Whether you’re busy running your business, bumping up your brand reach or trying to come up with creative content marketing ideas, like many creative types, you occasionally hit the wall. Uh oh. It’s the dreaded Brain Drain! Sometimes we all need a creative boost to brighten our day. Here are some tips to get your brain back on track and moving forward to a more productive, creative workday.
1. Game On!
Playing games isn’t just a waste of time. The right kinds of games can shift your focus, allowing your higher creative functions to take a break while you cruise through some spatial or math based games. Try games that claim to boost your brain through science, like Luminosity or Fit Brains. After a 10-minute bout of brain games, I feel refreshed and ready to begin my next project. (Heck, try one of our branding quizzes—they’re fun!)
2. Step Outside
It’s the tail end of summer, so get outside and sweat a little! Physical activity is a great way to clear your head. Even a short walk can provide a lot of benefits. If your climate or schedule doesn’t allow for running out the door whenever you feel like it, be sure to schedule time at the gym several times a week to keep your brain and your body in tip-top shape. Try yoga at home to improve physical strength and flexibility, as well as mental stamina.
3. Stay Up Late
While it may sound counter-productive, night owls boast higher IQs—and that can’t hurt creativity. You can argue whether this is a causation-does-not-equal-correlation issue or even whether it’s a chicken-or-egg scenario, but regardless, there’s something to be said for staying up late!
4. …or be the Early Bird
Another study says that early risers are happier and more productive. So which one do you choose? I know there are a lot of people out there who will never be happy before 10am (and are downright murderous before their coffee!), but I also know that morning people love the air at dawn.
I think ALL studies agree getting enough sleep is what’s most important. So whether night owl or early bird—don’t skip on your zzz’s! If all else fails…
5. Take a Nap
If your nights are just too short, try to squeeze in a nap during the day. Many studies now reveal napping might be good for you. A quick “power nap” can “boost our brains, including improvements to creative problem solving, verbal memory, perceptual learning, object learning, and statistical learning.” Sounds like a great endorsement to me!
6. Be Social
I mean REALLY social. Too many of us waste time endlessly scrolling through our Facebook feed, without direction or purpose. I know it, you know it: It’s a huge time suck. Instead, call up a friend or colleague and bounce a few ideas off them. Even sending a quick email to a buddy (if you’d rather not interrupt with a call) can brighten up your day and clear your head. If you MUST go the social media route, set a specific time limit on your scrolling time and visit a particular site with a particular objective in mind. For example, if you need a break from work and you’re thinking about repainting your kitchen, hop over to Pinterest for some inspiration…but promise to stop scrolling after 10 minutes.
7. Get Your Groove On
Put on your favorite tunes and have a mini dance party. You can do this in your car or even at your desk. (Hey, invite your coworkers if everyone needs to get pumped up on a Monday afternoon!) If you think background tunes are the best way to free up all that creative energy, be sure your music is upbeat and not too loud. Music can have a noticeable effect on mood, plus loud music can be distracting.
8. Just Take a Time Out Already!
When your brain needs a break, it’s great for your body and mind if you take time out and do something with your hands. Cook something, take up knitting, create something, or read a book for leisure. Take up a new hobby. Look on MeetUp.com for great new ideas on fun stuff to do and cool people to meet! Just stay away from too much TV or too much boozin’. I know, I know—I’m taking away all the fun stuff. But like they say, everything in moderation. (…and hey, I love me some beer!)
Whatever you do to boost your creativity, the best strategies usually involve shifting your focus from whatever you’re working on, at least for a little while. They say sitting is the new smoking, so look for activities that involve moment, or at the very least, a change of scenery. To keep your team creative and focused, try having your next meeting standing up or even outside. After all, a great company culture is a great way to build a fabulous brand!