The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Productivity

Creative Fire

So you’re all burned out of ideas?

Keep pushing, and you’ll find you’ve got more inside you than you believed possible. As William James once said:

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.

How can you get fired up again? What can you do to find your second wind?

1. Make It Into a Game

So you need to create content on a particular topic, but you feel like everything’s been written before?

Then come at it from a new angle. *”But I don’t have an angle!”*

You don’t need to find the angle. Let someone (or something) else find it for you.

Head over to the random idea generator. It’ll give you a word or a symbol. You can use this as your jumping off point. See, now you’ve got an angle.

Easier than you thought, right?

2. Head Outdoors

Artificial light boosts the levels of the hormone cortisol in your body.

Cortisol causes stress.

When you’re blocked for ideas, it’s stressful. And a stressed mind is a blocked mind. It’s a downward spiral.

Only by backing off can you release your creative flow. A really simple way of doing this is heading outside. If you’re stuck in an office, at least head over to a window for some natural light.

The other great thing about getting outside is that you’ll move your body. Exercise, like natural light, helps to encourage feel-good hormones. The better you feel, the easier you’ll find it to be creative.

3. Treat Your Obstacles as Puzzles

Instead of looking at your block as a problem, see it as a puzzle to be solved. It’s showing you the way forward. As Ryan Holiday puts it, “the obstacle is the way.”

In other words, keep fighting! You’ll only discover what you’re capable of if you refuse to let your obstacles defeat you. Here’s Ryan Holiday again:

The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.

Of all the possible strategies for dealings with difficulties, this is the one you can always use. Everything can be flipped, seen with this kind of gaze: a piercing look that ignores the package and sees only the gift.

How Do You Deal with Creative Blocks?

Do you back off? Let them defeat you? Or do you keep pushing? What have you found is the best way through (or around) your blocks?

Newbie Blogger

Newbie bloggers, look away now. You don’t need to know this. You’re a babbling brook of sparkling innocence.

That’s a great way to be. Keep those wonder-goggles on for as long as you can.

And as for the rest of us, who have been in this game longer that we’d like to admit?

Experienced bloggers and business owners always have a ton to say to newbies. We like to believe we know it all. We’ve conquered the jungle, earned our stripes.

But maybe, just maybe, we can learn a thing or two from newbie bloggers.

What do newbie bloggers know that’s all too easy to forget once you’ve been fighting in the ring for a while?

(I know, I know, you weren’t born yesterday. Neither was I. Stay with me on this one).

Getting Ahead Isn’t Everything

Yes, if you’re a business owner, it’s vital that your business survives and even thrives.

But you don’t need to be at the head of the pack to do good work.

It’s good to do things for sheer, unadulterated joy. Follow your heart. Drop your ulterior motives and just have fun.

Instead of creating content to draw a crowd, write something that makes your heart sing. Do it because it makes you feel alive.

I don’t know about you, but feeling alive is way more important than having a piece of content go viral. (Although that feels pretty good, too.)

People Are Made of Stardust

The good folks over at the Institute of Physics confirm that stardust is what we’re all made of, saying, “It sounds like a line from a poem, but there is some solid science behind this statement” (perhaps not realising that it is a line from a poem).

We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made, as the good book says. We’re all human beings with blood pumping through our veins, with our own hopes, fears, and dreams.

Sure, other people can help you up the ladder. But remember that they’re people, and it can be just as fun to sit back and enjoy their company.

There’s stardust and magic all around. Don’t forget that.

Stats Aren’t Everything

Tracking your numbers is where it’s at if you’re serious about blogging and social media. You see what works and do more of it.

But stats aren’t everything. Chase numbers too far, and you can lose sight of why you started blogging in the first place.

Remember to take time to tune into what matters to you. Blogging is about finding the balance between doing what you care about and doing what gets clicks.

Speaking of numbers…

Small Is Beautiful

Building up a huge tribe of followers is great for your business. We’d never discourage it.

