Getting out of a rut

We’ve all been there. The deadline is looming, the clock is ticking, and you just can’t seem to pull yourself from a brain fog. Whether brought on by stress, burnout, or a plain lack of inspiration, a rut can feel almost impossible to remove yourself from. But dear reader, there is hope! Get advice from your friends at M as they share how they push past it and get back to crushing their goals when motivation is hard to come by.

Let’s ask all-star Account Manager, Sully:

“When I find myself in a rut, I find it helps to physically remove myself from the situation, even if for just a moment. I'll go make myself a coffee or take a walk outside and come back with fresh eyes. Sometimes all I need is that mental reset. I also love writing my thoughts in a list as they progress. It helps to see the solution build and remember where I started, especially if I’m pressed for time and I’m feeling scattered.”

Next up, our UX wizard, Adam.

“When I don’t know how to solve something, I like to ask myself more questions. Am I missing something? Maybe there’s an insight still to uncover? What don’t I know? Digging deeper tends to show me that I’m in a rut because I’m lacking information. It also helps me to get out and go for a walk. Getting out of the context of work and breathing fresh air clears my mind and lets things settle a bit. Sometimes solutions arise when you’re not actively thinking of the problem. I’m also a big fan of YouTube videos. There’s an endless amount of people giving all kinds of advice, not all of it good, so take it with a grain of salt, but watching a few speakers talk about a new approach or ‘outside of the box’ thinking can help me see things from a different angle.”

We’re two for two when it comes to going outside, folks — get those walking shoes on!

Lastly, let’s hear from our Executive Creative Director, Rob:

“Here are three key methods I have for getting out of a creative rut: I either turn to nature, turn to another creative outlet, or sometimes simply turn off my mind for a while.

I find that time in nature — whether I’m on a walk in the woods or just gardening — is creatively invigorating for me. It gets me out of my head and allows me to connect with the ancient, the primal and the soulful side of life.

Other times, I turn to a different creative outlet. If I’m having a hard time writing, I often turn to another way of expressing myself. For some people, that may be drawing, painting, knitting or cooking. For me, it’s photography. I often find that exercising different creative or artistic muscles help strengthen the ones I rely on day in and day out.

And when all else fails, I will spend a little time turning off my mind. Nothing is quite as recharging as downtime. Many studies have shown that boredom is one of the greatest creativity kickstarters among young children. It's also true with adults. We need time to turn off our brains so that when we come back to a task, we can hit it with renewed enthusiasm, energy and creativity. Taken together, these three methods never fail me.”

There you have it, no matter the discipline you work in, sometimes getting away from the task you're trying so hard to tackle is the answer! Not for long, of course — the deadlines won’t be going away anytime soon, but let these answers serve as permission to give yourself a break! Whether it’s changing your surroundings or eating a good snack, take the time you need for your mind to settle and recharge. We promise, the rut never lasts forever.