Creative Ways to Be Inspired at Your Creative Job

How to be inspired? Ahhh a question for the ages.

Even the best, most creative gigs can seem… automatic sometimes. If you are finding yourself feeling unengaged, on autopilot and in an uninspired spot - fear not! There are creative ways to make your creative gig even better.

1. Put Constraints on Yourself

It sounds strange but putting limitations and constraints on yourself forces you to think of new ways to do old things. Boundaries create a problem-solving scenario and produce ‘newness’ and novelty by making you to think in new ways.

Try limiting resources, time... coffee. If you always type your ideas - make yourself bust out a #2. The point is not deprivation but inspiration. Think about it - some of Shakespeare’s most creative works are his sonnets. Sonnets, are like haiku - there are rules, rules, rules. What he did with those rules? Wowza.

Removing one aspect of how you normally work makes it possible to think more creatively about your project. Give it a whirl.

2. Get a Change of Scenery

There are a few ways to do this. In the literal sense: move your chair, go outside for a coffee, find a new meeting room, or take a walk. You can either just use the walk to clear your mind and breathe or you can use it to observe your world in a new way. Take a new route to your coffee joint and check out the storefronts or people’s shoes. If actual movement isn’t possible - change your screensaver, or desktop, put up a postcard of Belize. The visual inspirations you find can be game changing.

In the less than literal sense: meditate. A change of scenery of the mind can have real impact. Download an app like Headspace, find a quiet conference room and meditate, if only for ten minutes.

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3. Ask Yourself, WW?D

Diego Rivera? Jane Maase? Queen Bey?

Choose someone who inspires you. How do you think THEY would tackle your project? I personally love to invoke the Dolly Parton Principle (I just assume she has a way of getting things done with a rhinestone gun!) On your desk, showcase a postcard of your idol, a copy of that groundbreaking book by your favorite designer/writer/ad maven on your desk, a print of that one masterpiece by that photographer - make a little shrine to the creativity deity of your choice. When you’re feeling uninspired ask WWDPD? I mean really... what would Dolly Parton do??

4. Investigate the Creativity of Others

Podcasts, daily stories, Song of the Day, Image of the Day. The options are endless. Let the creativity of others help you to look at yours in a new way.

If a daily dose doesn’t work for you, go on a deep dive and research someone completely out of your field. Are you a copywriter? Pick a designer whose work you never took much time to look at previously and go deep. Get out of your creativity comfort zone.

5. Brainstorm Alternatives

You know those banner ads you design daily with one hand tied behind your back? Is there some other way to do them? To make them more interesting - to you at least? Brainstorm different ways to do them. Even if you don’t end up implementing them - just the act of brainstorming ideas will kick your brain into creative mode.

Notice all those things you do without thinking. List five ways to do them with thinking.

6.  Set Deadlines

Set a deadline on your project - for yourself. Make it aggressive. In what new ways will you need to work in order to get things done sooner?  Make your project a riddle, a challenge that will let you experiment with your ideas about what you are capable of.

7. Find Your Way

If you’ve never made a mindmap before… get on it! Try mindmapping your creative career goals. Want to get a promotion or want to solve a big departmental problem? Mindmap what you need to do to get there. Make it simple, crazy, intensely detailed or broad strokes. Make it yours.

8. Challenge Yourself

Set a daily creative challenge unrelated to your current work but possible at the office. A seemingly small creative task can get your brain in a thoughtful creative space (it’s even better if your mini projects are miles away from your daily creative ‘grind’). Treat it as meditation, not goofing off. You never know where it will take you.


Creative gigs are still… gigs, and sometimes you just need a little shakeup. Give a few of these a try or make up your own - the point is simply to get creative with the job, not just on the job.

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