This post was originally published in 2013, and updated with new ideas in 2022.
Are you in a rut?
Is your job starting to feel like, well, a JOB?
Do you feel like things are just dragging along? No new ideas? No spark?
It just might be time for you to find some ways to recharge your creativity. Get the spark back. Trigger some new ideas. Maybe even put a little spring in your step.
There are many things you can do to give yourself a creative recharge. I don’t know about you, but an exotic vacation would do wonders for my creative spirit. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t do such good things for my budget or my schedule.
While an exotic vacation isn’t in the cards anytime soon, I have learned a few other ways to break myself out of the creative rut and re-inspire my creativity. And these ways won’t break the bank.
So, here are five of my favorite ways to recharge your creativity (and still pay the rent!)
Rearrange your office
Rethink your office layout. Take the afternoon (or the morning off) and give your office a good cleaning. Move the furniture, the accessories and even the artwork. Maybe it’s time to change out your artwork. How long has that old poster been up there anyway? Do you even notice it anymore? Sometimes changing the way things look can help you change the way you look at things. Giving your office a good shake-up can shake the cobwebs out of your creative brain, recharge your creativity, and get it working again.
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Read a new book
Change up your reading habits. In fact, pick a completely different genre than what you usually read. Do you read business books? Pick a biography, a historical novel, a travelogue, a murder mystery. Anything, even a beach read—as long as it’s different, interesting and holds your attention. Expand your (literary) horizons, stretch your mind, venture into a new territory. Read about someone or something that’s completely different than what you do every day.
If you only read books, go pick up a magazine. If your reading material is all online these days (blog posts and eBooks), go buy yourself an actual printed book. And if all your reading is work-related, give it a rest. Give yourself permission to read something that isn’t focused on your day-to-day business.
To find some of my favorite reading recommendations, visit my Amazon reading store here.
Learn a New Skill
If you really want to open up some new creative pathways in your brain, learn to do something new. Preferably, learn to do something a little (or a lot) outside your comfort zone.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?
Find a class or workshop in your area (in-person is best if you can find what you’re looking for), and make time in your schedule for a new creative venture. You can try your city’s recreation department for low-cost introductory classes, and a nearby university extension for a wider variety of topics. Some stores even offer classes to draw in new customers. A quick web search for classes in your area should be enough to get you started.
New skills not only stimulate our brains, but they can boost our spirits, and recharge our creativity in ways completely unrelated to the skills we’re learning.
Go Somewhere Different
Are you a creature of habit? It’s time to break out of the routine. Whether it’s changing your usual errand stops or taking a few hours off to go exploring, getting out and going somewhere you haven’t been before can be enough to break out of the doldrums. If you’re a lunch-at-your-desk person, stop it.
Get up from your desk. Turn off the monitors. Put away the spreadsheets. Send your calls to voice mail. Take a REAL lunch break.
Whether you leave your office (or home office) and go out to lunch or whether you are making your own, make it a tasty, healthy lunch and give yourself time to stop working and really enjoy it. If the weather is nice, take it outside. Admire the scenery. People watch (or in my case, squirrel watch). Just step away from the computer and give your brain—and body—a break.
Do you always go to the same office supply store or grocery store? Change things up. Go to one across town.
When I am feeling uncreative, I go to the gourmet grocery or one of the dozens of ethnic markets in my town. Looking at the exotic produce and beautiful Artisan breads and cheeses gets my brain started on the art and cooking projects I could make with a basket full of new goodies. When I have more time, I opt for a hike in the mountains or even just a walk or drive through a neighborhood I haven’t visited before. A change of scenery can give you a new perspective.
Meet Someone New
This works best when you can do it in person. While I love my internet friends, there is no substitute for having face-to-face time with someone. Whether you go to a networking event, a business lunch or you decide to meet an online colleague or client in real life, getting out and making new relationships is one of the best remedies there is for getting recharged and inspired. If you’re going to a networking or business event, make it a goal to get to know someone you haven’t met before. Find out what inspires them and just maybe they’ll be able to inspire you, too.
Not sure how to find networking groups in your area? Check out Meetup.com. They list all kinds of membership groups–business and fun–all over the country. Some groups are free and some are paid memberships. I’ve met some of my favorite people through Meetup.
And now, if these five ideas aren’t enough to recharge your creativity—here is a nifty infographic with 29 more ideas. Hopefully, one of these will get you going again.
What do you do to recharge your creativity? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.
I am the rearrange kind of girl 😉
Me, too, Yvonne. I find I have to shake things up every now and then just to keep it interesting.
Love the infographic, Marie! If I look at your suggestions, I see that what we need to do is get outside the box we create around ourselves at every turn — break a pattern, bring in something new, move stuff around. I guess creativity needs a little space to slip in and that pattern break provides it. 😉
Yes, I think that’s it, Sharon. We tend to put ourselves into routines–and boxes–and that can definitely stifle our creativity.
Creativity is really a way to energizing ourselves. There are so many areas where we can explore our creativity. But I believe creativity is more of a gift, don’t you think so?
Great info graphic! Love your ideas for getting out of a rut! I especially like/do the office clean up and rearranging!
These are great ideas for sparking new ideas and promoting creativity temporarily. Ideally, you want to live a life that breeds ideas so that the ideas are there when you need them. As Hugh Grant’s character in Music and Lyrics said “Inspiration is for amateurs!”If you have to be inspired or drum up inspiration, you’re not regularly feeding your creativity. Make it a lifestyle and you are never short of ideas.
