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Take a break


Creative tools > Take a break

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it when you are tired and slowing down.

Use it when you are stuck and have run out of ideas.

Take a break when you want to change directions.



  X        Long



        X  Psychological



      X    Group


How to use it

Decide to take a break

When things are fading and the ideas are running out, or just when it seems like a good idea, decide to take a break.

If you are running the creative session, you can ask people, 'Would you like a break?' Watch their reactions when you ask this -- their body language will tell you whether they are ready or not for a break.

Even when you are working alone, you can still take a break!

Change your environment

In taking the break, go outside the room. Stretch and move the body. Go for a walk. Go outside. Breathe deeply of some fresh air.

Seek other stimulation

Also look for ways to find other stimulation. Talk to people at the coffee machine. Go outside and smell the roses. Open the senses and look deeply into everything you see.

You can muse about the creative problem and you can also forget it and let the subconscious mind work on it. Do something to distract the subconscious, such as phoning someone or taking on a simple task.


I am facilitating a creative session and notice that some people are yawning (which is a way of grabbing more oxygen). I tell people to take a break outside and find me three interesting things (which I will then use as stimuli in the next session).

How it works

Taking a break not only gives the mind a rest, it helps the subconscious get on with its job of thinking without the conscious mind interrupting.

If you are running the session, giving people a break also creates a reciprocity dynamic where, because they appreciate you giving them the break, they will return with a willingness to redouble their efforts.

See also

Incubation, Pause


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