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.