Do you think of yourself as creative? The chances are that whether you said yes or no, you are more creative than you think. Everyone has the ability to think outside the box and come up with something that wasn’t there before. But many of us hinder our own efforts by repeating habits that block creativity, especially in the workplace. So, how can you instead enforce habits that promote creativity at work?
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The Importance of Sleep
Lack of sleep is an increasingly prescient ailment upon American society. Most adults do not get enough sleep, which can negatively impact cognition and motor function. The synapses in your brain shoot messages to each other at a slower rate when sleep deprived, and thus cognitive ability decreases. Creativity is directly related to cognitive ability and your brain’s ability to connect different and seemingly unrelated thoughts. If you are someone who has trouble sleeping, you might consider turning off all electronic devices an hour before you intend to go to bed, adjusting your diet to include less sugars and carbohydrates, or exercise with more regularity and/or intensity.
Exercise and Other Ways to Eliminate Stress
Stress has been proven to debilitate creative thought. If a person is stressed out, their brain’s creative capacity decreases. Exercise is a great way to de-stress and keep your stress level low. But exercise also has the added benefit of helping your brain by increasing blood flow, thus bolstering its health and ability to function.
Beware the Rut
Working the old 9 to 5 can create a monotonous routine that can get stale quickly if you aren’t careful. However that doesn't mean you can't find ways to switch up your routine by taking a mental break. Try taking a walk outside, drinking coffee, listening to music, finding time to share new ideas with your team, taking breaks to read relevant blogs or watch inspirational videos, meditating, learning something new in an online course, or even pulling out a journal or sketch book to jot down your thoughts.
Getting Out of the Same Space
Part of mixing up your day can be getting out of the space where you normally work. As you get more and more used to one space, it will naturally inspire you less. If you can move around and work from someplace other than your usual place, or even just change your perspective of your workplace, it will help improve your creative flow.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Maybe it will shake something loose?” This is a phrase often used when talking about the brain. When your mind seems stuck, sometimes it helps to do something that will help an idea pop out. Well, interestingly enough, just getting up and moving around can really help with that. Something about your body moving helps your mind move. So next time you feel stuck, just get up and move around, do some push ups or a silly dance. You never know what might shake out that idea you’ve been waiting for.
Go for a Walk
If all else fails, take a walk outside. Evidence suggests that walking outdoors can boost your creativity for hours afterwards. The jury is still out on why, but the prevailing theory suggests that something about the combination of motion and changing scenery, as well as a natural environment, can help your brain jumpstart new ideas and create connections that were otherwise elusive.
There are many things successful creatives do. For more about how to improve your creativity at work, check out more of our blog, where we talk about the importance of removing distractions, of keeping yourself open to new experiences, and other cool ways to boost your creativity.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).