You are quite right. These are temporary fixes for those days when we’re just dragging and getting into the working rut. There is no substitute for the proper care and feeding of creativity. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. Hmmm. . . . I think I need to add that to my “to-write” list. Thanks for your comments.
Oooooh, that’s gonna be tough for me to take an actual lunch break. But I’ll do it! This list is wonderful.
It’s a tough one for me, too, Mona. Probably the hardest thing on this list because I get wrapped up in a project and totally forget the time.
Nice article you got there Marie. It’s true and I know that I also need reminders for myself to take time off. This is really a cool reminder 🙂
Thanks, Edmund. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Excellent tips Marie Leslie! I completely agree with the ideas you’ve listed here – just making a small change or doing things in a different order can shake loose a completely different perspective!
Thanks, Moira. It is amazing how just a small shake-up of our routine can have such a big impact on us, isn’t it?
hi there Marie! What’s your secret for having so many blog commenters when you just posted this one a couple of days ago? I particularly love your lunch break idea— planning on having lunch with my hubby today. AT the dining room table. AWAY from my office. 🙂
Thanks, Heather. I do try to really publicize and market my blog posts. Triberr helps, as do a couple of different groups. I actually just wrote about sharing posts here. http://marieleslie.com/four-easy-ways-to-share-blog-posts/
Great ideas off ways to stay creative! I believe that taking a brisk walk or sitting at the beach contemplating help boost my creative thought processes.:)
Going to the beach always boosts my creativity, too, Daniele. I just wish it wasn’t 1000 miles away so I could do it more often. 🙂
Great article with ideas for people who are stuck or bored. I do agree with taking breaks to keep the flow going through your day. Thank you for sharing your ideas!
Fantabulous ideas and I definitely know that “eat your lunch at the computer one”…guilty as charged! As a first step in finding something other than a computer screen to look at, I went to a class last night AND took myself out to dinner. Something I haven’t done in 5 years!
Way to break the habit, MamaRed! That’s definitely changing things up in a good way.
Loved this post. I have to agree with all of it. We are all creative in our own ways and sometimes just expressing it makes us so happy. Thank you for the reminder.
You are so welcome, Burton. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Great post. I’m partway through a self-imposed week long break from work. I have posts scheduled and am only working a couple of hours/day. I was getting close to burnout. I do take time to go to the gym three days a week but I will admit to catching up on other blogs/downloads during lunch.
It’s good to take a break every now and then, Kathy. I am going to camp in a couple of weeks and it will definitely be a break as rumor has it we’ll be out of cell phone territory. I’ll have a few things scheduled for while I am gone, but I’m looking forward to the BIG change in routine that camp always is.
Great article! I pinned it to my home office board and shared it on my Facebook page. I’ll be instituting the “no food at the desk rule” immediately (hoping for that 2 inch loss, as well!)
Thanks, Shelley. The 2″ were definitely an unexpected benefit. Hopefully, I can find some more new rules that will lose a couple more. 🙂
I get my best ideas during exercise or sleep. I love the infographic.
Thanks, Lisa. I find swimming to be my great pondering time. With no one to bother me (it’s really hard to chat with someone underwater), I find it a great time to come up with new ideas. Perhaps it has something to do, also, with the rhythm of swimming and the enforced measured breathing–almost like moving meditation.
Great Ideas for charging up the creativity! I just started engaging in a second creative activity while I write. I get most creative when multi-tasking so I starting to take a break every 30 minutes to sketch, brain storm or read short stories.
Great post and I love your Infographic, Marie! I recently rearranged my office – rotated my desk to look out a different window – and I love it. You’re right, that can really help! I’m working on the “no eating at my desk” and “taking a real lunch break” – that’s a work in progress, I’m afraid :)! Thanks for all the great tips!
One step at a time, Lisa. I know you know how that all works.
Always been an avid reader & learner in many different fields. It is truly who I am! Loved your post Marie. Thanks for sharing it!
Thank you, Norma. That reading and learning from different fields definitely helps us to keep the creative juices flowing.
I love this post! Lots of good ideas here. I take a walk to get the creativity flowing. That is what works best for me.
Getting out and taking a walk always helps me, too, MarVeena. While being out in nature is my favorite, I find even going to the mall or walking through a different neighborhood can help spark new ideas for me, too.
I love the idea of reading a different “kind” of book! I live and thrive on informational type books but when I read the occasional romance novel or a good mystery, I always think, “why don’t I do this more often?” It DOES spark creativity. With my writing and my overall thinking, not to mention it’s a nice break. Fantastic post with wonderful ideas! Thanks!
It’s amazing how giving our brains a chance to relax and wander on their own is so refreshing, isn’t it, Martha? I, too, am guilty of spending most of my time on business and learning books–but in the summer I am more likely to pick up something to read just for fun. I ought to do it during the rest of the year as well.
This is a really great read. I plan to start a new book today that I purchased over the weekend–can’t wait!
What are you reading, Anne? I always love to know what is on other people’s reading lists.
WOW! I love this and the graphic is cool as well! Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas, Marie! 🙂
You are so welcome, Alexandra. Thanks for the taking the time to read.
Happiness is a blog post with not 5 but 34 super cool ideas to recharge one’s creativity. Thank you for the inspiration!
You are so welcome, Vatsala. Have a wonderfully creative day.
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