6 ways to stay inspired as a designer

We all know what it's like to stare at your computer screen or a blank sketchbook for hours. Your creativity is nowhere to be found, just like that high school sweetheart who so cruelly dumped you right before the prom.

So how do you maintain a healthy relationship with our creativity? How do you stay inspired? Here's a few suggestions for blowing the cobwebs away.

01. Take a trip

The Cubic Houses, or Kubuswoningen, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Think of a place you always wanted to go, grab your passport and get on a plane. Go on an adventure, explore, get lost in translation. There's nothing more exciting than the unknown. And it's just the sort of challenge that's at the core of all our inspirations.

If you simply can't get away, check out our list of 25 design landmarks you have to see before you die for a blast of extra inspiration.

02. Find a muse

Think of someone who represents the ultimate in coolness and creativity to you. For Andy Warhol this was Edie Sedgwick, for Tarantino it's Uma Thurman, for every second startup founder it's Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.

That said, a muse doesn't have to be a person. It might as well be anything from a fashion trend from the '50s to monochrome designs. Go figure what gets you in the mood!

03. Surround yourself with creative people

Staying inspired has a lot to do with finding people that have similar goals. Make sure that the people you surround yourself with are the ones that inspire you and don't kill your ideas. (And don't kill theirs, either!)

04. Use inspiration-gathering apps

Dragdis lets you drop images, links, selected text, videos or GIFs to your private folders

The web is big and amazing. It's an enormous jungle, with inspiration growing on trees, whether that's super neat typography, DIY tutorials or French electro tunes.

Harnessing that inspiration is all about figuring out what tools work for you and your creativeness. So use tools like Evernote to take notes, Dragdis to collect your visual inspirations and Soundcloud to make music playlists.

05. Take baby steps

For a millennial like me, it's kind of hard to come around this idea. Many of us grew up with this 'dream-big-or-go-home' attitude. So we expect our inspirations to come flooding like teenage girls to One Direction gigs – and when they don't show up we are left disappointed. Instead, concentrate on one task at a time. Focus on today only. Just get going.

06. Get yourself time to dream

Illustrator Ben O'Brien find long walks with his wife and son, Woody, help clear his mind and boost his creativity

It's important not to overthink your creative ideas - stick to what you feel. And that means you have to make sure that you have plenty of time to daydream in your life.

Walks are good. Long train rides are even better. Focus on acting upon your ideas rather than analyzing them. Read our Designer's guide to getting a life for more ideas.

Words: Danutė Rasimavičiūtė

Danutė Rasimavičiūtė is head of communications at Dragdis, a new productivity web app for creatives. See the app in action in this video.