Like most people I have a day job.
I'm a graphic designer for an in-house marketing team here in Phoenix. Most of my work is pretty straight forward. It's corporate work with corporate clients. Many times it can be cut and dry.
So, I've written up ideas I try to remind myself of when I need inspiration. Maybe one or two might spark an idea for you.
Play - Explore new directions for the brand or products you're representing, even if they are just concepts. Experiment with new colors, type treatments and patterns. Think of possible messages and strategies. Make note of the business reasons for your ideas, you never know when they may come in handy.
Volunteer - Start doing something with a professional organization such as AIGA. Volunteer your time or donate work to a cause that benefits students or those in need.
Teach something - Help someone who needs assistance in your field of study. Perhaps you have a relative or know a student that might have questions about your line of work. Be there for them. Educate your clients and team members as well. Offer guidance in a sincere, non-egotistical manner.
Learn something - Being a life-learner is vital to finding satisfaction both in our careers and personal lives. Take a class, start a new DIY project or perfect a signature dish.
Read something - Not everyone loves reading, but reading can open up TONS of opportunities. Whether it's books or blogs, seek out expert advice that can help you grow. Read, read, read. (Just remember to watch who you're taking advice from.)
Freelance - Unless it's completely against your employers policies, take on a freelance job once and a while. Not only can this provide you with more experience, you have the opportunity to be more selective about the work you take on. (Just don't forget the tax man!)
Get Out of the Office - If at all possible, change your work environment on occasion. We innovate by looking at the world differently, not behaving like corporate robots! Right? My employers understand this and it has helped me many times when faced with a challenging creative problem. It's amazing how adjusting ones work environment can lead to breakthroughs.
Embrace the Cube - If you have to work in a cubicle, make it as lively as possible. Hang your art, color swatches, posters, anything that will inspire you. Turn your cubicle into a space that represents your vision, goals and persona. Build a library of magazines and books at your desk. Be a resource for others.
Do Good - No matter what, don't sacrifice your personal values. Be determined to see every project succeed, no matter if it's for yourself, your boss or your clients. Be kind to others, but don't compromise high standards. Be firm, but respectful when disagreements arise. Collaborate, yet advocate for what is best for the brand and your client, not yourself. All of this will increase your sense of satisfaction in your work.
Love - It's an emotional word, but that's the point. Show others that you love what you do. If you have a talent or a skill, let it be known and help others. I believe that success born from pure motives is the most satisfactory. (That's why we run into people these days who have lots of money, but aren't happy. It's something to remind ourselves of.)
Don't expect rainbows and butterflies all the time. Office politics, tough customers, tight deadlines and stress will more than likely continue. The bottom line is that success comes with time and only if you work at seeking out and holding on to what inspires you personally.