Mad Men Party
Photo by David Tom Photography

I’m hooked on Mad Men and can’t wait for the season five premiere. The photo is from a Mad Men dinner party that my husband and I hosted last year.

One of the things I love best about the show is watching Don Draper save many client relationships by coming up with brilliant concepts at the last minute … just before his clients are about to walk.

However, you don’t need to wait until you’re almost screwed to come up with a great concept. Simply read on to learn the top 5 ways that Don, Peggy and the crew overcome creative block.

1. Take a Break

In one episode of Mad Men, Don’s boss accuses him of looking like he’s never working. However, Don demonstrates that if you step away from your work, you’ll come back full of creative ideas that will impress even the most difficult client. Although Don’s favourite ways to clear his head involve drinking and womanizing, you may want to keep the debauchery to a minimum. Exercise or caffeine will work.

2. Do Your Most Important Work First Thing in the Morning

At SCDP, the brightest stars arrive at the office early to focus on their most important projects before the rest of the staff is around to interrupt them. Tackling your biggest project first thing in the morning can give you a sense of accomplishment and save you lots of stress later in the day.

3. Brainstorm

At the beginning of a new project, you should ignore your inner critic and let your ideas flow. The creatives at SCDP know that brainstorming can jumpstart the creative process, whether you prefer jotting down notes or dictating ideas to your assistant. Plus, it’s always fun to watch the characters try to one-up each other with the best ideas.

4. Take a Nap

There’s nothing like a good nap to refresh you, and more than one employee at SCDP has been caught sleeping the job. However, if you decide to take a nap remember to …

5. Keep a Notebook Nearby for Ideas

Don’t be like copywriter Paul Kinsey. He had a brilliant idea during an office all-nighter, fell asleep without writing it down and forgot it. Although Peggy covered for him, you might not be so lucky!

Try some of these tips the next time you struggle with creative block. You might even finish your project early enough to enjoy a long lunch with your co-workers (just don’t eat the oysters).

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