By Winfield Salyards, Marketing Coordinator at Heinz Marketing
Recently I have had some trouble with writer’s block. I’ve figured this is because of the number of clients – each very different from each other – I’m currently writing for and within the short deadline period I’m working from. My trouble is with language code-switching when moving on to another client. According to Wikipedia, “code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation.” Although I’m not using two seperate languages, like Spanish or English, or switching in a single conversation, I believe the concept can be applied to the different styles of branded language and industry jargon used by different companies. For me, I’ve had difficulty automatically switching between things like SaaS language to shipping language. This is a problem because I can’t afford to wait around while waiting for my code-switch induced writers block to abate, no, I needed a strategy to combat it. I’ve found a few that work for me below:
- Step away from work and make a cup of tea or coffee
- Take 5 minutes to read an innocuous news report, like from the BBC or NPR
- Reorganize your to-do list or agenda
These are my three strategies that have helped me efficiently move on to a different client’s work. Each of them does the work of creating a clean mental slate on which I can scribe the new required language of the next client — allowing me to be at my best creative mindset.
They work because they’re mundane process-based tasks, taking my mind away from creative thinking and focusing on a procedural mindset that ultimately triggers my mental reset. It is important to take mental breaks during the workday to help yourself do your best work. Quality over quantity, I’d take an hour of excellently done well thought out work over three hours of poorly done work any day. Especially since most of the poor work would be thrown out during editing to be the same amount or less as the excellent work but would certainly be poorer quality.
My point is, give your mind a break if you need one. Take the time to step away and come back stronger for it as you move on to the next deliverable. This will not only increase your quality of work but also help you get more stuff done overall. This is echoed in publications like Forbes, saying “Instead of trying to cut out time for breaks or exercise, realize that these activities can actually be used to boost your productivity.” This type of thought has been well known for a while now, but there are still times where we fall into the trap of trying to slam stuff through our personal productivity funnel it’s shrunken from exertion. We need those breaks to recover and expand our output capacity again. So, as we get deeper into the stress and joy of the holiday season, take the breaks you need to get more stuff done — even if that break is from your family. 😉