One year ago I was groggily woken up to the sound of my beeping phone.
I was at University in Hawaii working towards my bachelors in Marketing and had a full class schedule ahead of me that day.
Lazily I flicked through my Instagram as my bleary eyes slowly adjusted to the light. I checked my email, clicked on the black hole known as Facebook.
I glanced up at the time, “7:59am” somehow 30 minutes had passed and I was about to be late for my 8:00am class. I tore off the covers threw on some clothes and bolted down the road.
Sitting in class my group was told to come up with a creative marketing plan for a local, Food Truck. I’d known about this project for a while but had not given it much thought.
I stared at the blank sheet of paper for a few minutes but the only ideas popping into my head where classic, ordinary and frankly boring.
Suddenly a girl from our group layed out a great plan. She had combined a couple new ideas she had heard of recently with her own creative spins. We loved it, the teacher loved it, and I have since passed it on to a friend who decided to implement the idea with the Food Truck he recently opened on the North Shore of Oahu.
We ALL have experienced that screeching, mind blank moment I had that morning. Why couldn’t I come up with something new, interesting, or creative? I may not be Einstein, but I had done it in the past.
I’ll give you the secret. It had a lot to do with how I had started my day, and since figuring out how start it properly, I have experienced 10X my creative output each day.
Below I have created a step-by-step guideline on how to start your day off right- while boosting your creativity and ability to problem-solve.
The morning is a great time for solitude and reflection. Your mind is fresh and uncluttered brimming with new ideas.
The first thing I used to do every morning was check my phone. This is a mistake if you are trying to harbor creativity. A study by Deloitte showed that 61% of people check their smartphone within 5 minutes of waking up.
Psychological research long ago proved what most of us know from experience: frequent interruptions scatter our thoughts, weaken our memory, and make us tense and anxious
- Nicholas Carr, The Shallows
Checking your phone first thing in the morning scatters your thoughts. You lose precious optimal brain clarity and activity. Instead of becoming distracted first thing in the morning, leave the phone on the side and do the following:
Studies in Neuroscience show that when we meditate and focus inwardly, our brains find new thought-networks and our neurological connections change and improve. This gives our brains the opportunity to think about our problems or goals from different angles, enabling us with newer and more creative solutions.
Meditating for 5–10 minutes a day can come in many forms. For me this is prayer. For others this is quiet reflection. Focusing on gratitude and solution-finding will open your mind to new and creative ways to tackle your daily tasks.
A study on NCBI associated meditation with numerous cognitive and psychological benefits, including:
Thought Dumping is the practice of writing down any and all ideas that pop into your head onto a physical sheet of paper. Being distraction free, you let your mind just do what it does best:
Right after you wake up, when your mind is fresh and loose, let the ideas flow while you simply “listen” and write. Open up a journal and write ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that comes to mind for about 5–10 minutes.
This practice is beneficial when it comes to personal creativity because it trains your brain to be comfortable with roaming and developing unique thoughts.
Many of these thoughts, goals, ideas, and dreams you allow to flow in a “thought dump” have incredible potential, yet they cannot become reality if they are forgotten, so:
Write Them Down!
The purpose of thought dumping is not only to go back and read your ideas sometime in the distant future, but to reinforce them in your brain so they can continuously and subconsciously influence you.
To do this, don’t use your phone or laptop- you need pen and paper. Use a journal and a pen, or simply a sheet of paper. This helps carve these ideas into your brain in a more permanent manner.
Scientific American published an article about the differences of hand-writing your notes versus typing notes on a computer.
“Taking notes by hand requires different types of cognitive processing than taking notes on a laptop, and these different processes have consequences for learning.”
Furthermore they explain the advantages of taking notes by hand.
“Taking notes by hand forces the brain to engage in some heavy “mental lifting,” and these efforts foster comprehension and retention”.
Your thoughts are the blueprint of the life you are building one day at a time. When you learn to channel your thinking — both consciously and subconsciously — you create the conditions that make the achievement of your goals inevitable.
Benjamin P. Hardy
Your thoughts determine your actions — which determine your destiny. As you focus on taking these tangible and physical actions, you will find the power to increase the clarity and creativity of your mind.
If you are serious about creativity, I’ve created a free checklist for putting yourself into peak productivity & creativity. If you follow this daily, you’ll be able to prioritize your life and proactively create the life you want.
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