All professionals go through a rough patch where they feel drained and listless. Feeling like you’re in a rut or stuck in your day-to-day routine can have a negative impact on your mental state, which in turn makes it difficult to feel inspired or creative. If your heart isn’t in your work (as is often the case with creative boredom), your performance will be subpar, and you may not know how to rebound.
The solution is clear: regain your creativity. But avoiding boredom or an inspiration drain isn’t as simple as just finding something to do. To help give you strategies for finding inspiration again, 14 experts from Forbes Coaches Council delve into how they recommend their clients avoid creative boredom themselves.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Change Something Up
It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things the same old way, especially if you are a creature of habit. Try changing something up—vary your hours, build in an exercise routine (that one’s a double whammy because of the impact on your brain) or rearrange your office space. Small changes can have a big impact when they are the right ones! – Kathy Bernhard, KFB Leadership Solutions
2. Engage In Some Learning
To get out of a creative rut, go to a conference and listen to thought leaders discuss trends and changes coming your way. Connect with peers to ask about their latest innovations and how they’re faring. Listen to a podcast or read trade publications, blogs or a book in an area you have interest. Looking outside your own walls will spark ideas for change and improvement and get you going again. – Jennifer Wilson, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC
3. Remember Your ‘Why’
You can only get caught in a rut when you’ve lost sight of your big “why.” When you’re in there, step back and reconnect to the reasons why you’ve undertaken this job or this project. This will make you switch from a push to a pull. Creativity will not be an effort anymore—it will come in the form of inner prompting, hunches, desire and excitement. – Frederic Funck, Center for Creative Leadership
4. Understand Your Gifts and Strengths
More and more employees today talk about being bored and not using all of their talents and gifts in workplaces around the world. Research is clear that when employees understand their talents, gifts and strengths more clearly, they will consciously look for ways to use and magnify them in ways that benefit themselves and their work groups, organizations and communities. – Susan Madsen, Utah Valley University & Madsen Global Leadership
5. Move And Meditate
When you feel tired and uninspired, stop working. Use a combination of movement and meditation to refresh yourself. Go for a short run around the block and when you come back, put on a guided meditation on your phone. Do it again, until you feel totally relaxed and peaceful. Then wait and listen for new ideas and inspiration. – Caterina Kostoula, The Leaderpath
6. Stop Thinking
Creativity and innovation come in the open spaces. They can’t be forced. Take time to daydream. Think about what you would do if there were no obstacles, no fear. We center by breathing into the head, heart and gut. Then we explore and identify our passions (“What makes your heart sing?”). Connect with that. This will open the door for creative approaches to achieving it. – Brian Gorman, TransformingLives.Coach
7. Try Something New In Another Area
When you’re feeling caught in a rut at work, try something new outside of work. It can be as simple as taking a new route to work. Or, you could try a new fitness class. During these new activities, you’ll create new neural pathways in your brain. You’ll notice different things during your activity and will be inspired in a new way. You might even gain a new insight about your life or work. – Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching
8. Consider Your Legacy
Creativity is about accessing our innovation, narratives and insight for future possibilities. Ask yourself what is one new thing you would like to do that will leave a new positive legacy? What is something you wanted to do that only you can do that will solve a problem, empower others or is a new idea? Play with the courage it takes to stand out there, and that will also inspire creativity! – Dr. Denise Trudeau-Poskas, Blue Egg Leadership
9. Reframe Your Mindset
Acknowledging you are in a rut is the first stage of a personal journey toward reframing your mindset. Reframing your mindset requires that you ask yourself three distinct questions: 1) At what point did I lose focus and forget to affirm myself? 2) Did I have career plans coupled with aspirations and dreams? If not, why? 3) How did I lose my ability to operate in the moment and be true to who I am? – Eugene Frazier, EF Choice & Associates, LLC. — Executive Coaching —
10. Engage With Inspiration
Boredom is an emotional and psychological state of feeling disinterested, dull or disengaged. A great way to break through the feeling of disengagement is to reengage. Work through your creative boredom by engaging in activities that inspire you—play, write, read, laugh, sing, dance, listen to music. The key is to change your environment and do something to get your juices flowing again. – Michela Quilici, MQ Consulting and Business Training, Inc.
11. Give Yourself Permission And A Timeline
It’s easy to fall into the death spiral of overthinking and beating yourself up because your rut feels deep and wide. So give yourself permission to let things suck and set a timeline for how long you’ll allow that to last. During that time, you get to wallow, sulk, be frustrated—up until the very last minute when that time period ends. Then identify one thing you’ll do and do it. Repeat. – Teri Citterman, Talonn
12. Jump Back To Childhood
In childhood we don’t overthink what we are doing. We pursue activities that fascinate us. We easily bond with others in ordinary daily routines. When we get stuck in our personal or professional life, it can be empowering to think back to what brought us joy as children. I encourage clients to revisit past interests and build them into their life today. Sign up for that conference you deserve. – Terri Klass, Terri Klass Consulting
13. Go On A Field Trip
Getting out of your office and visiting another company can be very motivating and insight-producing. Even if there isn’t an obvious link between your business and the one you visit, seeing how others think, talk and work can generate new insights. One client in the utility industry visited Boeing and came away with lots of insights about operations, even though they are in different industries. – Reed Deshler, AlignOrg Solutions
14. Take A Breath Of Fresh Air
I love getting outside when I’m stuck in a rut. Nature has this incredible energy that will help you feel like everything is going to be OK. I have also found that the stillness in nature allows me to tune into myself more, which has in turn bubbled up some of my most creative ideas. – Holly Knoll, Holly Knoll Coaching and Consulting