How To Overcome Dark Days During Designing

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How many days have you been in search of a great idea but it seems a long time has passed by and still you haven’t figured out a solution to your problem?

You have been sitting on your drawing board for a long time but everything seems barren and the right idea never strikes

In fact, the inspiration for this blog came from my own experience of searching for alternate ways to boost creativity and overcome the common “dark days”.

Everyone today in creative professions, face this problem

After months of thinking your creative well seems to dry up faster

You mine deeper for that one top idea

Here are top 10 ways that can give you that creative push that you are desperately waiting for

Here are the top 3 skill loopholes we need to master

1. Dont quit

It happens many a times; things just don’t go our way

When the balloon of frustration starts to grow bigger, it bursts out to several negative questions

Self- doubt is definitely the first one to come out of all

Whether am i capable enough of doing Architecture even?

Is this the right field for me??

Should I make a quick flip switch?

This is not my cup of tea!

What would be the outcome of this rising self-doubt?

These are the similar questions I was getting too when I got into architecture as I had already flunked my NATA entrance exam before coming into architecture

Didn’t know even how to sketch and I’m into architecture

So long story short…

The only thing which I followed was not leaving the ring and taking a impulsive decision

The solution to this problem is very simple and that is TIME

Great things take time

Richard Branson didn’t become a millionaire overnight. Madonna was not an overnight success. David Beckham was not born a superstar footballer.

Just stay in the game and you will achieve some remarkable results

2. Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is the negative thoughts that you get about lack of competence as compared to others, following whatever good has happened is the result of sheer luck.

As humans, it is a built in habit in us, we see our problems and easily punish ourselves for bad behaviour

Poor performances catch fire quicker than the good performances

In short, it’s a mess of harmfulness.

It becomes difficult to internalize their success

There is an internal battle that is happening within, which is refraining us from performing.

Perfectionism is the one major root cause of this syndrome

Perfectionists set very high goals and when they fail to reach that goal, the imposter syndrome kicks in

Remember, Progression is more important than perfection

When you start progressing the perfection muscle in you will slowly and steadily develop

Ideas do not come out fully formed

They become clear only when you continue to work on them

Just think of how much time, Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi took to build and still it hasn’t completed.

3. Consistency

Consistency not always means the consistency of success but the consistent imperfect actions also will lead you to consistent success

When you start to design on your board not every part of your design will be good at first

The plan may look good and when the elevation is drawn it may not look that great

So in this process there will be numerous trials and revisions that you will have to go through for your design to get the desired output

Several trails and feedbacks will definitely land you to the right choice

The word consistency has a total different meaning in the language of design

I perceive this word slightly different than how the world perceives it

Someone has rightly said that you have to loose path to find one

Design is not about the final outcome but the process of imperfections which leads you to your desired result

Such massive imperfect steps will make you a good designer

You will exactly have the idea as time passes by as to what is not to be done

Very few articles, books, magazines etc. talk about the don’ts

There is no limit for the do’s

But the don’ts only act as your teachers to lead you to the “do’s”

Pro Tip – Whenever you face a creative block, just take a piece of paper and draw random patterns as shown in the image below and later try to colour it with different colours of your choice.

The repetitive drawing work along with the colours will relieve you from the bock.

4. Sources of inspiration

Inspiration is everywhere, not only in architecture and design but in cultural, social activities outside of your work

When you observe other architects work; when the style of designing is different than you imagined you will get to learn a new perspective and much more

List down the architects work who you admire the most

Try to observe and pick up patterns from their works

When you do this you will discover some repetitive patterns that are being followed

How they have solved the problem through a creative idea

In this process of study and observation when you see the solution to a problem being in the shoes of other designers, it will help in figuring out the solution to your problem

As often we see design through someone else’s mind first and then draw inspiration and interpret our way

5. Setting realistic goals

The idea of unrealism emerges mainly when we observe some other architects works and try to fit in their shoes

We start to take a lot of pressure of giving out the same output and at the same time being too ambitious with your goals which leads to burnout

But creativity is not a one size fit all game

Ultimately it boils down at individual ways of thinking

Instead, looking at the real picture will give a more realistic feel to the goals and boost self-confidence

It is rightly said that,

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

It is very difficult to get out of the superficial world

Sooner you get out of it greater it would be for you in the long run

6. Small chunks of work

Time and again research has proved that the attention span of human beings is decreasing day by day

The human mind cannot concentrate for long time on one task

It keeps switching and jumping on other different distractions

When you know that you have a submission and you got to complete the design of a COMPLETE project

The word complete itself makes you quit

It seems very large at first

Chunking down the task into smaller little tasks will help in more concentration

You will be able to give that undivided attention to your design

Chunking down improves productivity and efficiency

You can establish authority over your work

Tip – Plan your day in small chunks of 2.5 – 3 hrs of tasks and start practising it. Switching on task will maintain focus and break from the monotony of work.

7. Celebrate small success

Small wins will help you achieve big goals

They key to understand here is that we cannot achieve our goals in the next one hour or next month or even a year

In all of this we forget to acknowledge the small significant steps which we can take to get there

Celebrating small wins will create a spark of positivity in you and you rise with more confidence

Just for instance imagine a child getting enthusiastic to celebrate his small wins

Children get very excited even when someone hands them a chocolate

They are extremely happy with the chocolate and don’t hope for a Cadbury at that point of time

Instead just enjoy and live the moment

The chocolate may not be a great deal for us now but it is a small win for him

So bask in the victory of having achieved it and it will increase your level of happiness.

Just a metaphoric example to give regarding these small things is the Dairy Milk Cadbury advertisements which shows how the 70yr old grandpa finds happiness in a Cadbury even at this age

So here the old grandpa and a chocolate are the two metaphors that celebrate the small wins

8. Don’t force creativity

There is often a blockage created in the pipeline of creativity

Most of the times it is due to forcefulness

The moment you start forcing you stop being creative

We are so ego-driven that we forget creativity can’t be forced

Even after symbols from our brain we tend to force creativity

And that is when it completely switches off

Don’t be harsh on creativity

Perform anti-forceful activities

Applying the anti-force might help

Practise some mandala artwork; it would release the creative tension

Let your mind explore different creative territories

Your creative pipeline blockage will start to recover soon.

9. Take a break

When you sit in a closed room within four walls, sometimes it feels restricted on the brain.

So just get out of your workspace and take a scroll through nature or any public park

Seeing the greenery around your brain will feel refreshed and the dogma of your brain surrounded by nature will stimulate your senses and give you freedom.

The moments you break free, fresh thoughts begin to flow in gradually.

In fact, research has proved that our human eye needs nourishment from our daily work

Nourishment as less as looking at nature for 5mins after a continuous work of 2 hrs. can improve creativity to a larger extent

Remember Creativity is not limited to time and place

It is available in abundance everywhere and every time.


Each one of us has our own ways of getting to the finish line

These are the top 9 ways which I practise on a daily basis whenever I face the creative block

I would like to know, what are your ways of overcoming the dark days?

How do you overcome this hurdle?

Just let me know in the comments below

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