But small is beautiful, too. You don’t need a big community to have great discussions. In fact, having too many people talking can get in the way of conversation.

When you only have a handful of followers, you can get to know all of them in-depth.

Even if you’re a superstar who’s always in the spotlight, you need a small community of friends you can trust and who have always got your back.

So don’t just use social media to fuel your marketing or as an ego boost. Get out there and talk to people. Join Google Plus communities and Twitter chats. Have fun!

You Don’t Need All the Answers to Do Good Work

Blogging’s a journey. Newbie bloggers don’t always know a great deal about the topic they’ll be writing about. They figure, “I can learn by writing.” And their fresh eyes give them a unique perspective.

When you’ve been blogging on a subject for several years, you can start to feel like you should know all the answers. Many of your readers will hold you to that impossible standard.

The truth is, no one knows everything. We’re all still on the blogging journey, and we’re all learning every day.

Remember, you don’t need to know all the answers to do good work. And often you’ll do your best work when you’re stretching yourself, when you’re learning and exploring.

And while you’re out exploring, remember…

It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

Truth is, if you’re learning and growing you will make mistakes.

Make avoiding failure your aim, and you’ll avoid doing anything. In other words, you’ve got two options:

  • Fail forward; or
  • Stand still (and stagnate)

There’s no point in making mistakes for the sake of it. Once you’ve learned from your mistakes, don’t repeat them. But remember to keep experimenting.

Dream Big!

When you start out as a blogger, anything seems possible. You’ll build up a huge tribe, write an eBook series, blog every day, and become the go-to expert in your niche.

Yeah, riiiiight. Right? Well, maybe.

It’s not always possible to do everything you want. But without big dreams to drive you forward, you’ll stay stuck where you are. Dreams are the fuel for your soul. They’re what get out of bed in the morning and give you your mojo.

If your blog or business is growing and you want to take it to the next level, you can always hire help. Admitting you can’t do everything yourself is part of making your dreams happen.

Curiosity Matters

Curiosity is the opposite of cynicism.

Cynicism says: “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”

Curiosity says: “That was a pretty cool t-shirt. I wonder what would happen if I went there again?”

Curiosity keeps your heart open and pushes you to constantly challenge yourself.

So drop your cynicism and stay curious. You never know where you’ll arrive when you start chasing rainbows.

Newbie Bloggers: What do You Think?

If you kept reading, well you’re here now. So let us know your thoughts in the comments. What would you say experienced bloggers can learn from you?

Productivity Tips

Have you tried all the usual productivity tips only to find yourself still procrastinating?

Or no matter how awesome your day goes, your to-do list still seems never-ending?

We know that road, too.

So we decided to see how the best marketers in the world stay productive. What do they really do that makes a difference?

Here’s what we found. We hope you’re as surprised and inspired by these unique tips as we were.

1. Ask the Naive Question

Jay Cross“If we weren’t already doing it this way, is this the way we would start?”

The beauty of this question is that it forces you to ignore everything other than results. If you discover a better way to do something (earn more money, land a dream job, graduate college) then “but we’ve always done X” should not stop you. The Naive Question establishes a Darwinian selection process where only the best ideas survive.

Jay Cross, The psychology of putting effectiveness before ego.

Jay Cross is the creator of the Do-It-Yourself Degree. Follow Jay on Twitter here.

2. Have a “Be the Best” Daily List

Natalie SissonCall it what you want, I’m talking about a short list of actions you undertake every day (or at least attempt to achieve 80% of the time) that will make all the difference to your client work and effectiveness.

This list should contain key tasks that move you closer to your goal of making more money, getting more clients or being happier and successful.

Natalie Sisson, How to Squeeze the Most out of Every Day.

Natalie Sisson is the founder of The Suitcase Entrepreneur. Follow Natalie on Twitter here.

