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15 Ideas for Getting Out of a Creative Rut

From exercise to free writing, here are some solid ideas you can try.

Being creative is a powerful thing. Some of the best plans or developments come from being creative rather than thinking in a pattern or formula. However, doing this all the time can take its toll. In fact, you can get easily burned out from trying too often.

We asked members of the Young Entrepreneurs Council for their best ideas on what to do when stuck in a creative rut. Their answers varied, which gives you a lot of options to try to see which will help you fully recharge and get your creative juices flowing again.

When you’re stuck in a creative rut, what is the best way to overcome a foggy mind and rekindle your creativity?

1. Play Video Games

While others might want to do something artistic or exercise, I personally like to play a mix of video games, because it’s a good distraction for my brain and takes my mind off certain things I was overthinking, which gets in the way of creativity. – Angela Ruth, Calendar

2. Go Outdoors

There are few better ways to clear your head and to rekindle your creativity than to get outside to get some fresh air and to recuperate. An afternoon of hiking or relaxing at the beach is the best medicine for resetting and thinking of new ideas. – Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

3. Research New and Emerging Trends

To trigger creativity, sometimes you need a source of inspiration. Research new and emerging trends. See how individuals and companies are innovating different categories. The goal here isn’t to mimic their approach. Instead, this tactic is meant to expose your brain to new stimuli, which could lead to the development of completely novel ideas that may work well for your business. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

4. Get Some Exercise

The best thing to get you out of a creative rut is to do something active. Getting some exercise will get your endorphins going and may spark some new ideas. Go for a run or ride your bike: New ideas can spark from anything! You’ll be surprised how many ideas you come up with. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS – Integrated Marketing Solutions

5. Free Write

When I get stuck, I pull out a notebook, set a timer and write for 10 minutes. I’m not allowed to stop moving my hand. I write anything that comes to mind, even if it doesn’t make sense. The exercise tends to free up my brain, and usually gets me out of my rut. – Adrien Schmidt, Bouquet.ai

6. Experience Art

When I feel stuck in a rut and am at a loss for creative ideas, I try to inspire myself through art. I’ll listen to beautiful pieces of music, read engaging stories or visit a museum. These activities help me realize that any limits placed on my brain are self-imposed, which usually motivates me to get back on track, in terms of creative output. – Bryce Welker, Crush The PM Exam

7. Read a Book

It is easy to get lost in our projects and goals to a point that we become blocked. When that happens, get unstuck by diving into a fiction book. By allowing ourselves to be transported to a different time and space, far from our own reality, it helps get the creative juices flowing and gives us the recharge that we need. It helps free your mind to approach the work from a different angle. – Ally Lozano, Ally Lozano LLC

8. Leverage your Curiosity

One of the best ways to overcome a foggy mind is to let go of your focus on creating things related to your passion. Take a step back from your passion, and start creating something based on your own curiosity. Creating based on your curiosity gets you back to the basics of creativity. You break your rut by asking, “I wonder what happens if?” instead of, “What makes the most sense?” – Mike A. Podesto, Find My Profession

9. Eat Well

I’ve noticed that if I eat poorly for a few consecutive days, then I’m more tired and less alert than I’d like to be. To improve this, I’ve started to not only eat better but also track all my food intake, using a free tool like Cronometer. It gives me the percentage breakdown of not only my macronutrients, but also the micronutrients such as all the amino acids, iron levels, and more. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. Disconnect Online

I tend to completely disconnect from the world online especially from social media. I take some time to meditate and do something with my hands like cleaning and other house chores. If I have more time on my hands, I use the opportunity to travel. Going outside of my comfort zone and away from familiar places helps me to realign myself and look at new perspectives. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

11. Take a Vacation

A common trait of entrepreneurs is to push too hard for too long without taking a break. Even the most successful founders will talk about the importance of taking a vacation to recharge. Give your mind a break and a different environment to become refreshed and creative once again. Double up your efforts by exercising during your break to restore your body as well. Come back fresh and innovative! – Mikey Moran, Private Label Extensions

12. Practice Connecting the Dots

I like to put myself in different environments and read a lot to keep my mind stimulated. It’s important for me to pay attention to my surroundings and what I’m reading to start seeing patterns about completely unrelated things. That’s how I’ve been able to boost my creativity. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

13. Center Yourself With Meditation or Prayer

I firmly believe God has creative ideas He wants to give us. As a Christian entrepreneur, one of my secrets is spending time in prayer regarding strategy and direction. There’s been plenty of times when I’ve been by myself praying and would have a sudden moment of genius. I would then write those down and execute on them later. This secret has helped me innovate, scale, and stay competitive. – Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising

14. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

It is essential to track how well you are sleeping, and how it affects performance. Whenever I find myself in a creative rut, it often coincides with poor sleep. To snap out of it I get a good night’s sleep — over eight hours — and then hit the caffeine. I get right to work and keep going until I feel satisfied. Make sure to drink water to stay hydrated.- Brian Greenberg, Life Insurance Quotes

15. Practice Randomness

Creativity is random. It’s the complete opposite of being logical. To further strengthen my creative muscles, I like to play a game I heard about in a TED talk by Balder Onarheim. While brushing my teeth in the mornings, I’ll think of three random words and the trick is that they have to be completely random and different from each other. As with anything: The more you do it, the better you get. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

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