Download: MP3 (1.4 MB)

If you’re feeling stuck creatively, it’s simply because you’ve given yourself too much freedom.

We think freedom produces creativity, but really it paralyzes us.

When there are infinite possibilities and too many options to choose from, we feel overwhelmed.

The solution is impose constraints on yourself.

  • Limit your options.
  • Reduce the tools at your disposal.
  • Give yourself less time.

When you have fewer options, tools, or time, you’re forced to move forward.

In other words, if you’re having trouble thinking outside the box, it’s probably because you don’t have a well-defined box to start with.

I’m on a sabbatical right now (my team takes off every seventh week). I knew I needed to record a mini sabbatical episode for the podcast and I was feeling overwhelmed. I realized it was because I’d given myself too much freedom. There were too many possibilities.

I decided to give myself a time limit of 60 seconds. I had to convey my message in just one minute and this is the result.

Next time you’re feeling stuck, impose more constraints on yourself.