3. Create a “Click!-Whirr” Ritual

James ChartrandOur brains have built-in, automatic responses to fixed-action patterns activated by trigger features. That means if something triggers our pattern, we run through a sequence of behaviours as predictable as snow in the Arctic.

Here’s an example: Every day, I follow the same, fixed routine. I wake up. I grab a cup of coffee. I sit at the kitchen island and read my email. I wake up my daughter and get her ready for school – iCarly, cereal, clothes, prepare her lunch, brush her hair, walk her to the bus stop. I walk back, breathing deep, feeling grateful and thinking only about the writing task I’ve chosen to work on when I arrive home.

I refill my coffee, sit down and – “click!-whirr” – hit the keyboard.

James Chartrand, How to Write Massive Quantities on Demand.

James Chartrand is a copywriter, blogger, and founder of Men with Pens. Follow James on Twitter here.

4. Have a Master Purpose

Jay Abraham

But this can all be accomplished just by changing strategy.

Strategy is the master purpose your business is all about. It’s different than your business model. Strategy is the explanation of the entire operating approach your business is following and why and how every element of it integrates, advances, and contributes to the big-picture outcome that you’re after.

Jay Abraham, The Easiest and Fastest Way to Transform Your Business.

Jay Abraham is a direct response marketer and founder of the Abraham Group. Follow Jay on Twitter here.

5. Decide and Do

Seth GodinDecide what you’re going to do next, and then do it. Make good decisions about what’s next and you thrive.

Seth Godin, Redefining Productivity.

Seth Godin is an author, marketer, and entrepreneur. Follow Seth on Twitter here.

6. Timer + Goof Time

Sonia SimoneThe most important tool on my desk isn’t my laptop, my complicated GTD-based next action list, my phone (on which I spend more time than I like), or even my fancy fountain pen collection.

It’s my timer.

I work in 50-minute chunks, followed by 10 minutes of goof time.

The goof time is really important when you’re doing creative, difficult work.

Your brain needs time to play and rest and have a good time, or it won’t work for you when you need it. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I hang out with the cat, sometimes I just walk in circles. Under no circumstances do I do anything productive.

Sonia Simone, How to Get Any Work Done (When Connecting Is Your Job).

Sonia Simone is chief content officer at Copyblogger Media. Follow Sonia on Twitter here.

7. Don’t Panic If You’re Not a Superhero

Tim FerrissMost “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.

Tim Ferriss, “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me).

Tim Ferriss is author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Follow Tim on Twitter here.

8. Set Aside Sacred Time

Michael HyattI don’t take early morning appointments. Ever. I rarely take breakfast appointments. My hours from 4:45 to 8:00 are sacred. I don’t allow them to get interrupted by anything other than the occasional flight—which I loathe. Fortunately, they only happen once or twice a year.

Michael Hyatt, How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day.

Michael Hyatt is author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Follow Michael on Twitter here.

9. Keep Your To-Do List Short

Matthew KimberleyYour to-do list will end up demolishing your productivity if it’s not handled carefully. Every small thing that needs to be dealt with gets listed on your small list. Your small list becomes a big list and you realize you’ll never make a meaningful dent in it.

Ensure that you have no more han three important things on your to-do list every day. It doesn’t mean that business as usual comes to an end: you’ve still got to pay your bills, answer your emails and buy your groceries, but you don’t need to put them on a list of things to make you feel sick every time you look at it.

Matthew Kimberley, How To Be Really F***ing Productive.

Mathew Kimberley is author of How to Get a Grip. Follow Matthew on Twitter here.

10. Use Your Head

Brian ClarkI can keep a whole lot in my head until it’s ready to come out. This is both a blessing and a curse, but it’s always worked for me.

Brian Clark, Here’s How Brian Clark Writes.

Brian Clark is the founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Follow Brian on Twitter here.

Over to You

Which of these tips did you find most helpful? Let us know in the comments. Also, why not head over to Twitter and say thank you to the person who gave the tip? You’ll brighten his or her day and build a new connection.