Dead Space

We all have them – those days where it feels like your imagination shrugs its metaphorical shoulders, gives you an apologetic half-grin, and heads to Fiji. You’re stuck – you can’t engage with your work, or generate new ideas. Douglas Adams described it best: The Long, Dark Tea-time of the Soul. Here are a few tips to help you endure.

  • Set the bar low – this isn’t going to last forever, so don’t be your worst enemy. Populate your to-do list with tasks that don’t require a lot of creativity, but still make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. You have them – clearing your inbox, weeding files, shelf reading. Basic housekeeping tasks that on your best days are not worthy of you are perfect for now.


  • Work your network – your imagination may be on hiatus, but you know lots of lively, interesting people. Go talk to them. Book a coffee with your mentor or protégé. Have lunch with a favourite client or colleague. DO NOT whine about your problems – instead, ask them about what they’re working on. Absorb their energy. Ask questions. Be inspired.


  • Read – now’s the time to wade through the stack of professional publications and the backlog of blogs that has been accumulating. Personally, I avoid overly academic journals – I want something more sprightly and energizing. The Harvard Business Review blogs, TechCrunch, Bored Panda – all of these can be sources of inspiration. Don’t spend the whole day with text, but an hour or so may present you with some ideas worth exploring when your own creative juices are flowing again.


  • Move – go to the gym, get outside, do something physical. Perhaps the blood which should be circulating through your brain has pooled lower down. Get your heart pumping.

Editors note: This research tip was shared by Wendy Reynolds. I love Wendy’s suggestion to use dead space to read – keep up with that pile of current awareness material. Thanks for sharing this Wendy.


  1. I use Slaw for that purpose …

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