You know that feeling, right? You’re knee-deep in the grind, your coffee’s gone cold, and you’re squinting at the screen like it’s about to reveal the meaning of life. Then it hits you – your brain’s fried, your ideas are as stale as that slice of pizza you found under your bed, and you’re questioning if you’ve ever had an original thought in your life.

I’ve been there too.

I remember the post-the euphoric chaos of selling our startup. Six years of blood, sweat, and everything I had. We sold at the top of the market to cheers, but after it all what did I really have to show for it? A burned-out, fatigued mind, a creativity well that had run dry, and this niggling fear that I’d peaked. It was like I’d sprinted a marathon and now couldn’t muster a walk to the fridge.

And let’s be real, we’re all paddling in the same crazy, mixed-up ocean here. Whether it’s the relentless news cycle, the gig economy hustle, or the “holy crap, what now?” of global pandemics – it’s rough. It’s like every time we gasp for air, another wave of “WTF?” slaps us in the face.

But here’s the kicker – that brain of yours, that glorious, messy, untamed beast, it’s wired to create. It’s pumped to solve puzzles, paint word pictures, and dance in the rain of chaos. And yeah, it’s also scared shi– err, scared silly of what’s going on out there. The trick, my friends, is learning to surf those waves of chaos instead of getting dunked by them.

So, I’m throwing you a lifeline, or three. These aren’t your grandma’s “believe in yourself” platitudes. Nah, this is the real deal, the nitty-gritty, the “holy smokes, this might just work” toolkit to keep your creative sparks flying, even when the world looks like a dumpster fire.

We’ll dive into the cesspool of 24-hour news and learn how to sip, not guzzle, the media firehose. We’ll chat about finding that sweet spot of work that feels like play and plays like work. And, because I like you, I’ll even spill the secrets of hacking your brain’s default settings to keep those idea wheels greased.

We’re about to take your creative pulse from flatlining to skydiving. It’s going to be a wild ride, but hey, what’s life without a little adventure?

Define and Limit Your Media Consumption

Ever felt like you’re sipping from a fire hose of endless news? Like every time you log on, there’s another catastrophe, another crisis, another “end-of-days” headline screaming for your attention? It’s no wonder our brains feel like they’re doing backflips in our skulls.

Here’s the cold, hard truth: our noggin’s not built for the 24-hour news cycle. We’re hardwired to seek out information – it’s a survival thing – but when it’s all doom and gloom, it’s about as good for our creativity as a concrete parachute.

So, how do we stay in the loop without letting the media circus run us ragged? It’s all about intentionality, my friends. You’ve got to be the bouncer at the club of your mind. Not everything deserves to be on the VIP list.

First things first, figure out what matters to you. What issues light a fire in your belly? Climate change? Social justice? The latest stock market shenanigans? Pick your battles, because trying to fight them all is a one-way ticket to Burnoutville.

Next up, ask yourself why you’re consuming a piece of media. Is it to stay informed? To learn something new? Or are you just rubbernecking at the car crash of global events? If it’s not serving a purpose, it’s time to swipe left on that bad boy.

Now, let’s talk about boundaries. They’re not just for personal relationships; they’re crucial for your relationship with media, too. Decide on how much time you’ll dedicate to staying informed and stick to it like glue. Use a timer if you have to. When that buzzer goes, you’re out, no ifs, ands, or buts.

And while you’re at it, pay attention to your body. Feeling that heart rate spike? Shoulders creeping up to your ears? That’s your cue to step away. Go breathe some fresh air, do a few sun salutations, or just stare at a wall for a minute. Whatever resets your headspace.

Here’s the deal – information is power, but too much of it is kryptonite for your Superman of creativity. By choosing what you consume, setting clear boundaries, and listening to your body’s “no more, please” cues, you can keep your creative energy juiced up and ready to roll.

Remember, you control the media, not the other way around. So grab that smartphone, and make mindful media your new mantra.

Find the Work That Lights You Up

All right, let’s get into the meat of it. Finding work that lights you up isn’t just about chasing rainbows and feeling warm and fuzzy inside. It’s about latching onto something that matters — something that stirs your soul and makes the clock hours feel like minutes.

Now, you might be thinking, “But I’ve got bills to pay. I can’t just frolic in the fields of passion.” I hear you. But here’s the thing: the work that lights you up isn’t a frivolous pursuit; it’s the fuel for your creative fire, especially when the world seems like it’s going to hell in a handbasket.

You see, when you’re jazzed about what you’re doing, it doesn’t drain you — it sustains you. It’s the difference between pushing a boulder uphill and riding a bike downhill. Both get you places, but one leaves you exhilarated instead of exhausted.

