6 Tricks to Stimulate Creativity and Productivity

Meeting planners are known for their amazing energy and creativity, but even they at times find that their well runs dry. Rather than simply accept these situations, they can take steps to not only effectively work through them, but also to produce some of their best work.

Here are a few tricks that can help meeting planners.

Start with something fun: Before beginning a challenging day, do something enjoyable to ease yourself into work. This can be an activity before work or a task that you enjoy at your job. Or, you might want to do simple, routine tasks to get in the groove. In terms of organizing the remainder of the work day, people have a variety of preferences. Some people like to do most of their challenging work in the morning because they are alert and energized, while others build up momentum throughout the day, and are at their best later. Still others like to alternate easy and challenging tasks during the course of the day. The important thing is to find what routine works best for you.

Dive in: Meeting professionals—perfectionists, in particular—often have a problem getting started on a project because they want to make sure they have a clear, creative plan and that everything is in place. While it’s important to plan and organize, this can go on forever. Dive in, even if many uncertainties remain. In most cases, projects change as they develop, anyway, so excessive planning wastes time. And once you begin working, you’ll find that the project will come into a clearer focus. Breaking projects into stages or steps—and feeling the satisfaction of completion of each one—is also important to maintain your enthusiasm.

Go quiet: It’s sometimes necessary to intently focus on projects without interruptions. Closing office doors, silencing phones and communicating to co-workers your need for privacy can help. Some professionals also use SelfControl, a free and open-source application for Mac OS X that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers and anything else on the internet for a specific period of time. You are unable to access those sites, even if you restart your computer or delete the application.

Don’t think about work: When your creative juices aren’t flowing, totally reorient yourself during your lunch break by not thinking one iota about your work. Read a book, go for a swim, talk with co-workers, go for a drive—but don’t think about work. You will return with a fresh, open mind, and might come up with ideas and solutions that are outside the box you were thinking in.

Move: If you’re tired or in a rut, take a walk. Movement is energizing and can stimulate thinking and creativity. Even a 15-to-20-minute walk can help to refresh and reorient you. It’s also important to take brief breaks by getting up and walking to the bathroom, checking in with co-workers, getting some water or coffee, etc.

Reflect: If you feel unmotivated and unproductive, pause to reflect on the bigger picture—on what is really important to you about what you are doing, and even about your life in general. Remind yourself of what you are accomplishing and how it contributes to your own personal ambitions and those of your company. By realizing the importance of the end results, you’ll feel invigorated to tackle even the most mundane means to achieve them.

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