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February 17, 2012 at 1:59 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Recreating Creativity: 3 ways to get those juices flowing at work

By Matthew More Blogs by This Author

You know that feeling you get when your brain is tired? You reach that time of day where you cannot think or act except to plod along, doing the same mundane task you’ve been working on for the last several hours, days, or months. Your mind is spent, and you can only wait for the end of the day.

We all feel this way on occasion. We get so bogged down by our tasks that we feel as though our minds have been squeezed and dried like a dead sea sponge. But fear not! There are still ways for you to get those juices flowing again, even at work!

1. Did you know? Creativity does NOT come when you are most mentally and physically efficient.

There comes that time in every day when you are your most productive and alert. This occurs at different times depending on what kind of person you are. Some people get most of their work done in the morning. Others may find themselves more alert in the afternoon or evening. Whatever this time may be for you, it is often not the best time for you to try using your creative energies.

Try this instead. You know that time of day where you struggle to stay focused? Your mind wanders and you lose track of time. Maybe this happens while you’re in the shower, or taking a walk, or feeling tired and incoherent. That’s it! That’s the time when your river of creative juices flows most abundantly. At this time you may become distracted or let your thoughts wander aimlessly until you arrive on a subject and have no idea how you got there. That's your creativity at work. Take advantage of it.

2. What to avoid: Getting into a sad state.

A river flows down hill; your creative juices do not. Studies have shown that people who are exposed to sadder things did not do as well in solving problems creatively. These depressing materials include certain news stories or television programs. Simply put, sad things have a tendency to weigh you down and prevent you from freeing your mind and thinking creatively.

Instead, find ways to stay positive. Try starting your day by avoiding depressing things in the news, on television, or on the internet. If you are ever feeling down, find something that will pick your spirits back up. Watch a happy or funny video on YouTube. This is not to say that you should avoid sad things, but perhaps take a break from them if you need to get those juices flowing again.

3. What to try: Thinking outside the box.

This may sound cliché. It is not common, however, to do this literally. Studies have shown that workers tend to have a higher capacity for creative thinking when they have no physical constraints. Other creative metaphors also work in this way. For instance, a study showed that when people literally fit two objects together (embodying the metaphor of putting two and two together), they were then better at performing tasks that required convergent, logical thought. Perhaps the clichés are more truthful than we think.

Let’s put it this way. If your office or cubicle is your box, you need to think outside of it. Take some time to walk around and move freely. If you encounter a problem, try putting things together. They more than symbolize the problem you are trying to solve—they embody it. In essence, movement and freedom may allow your mind to work at a fuller creative capacity.

We all have those times when our river of creativity has run dry, but have no fear! By following these tips you can have the ability to get those creative juices flowing again and keep them running.

Are there any things that you do to help yourself think while you are at work? Have you noticed anything that has held you back creatively?

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4 Comments

  • AWESOME blog, Matt! :) Lots of great tips here and I really enjoyed reading it.

    I especially enjoyed your last point. The more I delve into psychology, the more clear our proneness to symbolic acts becomes. I've found studies that show when we cleanse ourselves, we literally feel less figuratively dirty about some bad thing we've done. I've found others that show carrying a heavy load, gets us thinking of "heavy topics."

    It's fascinating how those things affect us.

  • Great blog, Matthew! Love the topic you chose :)

    I like the second point you brought up. Sometimes to brighten your mood it is great to read some happy news or, like you mentioned, watch something funny on YouTube. happynews.com is one of my favorite websites. It pulls stories from all different news websites for your enjoyment. It's a great pick me up when something brings you down or you just need something to keep you going.

    Thanks for posting!

  • Try this! Rub on some hand lotion or smell some aromatherapy oils - this will quickly wake up your mind. If that doesn't work take a short trip to the water cooler and get a fresh drink of cold water.

  • I've just started a new system. If I'm ever having trouble focusing, I draw a little picture of an owl on the corner of a piece of scrap paper. It seems silly, but it works. It takes me only a minute to do, and then I glance at it occasionally throughout the day. It cheers me up and helps me refocus!

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