So how do you find this mythical work? It starts with a bit of soul-searching. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What could you talk about for hours on end without getting bored? What’s that thing that you’d do for free (but, please, charge for it)?

Once you’ve got a handle on that, it’s about focus. You’ve got to zero in on your “patch” of the world — your corner of the universe that you can influence. Trying to tackle everything is like trying to boil the ocean. Instead, pick a puddle and make it ripple.

Take, for instance, a client of mine. She’s all about sustainability and has this crazy love for bees. She started a side hustle creating bee-friendly gardens in urban spaces. It’s not just about the buzz for her; it’s her way of planting seeds of change, one garden at a time. And guess what? It’s taken off like wildflowers because her passion is infectious.

But here’s the clincher: finding your patch doesn’t just make a difference out there; it does wonders for your inner landscape. When you’re aligned with work that matters to you, it turns up the volume on your creativity. Ideas flow easier because they’re rooted in what you care deeply about.

So take a moment to consider what sets your heart on fire. Then, chase that spark. Cultivate it. Make it grow. Because when you’re working on something you love, it’s a whole lot easier to keep the creative juices flowing, no matter how stormy it gets outside.

Redirect Your Default Mode Network

So you’ve tuned out the incessant drum of the media and found your spark in the work that makes you tick. What’s next? It’s time to talk brain waves, daydreams, and the sneaky little bugger known as the Default Mode Network (DMN).

Now, if you’re scratching your head wondering what the DMN is, let me break it down for you. It’s that part of your brain that’s on when you’re off; the mental playground where your mind wanders when you’re not focused on a task. It’s the birthplace of your daydreams and the sanctuary of your self-reflection.

Sounds peaceful, right? But here’s the catch: that same network can turn into a sneaky saboteur, leading you down the rabbit hole of worry and what-ifs. Instead of being your creative ally, it becomes a master of disaster, cooking up all sorts of worst-case scenarios.

But fear not! You’ve got the power to redirect this mental energy. It’s like training a vine to climb in the right direction — it takes a little effort, but oh boy, the results can be spectacular.

First up, you’ve got to recognize when your DMN kicks in. Are you zoning out? Ruminating over that awkward email you sent last week? That’s your cue. Acknowledge it, then steer that ship towards more fruitful waters.

Now, the million-dollar question: How do you nudge your DMN towards creativity rather than catastrophe? Research from the University of Graz suggests it’s all about connectivity — linking up your brain’s executive suite (the prefrontal cortex) with your DMN’s wild imagination.

And the best part? You don’t need high-tech gadgets or a neuroscience degree to make it happen. It’s as simple as changing the scenery. Go for a walk, people-watch at a cafe, or just lie on your back and watch the clouds do their dance. This isn’t lazy time; it’s prime time for your brain to make connections out of the blue.

But remember, the goal isn’t just to space out; it’s to space out with intention. Let your mind wander, but guide it gently towards the problems you want to solve or the ideas you want to brew.

So, next time you’re stumped, don’t reach for your phone or binge-watch the latest series. Give yourself the gift of boredom. It’s in those quiet moments that creativity likes to whisper its sweet nothings into your ear.

And who knows? Your next big idea might be nestled in that noggin of yours, just waiting for a moment of peaceful wandering to pop out and say, “Hello.”


Let’s circle back to the life rafts we’ve built along the way:

First, we talked about curating your media diet like a Michelin-starred chef. You learned to select only the finest ingredients, those news morsels that feed your need to know without tipping you into the abyss of anxiety. By setting boundaries and becoming a connoisseur of content, you’re safeguarding your mental space for creativity to flourish.

Second, we delved into the heart of what makes you tick, finding that sweet spot of effort that doesn’t feel like effort at all. Remember, when you pour your energy into a cause that resonates with your core, the ripples can extend far beyond your immediate pond. It’s about making a targeted impact, not casting a wide net into an ocean of issues.

And third, we took a leisurely stroll through the pathways of your brain, showing you how to gently guide your DMN away from the siren calls of worry, directing it instead towards the sunny uplands where ideas play and solutions grow like wildflowers.

Creativity isn’t a finite well that dries up; it’s a muscle that gets stronger with use. By defining your media intake, engaging in work that lights you up, and mastering the art of intentional daydreaming, you’re not just weathering the storm; you’re dancing in the rain.

So go ahead, apply these habits, test them out in the wild of your own life. I promise, they hold the power to transform not just how you create, but how you live, love, and look at the world—even when it seems like it’s lost its damn mind.

About the Author: Geoffrey Byers
Geoffrey is one of the world's foremost Designers. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Mad Scientist. Hypothesis-Driven experimentation is his love language.