What to do on the days you feel uninspired

First, remember that feeling creatively uninspired is a lot like feeling you had too much to eat for your last meal. The feeling will undoubtedly subside and you’ll find yourself hungry for new ideas again. So don’t beat yourself up.

Albert Einstein would often have bouts of procrastination. Earnest Hemingway was notorious for battling feelings of being uninspired. Ask any artist, writer, inventor, or musician you know if they sometimes feel uninspired. The answer will, without a doubt, be yes.

Feeling uninspired can mean a few things.

Perhaps you’re tired, in either a physical sense or a cognitive one or both. When your brain is running on fumes it’s not going to burn what little energy you’ve got for anything other than pulling the levers needed just to get through the day. In this case, find time to rest. Or do what Elon Musk does when he’s feeling burned out: read or play video games.

Of course, maybe you’ve fallen into the trap of routine and need to break out of it through sheer force. You’ve gotten too comfortable. The television won’t stop pulling at your attention. You’ve seen all there is to see and done everything you can possibly think of that’s worth doing. In this case it’s best to surprise yourself by doing something either knowingly crazy (in a silly/playful sense of the word) or by doing something you’d never do. If you’re really feeling uninspired due to routine, it can be helpful to solicit the help of a friend, who can pull you out of your stickiness and into something inspiring of their own.

The difference between the two is difficult to tell: are you too tired or too involved in routine? How do you determine which way out is right for you? I like to take the route of always opting for more rest. If a lack of energy wasn’t the culprit for your feelings of being uninspired, at least after a nap or night of sleep you’ll have more energy to dedicate for shaking the shackles of routine.