Set yourself up for success, stay motivated throughout the process, and wrap up the project with a sense of satisfaction.
Know the end goal
- Plenty of projects are dreamt up with too much focus on how to kick off the process and not enough consideration for what the final product should look like. If you’re not sure what you’re working towards, every hurdle can be interpreted as a make-or-break moment or an opportunity for your idea to be completely overwritten. Begin the project with a very clear deliverable in mind (a new brand board, a refreshed website, a TV spot), and label any deviation from that plan as a separate project. This way, you don’t feel pressure to support a quickly-expanding list of tasks.
Sell everyone on the idea… including yourself
- It’s much easier to conjure up some positive, productive, and creative feelings about a deliverable if you felt that way at the beginning of the project. Communicate the end goal and the expected results to your team so that everyone is not only on the same page but has the same motivation to get started. And don’t forget to sell yourself on the idea! Brainstorm on your own and get excited about this project’s potential, so you can remind yourself of how cool the end result could be when you’re in the thick of ideating and editing.
Ask for a brand new perspective
- At a certain point in every long-term project, the copy stops making sense and the design looks like pixels. If you’re feeling sick of your concept as a whole, bring in fresh eyes—and we mean fresh. Find someone who wasn’t on the brainstorm, doesn’t know who the client is, or maybe doesn’t work in the same industry and ask them if your idea resonates. Their feedback can reassure that you’re on the right track or encourage you to take a second look at something that’s not landing with an outside audience.
Get weird with it
- If you feel like you’ve been wringing out your brain for new ways to get your desired end result and nothing is working—start a brand new file and have fun! Do a quick exercise where you turn your concept on its head and purposefully try to create something out-of-the-box and brand-new. You may realize that you’ve been narrowing your creativity too much or you may create something that is so off-base that you know how to get back on track. Either way, it can help you gain some creative traction.
Step away from the project entirely
- Sometimes you just have to put a project down to get back into your workflow. Scheduled breaks, like logging off at 5pm every day, don’t have the same ability to recharge us as a midday relaxation period. So, take a walk, do some yoga, or find your pet and give them a snuggle; whatever allows you to move your body a little bit and take some time to truly stop thinking about the project (and not the kind of not-thinking that we all do at 6pm when we zone out at the dinner table).
Keep a list of accomplishments
- Tracking the small successes and key lessons throughout the process will help you feel more positive about what you’ve already achieved and look forward to even more wins along the way. This will also act as a helpful cheat sheet any time you want to have a discussion about your career progression. Once the project wraps, it will be easy to forget the ways you helped push your team and yourself to succeed, but this list will act as a record of how well you handled this process from start to finish.
Take these tips with you for your next, big creative undertaking and see how they help you maintain a good attitude and a commitment to quality. We promise that every project does eventually end, but when you’re feeling extra lost, check in with yourself and these quick tricks of the trade.