Creativity feels elusive at times. But if you study the most successful and creative people in the world, you’ll discover that they work hard to consistently cultivate inspiration. One of the ways they do this is by strategically optimizing their morning routines. Here are a few of the tasks and habits they prioritize:
Wake Up Earlier
Sleep is one of the key ingredients to being happy and healthy. However, a majority of Americans continue to live their lives without getting the shut-eye they need to be successful. Among other things, this stifles creativity.
Imagine what you could do if you went to bed at a reasonable hour and woke up 30 to 60 minutes earlier than usual. This would free up meaningful time in your morning schedule to accomplish things that you otherwise wouldn’t get done. (And you wouldn’t feel rushed!)
Resist the temptation to start your morning off with a screen. Whether it’s flipping the TV on when you’re lying in bed, reaching for your smartphone on the bedside table, or checking your email over breakfast, early morning screen time is a creativity killer.
By disconnecting from digital distractions, you give yourself the bandwidth to think independently and creatively (rather than crowd your mind with other thoughts, opinions, and external influences).
Do Something Artistic
Everyone should make time for doing at least one artistic task every morning. Whether that’s drawing a picture, playing a musical instrument, or writing poetry, 15 minutes of artistic expression puts the brain in a creative frame of mind that will define the rest of your waking hours.
Walk to Work
Nothing stifles creativity quite like a hectic drive into the office. Why not switch things up and occasionally walk to work?
Walking – particularly if it’s a scenic or visually stimulating path – is known to boost creativity and inspiration. Just make sure you’re being safe and watching out for drivers (who usually aren’t looking out for you).
Is caffeine a creative catalyst or suppressant? There’s a mixed bag of research on the topic. However, most people find that it leads to a greater capacity for focus.
Assuming you use this focus appropriately – shifting your mind to valuable tasks and pursuits – coffee can be a very useful early morning concoction.
For many centuries, leading thinkers have seen meditation as an excellent practice for centering the mind and amplifying creativity. But researchers have more recently discovered that the kind of meditation you do matters.
According to Mindful.org, “Open-monitoring meditation (observing and noting phenomena in the present moment and keeping attention flexible and unrestricted) was far more effective in stimulating divergent thinking, a key driver of creativity.”
Never meditated? There’s no better time to start learning. Between podcasts, YouTube videos, and books, there are plenty of resources to teach you how to get started.
Listen to Music
Research shows that music assists in stimulating the part of the brain that controls emotions and creativity. If you want to boost your creative thinking and output, turn on some classical music. (This is known as The Mozart Effect.)
The human brain loves lists. (It’s why so many we see so many listicle articles with headlines like “77 Ways to Use a Paperclip in Your Daily Routine.”) But did you know that you can actually jumpstart your own creativity by making lists in the morning?
Pick a random topic – or one that you’re interested in – and put to pen to paper:
- 7 reasons football is the best sport
- 12 ways you can repurpose an egg carton
- The 4 best ways to cook chicken
- 14 new product ideas for your business
Don’t stress about making every item on your list perfect. The important thing is that you’re forcing your brain to produce. (Setting a timer will give you an even bigger boost.)
What Does Your Morning Routine Look Like?
Your morning routine is yours. You don’t have to replicate anything, regardless of how successful others are. However, it is helpful to study what others are doing in order that you can optimize your own approach and enhance your creativity.
Which tactics will you apply?