This article was originally published on EventMB & reprinted here with permission.
14 Ways Event Professionals Can Crush a Creative Rut
All event professionals are creative individuals and we can tend feel stuck from time to time. It happens to all of us. It seems the more you push yourself to think creatively, the less successful you are at it. Luckily there are some things you can do to help remove that creative block. Here are some ways to get that tap of creativity flowing again.
Clean Up and Get Organized
One of the first things I do when I fall into a creative rut is get re-organized. Ok, I actually clean my desk. Since we work long hours and often on many things at once, we can tend to get behind on properly filing or putting away things when we are done with them. The buildup of clutter on your desk or in your office can also create clutter in your head, preventing you from thinking clearly.
Change of Scenery
If you’ve organized your space, but you still feel out of sorts, change your physical location. Get out of your ‘comfortable’ office space or work area and try a new place to work. Try a conference room in the building or a coffee house down the street. If you work from home, move from your home office to the kitchen or even outside to the porch. If you are traveling and not having much luck working in your hotel room, go to the lobby. Sometimes the rustle of activity can stimulate your brain and get you back on track.
Take a shower. Ok, so this may not work for everyone, but it is great for those that work from home. It’s a good way to wash off those shorter creative ruts. For me, this is a great way to break up my day. After I’ve been in a good groove for a while and feel my focus slipping, I take a break for a nice shower. It wakes me up, refreshes me, and actually clears my mind. Ever wonder why you get good ideas in the shower? According to research, doing a mindless everyday task like showering, frees up our subconscious to think more creatively.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will not be at your best, especially when it comes to creativity and being productive. Whether it is a full eight hours or just a quick nap in the afternoon, sleep is extremely important. It keeps you alert, happy, creative, and healthy. Be sure to set your schedule to allow for a good night's sleep as often as possible.
DIY! As event planners, we tend to be crafty and creative by nature. If you are stuck in a rut, find a craft or project to work on. By working on something different, it will give your brain a break, while still allowing you to enjoy yourself. If you are able to finish the project, you can also get an extra boost of motivation by feeling productive!
Take a Vacation (or Staycation)
Whether you are able to escape to a secluded destination or give yourself a simple staycation, take some time to step away from your never-ending to do lists. While on this break, take time to notice more of the world around you. Take note of small details in nature or in architecture. It’s ok to not work sometimes. By stepping away and clearing your mind, you can give yourself a chance to focus your energy and recharge your creative batteries.
As we know, exercise should play an important part of your life. You don't have to become a gym rat, but being active should be part of your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a quick walk around the building. If you've been at your computer all day and feel drained, get up and get your body moving for a few minutes. You may just find your brain gets moving, too!
Play a Game
Another way to increase endorphins is by playing games. Games can help you to relax and recharge. Whether it is a game on your phone or a board game with friends or family, playing games can provide you the needed escape and break from the creative rut. Gaming can help your brain think differently. It is also a great excuse to spend time with your family!
Enjoy Your Hobby
If you have a hobby that you never seem to have time for, this is a perfect time to pick it up again and step away from the constant creative pressures of your to do list. Ironically, though, this gives you a chance to actually finish something, as you probably do not ever get to cross this “fun” activity off of your list!
I enjoy learning new things whenever I can. I have found that by learning and studying something new, it gives me different perspectives and helps me get “un-stuck.” There are many choices for free online courses including webinars offered by Event Manager Blog. Attending a conference or a chapter meeting of an industry organization can provide you with new information that could help you think differently. You could also consider learning a skill not associated with being an event professional. Have you always wanted to learn a new language or how to do some basic coding? This could be a great excuse to start!
Gathering with Industry Peers
Getting together with individuals in your industry can also give you a creativity boost. It doesn’t have to be anything formal. Gather some industry friends for coffee or drinks after after work. Ask questions about projects that they are working on. Listen and ask questions about some of the issues they may be having. Maybe by brainstorming solutions to issues together, it will help you to think differently about a project you are working on. They may also have great advice for you as well! Besides that, who doesn’t like hanging out with friends?
A great way to get creative juices flowing is to volunteer. By volunteering, I’m not saying you should jump in and volunteer to chair an event for a non-profit. Depending on your workload, that type of volunteering could create a whole new type of problem trying to avoid burnout. However, volunteering in a small role at an event could help you to see how other event professionals do things and may spark some ideas for you. Perhaps you could help at a registration desk, or help monitor a silent auction. Try volunteering for a type of event you don’t usually plan. If you do galas and conferences, try volunteering at a 5K race or other sporting event.
Inspiration from Others
Our Industry peers can also inspire us. Take a look around at some of the things other #eventprofs are doing. If you receive print or digital magazines, browse through the wonderful photos of exciting events and interesting destinations. Another great place to look is Pinterest or Instagram. By searching the #EventProfs hashtag on Instagram, you can also immediately come up with inspiring images.
Embrace the Rut
Sometimes, you just have to push through it. If you are facing a hard deadline and absolutely have to get something completed, take a breath, put on Eye of the Tiger, put your blinders on, and push through! However, if you are not on a deadline, embrace the rut and give yourself a break. Accept that it just may not be in the cards for today. You may find that you recover more quickly from your creative dry spell if you just ‘Let It Go!’
Being an #eventprof is a wonderfully creative life! Every once in a while, though, everyone needs a mental break. Whether it is cleaning your house, playing a game, or exercising, finding the best way that works for you to recharge yourself is crucial to have continued success.