If you’re like most people, you’re most productive in the morning. But as the day progresses, you start to slow down. Your productivity plummets, and you struggle to concentrate. Here are six creativity-boosting activities you can do at work.
In other words, you need a break. Break is necessary for creativity. If you want to come up with new ideas, you have to give yourself a breather after deep work. Here are a few ways to help you recharge all cylinders, refocus and kick off your workday:
1. Have breakfast.
Before or after lunch, eating a snack is one of the best ways to get your mind back in gear. However, consider your portion carefully: Large meals can upset you and cause you to feel sleepy. Instead, eat something light to stay alert when you return to work.
Equally important, choose your snack wisely. It might be convenient to grab something that looks good from the company’s cafeteria, but it’s not going to be of any use to your creativity. Plan ahead to make sure you’re fueling up with foods that can supercharge creativity: Nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and salmon are all great options.
Make sure to stay hydrated even while eating. Contrary to what you may have heard, drinking water during meals improves digestion. Drinking enough water keeps your mind clear and thoughts flowing.
2. Practice a hobby.
If you’re feeling drained, creatively speaking, the solution is not to eliminate all creativity. Instead, try working in a different medium.
If you’re a writer, find a place where you don’t disturb others to practice some guitar lessons. If you’re a graphic artist, take a day off to write a page in your journal. And if you’re a fashion designer, take an afternoon break to sketch the landscape outside your office window.
What is important is not the hobby itself; It’s that you’re giving yourself a whole new place to play. Don’t judge what you make. Just have fun, and see where your creativity takes you. Hire a journal, work of art, or music recording for inspiration.
3. Get some exercise.
Do you know that when you sit in one place for a long time, you get the feeling of ants? Take the opportunity to rise up and move on. You’ll come back feeling invigorated and relaxed, a combination only exercise can provide.
Go for a jog. Rent a bicycle from a kiosk near your workplace. Stop by the gym. Get stretched in the parking lot. Even a walk on the sidewalk can help you stay away from the stress of the office.
When the weather is nice, go outside. Even compared to indoor exercise, outdoor activities elevate mood, reduce depression and improve self-esteem. When you return to the office, you will be able to go back in, with your blood flowing and your brain clearing out.
4. Take a nap.
Bosses probably won’t be happy if you sleep through the day, but naps are great ways to recharge your creative batteries. Many of today’s top companies acknowledge the value of mid-day power naps, including Google, The Huffington Post and NASA.
The ideal power nap is just 20 minutes long, and it can do wonders to melt away stress, increase alertness, and improve your mood. Resist the temptation to extend the nap: Not only is this unprofessional, but it can also leave you feeling foggy or even more tired afterward.
Get permission from your direct support if you want to try this creativity-boosting strategy. Assuming you get the green light, bring a small pillow, an eye mask, and a light blanket that you can put next to your desk. If you snore, avoid distracting others by finding a place with fewer people.
High levels of stress affect not only productivity, but also creativity. If you’re working on a stressful project or have client calls, take a break to meditate.
Different people meditate differently. Some people focus on their breathing. Others simply listen to the sounds around them. Still others chant mantras or repeat positive affirmations. The most important thing is to silence your inner critic for a few minutes.
6. Play a game of chess.
Chess may not be your favorite sport, but it is a great way to get your creative juices flowing again. Research suggests that playing chess can promote originality, fluency, and mental flexibility.
This is because chess requires players to combine patterns in new ways. Regular chess players recognize early-, middle- and end-game patterns. Winning requires them to be put together in ways that dodge one’s opponent.
Trying to coerce creativity is like trying to squeeze more toothpaste out of an empty tube. At some point, your brushes may be affected by applying more force.