7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity
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By Guest Blogger Susan Kiernan-Lewis /
While I’m as big a believer as anyone else in the whole “just do it” mentality, when it comes to buckling down on a project, I have to admit I’m always on the look-out for an edge in the process. To that end, here are seven things that work for me from time to time.
Eat breakfast. I know, I know. I always suspected Kellogs invented this one, but it turns out it’s probably true. At least one-quarter of all Americans skip breakfast (me included). But studies show an increase in productivity—not to mention lower weight—if we eat breakfast. (Preferably not beignets and Fruit Loops—or at least not every morning.)
Sit less. Okay, this one is a little tricky when, like me, you spend the day in front of a computer. But a recent 14-year study showed that there was a 20% increase in the death rate (40% for women) for people who sat six hours or more every day. So! Motivation to get up and move? CHECK! Which leads us to #3…
Exercise helps your mental performance and overall productivity. Turns out hitting the gym during the day will help you problem-solve and write better, longer. (Don’t you hate it when Jillian Michaels is right?)
Get a dog. Well, it doesn’t have to be a dog. Any kind of a pet will do. The reasoning behind this is that having an animal nearby while you work promotes trust and team cohesion. On the other hand, if you work alone, and collaboration is not an issue, skip the dog and get back to work!
Kill the commute. If you write in your back bedroom, go on to the next item on the list. If you have a job that forces you out of the house, a new finding has revealed that a commute of much duration significantly decreases your quality of life. Not really a jaw-dropper for most of us.
Use all your vacation days. An article from the Harvard Business Review reported that “More than half of all Americans …fail to take all of their vacation days.” Before I worked for myself, I struggled to understand people who didn’t take paid days off from work. Now that I do what I love for a living—writing fiction—I have to force myself to walk away from the computer for any length of time. But I know—just like when I was working the crappy office job—I still need time away to refill the creative well.
Get pissed. And I mean that in the American sense, not the British. New studies show that getting angry (sad works too) is a key driver to creativity. This makes sense if you’ve ever knocked out some of your best work right after you were dumped, got fired, or lost your cat. Anger, it seems, fuels idea generation while sadness drives us to work harder.
So there you have it! Seven ways to boost your creativity and get the most out of whatever you’re working on. I trust you will now grab your egg muffin, stop playing with the dog, and get back to work! Because at the end of the day and before you can do any of the things on this list, you first need to put your butt in the chair and “just do it.”
Susan Kiernan-Lewis is the award-winning author of the Maggie Newberry Mysteries—the cozy mystery series set in Provence—as well as the dystopian thriller series “The Irish End Games.” Susan has a background in advertising and has worked in the multiple countries in ad agencies as creative copywriter/producer.
Follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and check out her heart-pounding page-turners wherever ebooks are sold. The Maggie Newberry Mysteries, The Irish End Games, The Mia Kazmaroff Mysteries, and the romantic suspense time travel trilogy, Ella Out of Time.
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