The feeling of being unproductive and running out of ideas happens to the best of us. Try these tips and you might just be surprised with the results.

As in any job, marketing has its ups and downs. Sometimes the campaigns you plan and execute are a success; sometimes they’re not. It can feel like riding a roller coaster ride, and it’s not always easy to pick yourself up when you’re down, especially when your boss is looking for you to justify the direct ROI of an initiative. So what can you do to turn the other cheek and keep on going when the going gets rough? Here are 5 tips to consider:

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously

For a long time I placed a lot of importance on the job I did as a marketer. And while I still always work hard and do my best to ensure that our clients are happy with the campaigns we run, I have come to realize that the stress we put on ourselves in the day to day is arbitrary. No tiger is chasing after you to eat you. No-one is going to die if your marketing experiment doesn’t turn out as planned. While marketing work can be rewarding, we are not saving lives. Let’s face it – working in marketing is not like working in the ER! So take the pressure off of yourself. In the big scheme of things, life will continue even if your project is not 100% perfect. By putting things in perspective, it should help you to focus on the positive, and not let the negative drain the energy out of you.

2. Put your ego aside

I just finished reading Ryan Holiday’s book entitled The Ego is the Enemy. In it, he provides examples of how the downfall of many great people has been brought about by their unhealthy belief in their own self-importance and arrogance. He advocates that we all be, “Humble in our aspirations; gracious in our success; and resilient in our failures.”

As marketers, we are subject to constant criticism. In order to grow, learn and improve, it’s important not to take such criticism personally, but rather as a way to keep your ego in check and constantly work to do better. As I say in my recent vlog post about online trolls, the haters are going to hate no matter what you put out there; the worst thing you can do is let your ego get in the way and try to defend yourself tool and nail instead of letting it roll off your back.

3. Get in a good laugh

Sometimes when I’m feeling like I’m in a slump, I take 10 minutes to watch my favorite comedians on YouTube. Having a good laugh is an instantaneous way to release tension and stress; it’s also great for changing a negative mindset. I find that when I’m down, I’m not productive anyway, so there’s no point in insisting. A few minutes watching a video can do wonders to boost your mood and get you back on track.

4. Go outside

I lead a highly sedentary lifestyle (as do most marketers). Sitting down in front of a computer screen all day can literally take the life out of you if you’re not careful. In fact, I have even read that “sitting is the new smoking,” which is why it’s very important to plan time in your day, EVERYDAY, to go outside and get some exercise. Even just a walk around the block can do wonders to help clear your head and change your mood. So put your sneakers on and get walking — you may also find that the most creative ideas will come to you when you’re out and about instead of stuck inside in front of your laptop.

5. Make work-life balance a thing

A long time ago I worked for a guy who insisted I be present in the office for long hours, even if I had finished everything I set out to accomplish that day. There’s nothing worse to kill motivation than having no life outside of work. Work-life balance is one of the most important factors for true productivity in my opinion; if you enjoy yourself outside of work and can truly disconnect, you’ll be more focused and better at what you do when you are at work. When you’re with your friends or family, make sure to turn off your phone, put the screens away, and plan an activity that you all enjoy together. Be present in the moment instead of thinking of all the things you have to do. And most important of all — have fun!

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