There is a common misconception that in order to get more work done, you’ve got to put in long hours. Yes, hard work and dedication are two valuable assets, but if you want to produce quality work and boost your creativity, you actually need to step away. Creativity takes a lot of different cognitive components coming together.
Without getting too technical, the frontal lobe of the brain handles emotions, reasoning, planning, movement, and parts of speech. It is also involved in purposeful acts such as creativity, judgment, and problem solving, and planning. That’s a lot for one lobe to handle. And it’s not the only part of the brain that plays a part in creativity. Other parts of the brain that are important for creative thinking include the frontal cortex, hippocampus, and basal ganglia. As you can see, a lot is involved in striking up a brilliant, creative idea. But let’s not get stressed over this information. In fact, studies have shown that stress is a major hindrance to creative thinking.
Why Do Breaks Boost Creativity?
Let’s talk about the reasons why taking a break is good for your creativity, and practical ways to implement breaks into your workflow. Even if you’re not a creative person or in a creative role, these tips can help you problem solve and increase your performance.
1. Vitamin D and Fresh Air Reawaken Your Senses.
Creative thinking may be a result of multiple functions in the brain, but your entire body is part of the process. Stepping outside and getting sunshine energizes your body. It gives your senses a fresh boost.
2. Take a Water Break to Hydrate.
We all joke that we need another cup of coffee to wake up or to get an afternoon energy boost. But, the real science is no other beverage does more good for your brain and your body than water. If you absolutely must have coffee be sure to follow it up with a full glass of water. If you find yourself yawning at the computer screen, get up and go drink a glass of water. A hydrated body and brain will perform much better than a dehydrated one.
3. Meditation in Small Doses.
It can be hard to convince yourself to take time to meditate. And it is a common misconception that in order to meditate you have to somehow stop thinking. That is not the case. Meditation is simply the act of slowing down to notice the present moment. It gives your mind a rest which can in turn boost your memory and creativity. Even just doing so for five minutes at a time is better than nothing.
4. Get Inspired by Music and Art.
Maybe you don’t have time to visit an art museum or go to a concert, but you can incorporate music and art throughout your workday. Listen to instrumental music when you need to focus, or upbeat music when you need some extra energy. Program your computer’s wallpaper to be a slideshow of different art throughout the day.
5. Change Your Routine.
If you’ve found yourself in a rut, doing the nearly the same thing day in and day out, you may find your creativity lacking. When we explore something new we activate new patterns and new perspectives. Exploring topics that are unrelated to the tasks at hand can inspire creative ideas, and open up your eyes to connections you previously may not have seen.
If any of these ways to boost your creativity seem like an undertaking then simplify it. Just stepping away from your work station for five minutes to stretch or walk around can help. The key is not to force anything. The more pressure you put on yourself to be creative or to problem solve the more resistance you will find.
Putting It Into Practice
As a writer and content creator myself, I have find my best ideas when I relax. Have you ever had an idea come to you right before you fall alseep? What about when you’re in the shower? Yeah, me too. Sometimes I do not have the luxury of being able to step away. Sometimes a deadline looms or urgency is at hand, and it is in those moments that I have found a way to take a deep breath and open my mind. The key is to remember that in order to access the part of the brain that handles creativity, you’ve got to give it some space and freedom. When in doubt, jot down whatever ideas you have and come back to them. Take care of your mind and it will take care of you.