or creative block, give yourself a chance. Turn off notifications and focus on one thing at a time. 

If you spend all day and all week looking at a screen because again (it’s kind of our job) here are some ideas for further screen detoxes in your time outside of work:

Artistic Pursuits

Engage in activities like drawing, painting, or crafting. These activities not only foster creativity but also offer a break from the digital world.

Turn your phone off

You could do that… or if that’s too much, try placing it outside the bedroom whilst you sleep so it’s not the first thing you look at in the morning. This will allow your brain to switch off from the exhausting effects of forever being online and feeling we have to respond to or view everything the moment we see that little red blob.

Reading Physical Books

Swap out e-books for physical copies. The tactile experience of flipping through pages can deepen your connection with the content and open up your mind to new perspectives.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help quiet the noise of the digital world, allowing your mind to wander freely and tap into creative reservoirs.

The Benefits of Unplugging 

Enhanced creativity

Stepping away from screens enables your mind to wander, leading to unconventional connections between ideas and a surge in creative thinking.

Improved mental well-being

Reducing screen time can alleviate stress, anxiety, and digital fatigue, contributing to overall mental well-being.

Better focus and productivity

Spending time away from screens can improve your ability to focus on tasks and increase your overall productivity.

The Digital Life Sweet Spot 

We know screens are not the enemy – they offer unparalleled access to information, connectivity, and entertainment. The key lies in striking a balance between screen time and moments of off-screen creativity, connection and reflection.

By consciously carving out time to unplug from screens, you’re opening the door to a world of untapped creative potential. So, the next time you feel stuck in a creative rut or overwhelmed by the digital noise, consider stepping away from your screens and embracing some of those other experiences and ideas we’ve explored which will hopefully help in breaking down the creative block. 

When it comes to reeling off exciting ideas for marketing campaigns we’re experts and we’d love to help you out get in touch with us.

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