Wishing you knew how to be creative? The answer may rest in an area of life you may not have considered. Raise your hand if your morning routine is akin to sucking dry every last minute of sleep from your alarm clock just so you can body tackle your kids onto the morning bus, gulp back a caffeinated beverage and rush to start on your work?
If you thought the rush was helping you by getting you to your next task faster – research says you are wrong. The frenetic pace of a morning routine can literally kill creativity. So although you may be getting to your work faster, the rush makes it much more difficult to properly work on your work.
In the 2011 study, researchers Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks found that we are most receptive to so-called blue-sky ideas (creative ideas not limited by current thinking or beliefs) when we are at our groggiest, that is, when we first wake up.
The study, involving 428 undergraduate students, tested the insight problem-solving skills of the students at various times of day. The self-identified night owls were most successful in the morning, while morning people had the best luck in the evening. Researchers also found that creativity can be stifled when negative emotions arise or if exposed to bad news.
Morning Tips On How To Be Creative:To help you make better choices with your morning, consider these 5 tips to get your creative juices flowing:
- Get up earlier: How could this possibly help your sleepy mind be more creative? Your grogginess is the key to brilliance. Find time to allow your foggy head to come up with some clever ideas and then get up and write them down.
- Skip the morning paper: Also affecting our ability to be creative is our exposure to negative emotions and bad news. Participants in a study were found to be less able to creatively problem-solve after exposure to sad film clips, suggesting that it might be smarter to save the morning newspaper for your lunch break – or maybe smarter to just avoid it completely.
- Indulge in some caffeine: Researchers also found that our morning caffeine isn't such a bad thing. The morning jolt it offers can actually help with creativity, not only making us more alert, but also increasing our dopamine levels, which influence our level of motivation.
- Carve out at least 5 minutes each morning: Use this time to relax or meditate prior to beginning your work. Researchers find that these few minutes will help promote creativity. So find time to enjoy the moment by indulging in a long shower, just sitting or reading from a favorite book.
- Prepare for your mornings better: Take some time to objectively observe your morning potholes, and then make some changes. For instance, if your kids are late for the bus everyday – consider limiting TV time or have them get dressed before breakfast. Using a to-do list or online tools can also help improve your morning productivity and creativity.