Wouldn’t it be great if your mornings always sparked creativity? It might seem impossible, but there’s a lot you can do to make your mornings work for you.
We all know the feeling; the alarm goes off and your good intentions of the night before end with the snooze button. Five minutes becomes ten and, before you know it, you’ve spent half your morning in bed.
Sometimes it is hard to nurture the creative spark. Without a plan, you could spend hours staring at a blank screen or making endless cups of coffee. A morning routine can be a powerful tool to get you into the creative mindset. Here’s five things you can do to tap into your creativity every day.
1. Creative days start with the pen
Studies have shown that we’re at our most creative when we think we’re at our least productive. Keep a notebook by your bed to capture flashes of inspiration, or empty out the worries stealing your creative time. Get into the habit of writing down what’s running through your mind the moment you open your eyes.
There’s no right way to keep a morning journal. Here are some of our favourite techniques:
‘Morning Pages’ technique from Julia Cameron: Commit to writing 3 pages of prose every morning before you get out of bed. This doesn’t have to be organised – think of it as a ‘brain dump’. This is the time when your ego is least likely to get in your way. Sometimes your best ideas are hidden in the muck.
Two Minute Mornings by Neil Pasricha: This is a simple task of completing three sentences every morning: I will let go of, I am grateful for, and I will focus on. As the title says, it takes just two minutes. It’s a great way to work out what direction you want your day to take.
The Five Minute Journal: This is similar to two minute mornings. As well as your plans for the day, you also include a positive affirmation. There’s also space for evening reflections to round out your day.
2.Make time for Mindfulness
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, so it should be no surprise to discover that it is associated with a large number of health benefits. For our purposes the most significant are its power to improve creativity and aid long term mental clarity.
It seems that the best sort of mindfulness for creatives is open-monitoring meditation. Allow your mind to wander and acknowledge anything that pops into your head. If you’re just getting started with meditation then an app such as Headspace or Calm can be a great place to start.
3. Connect with your Creativity by Disconnecting
The modern world is not your friend if you’re trying to be creative. Keep your phone on airplane mode and make sure that your computer stays sleeping. Resist the urge to turn on the distractions. Choose, instead, things that can nurture your creative side.
Listen to music you love, or your favourite podcast. Read a book, which has been proven to help with creativity Alternatively you could do some colouring. You only get so much time to yourself during the day so make the most of it by turning off the things that shut your creativity down.
4. Work it Out
If the thought of a morning work out makes you freak out, you’re not alone. The good news is that you don’t have to take a spin class or sweat-inducing circuit work-out to get the benefits. Although if that’s your thing, go for it!
Any form of exercise, from yoga to a long walk, will release endorphins and get blood flowing to your brain. The beneficial effects of exercise on brain power have long been recognised.
Don’t worry if mornings aren’t your thing. You don’t even have to leave your house to get a work out. There are plenty of apps to help you exercise at home, so you can have all the benefits without even getting out of your pyjamas.
5. Reward yourself
Give your brain a reward, and it will return the favour! This will take different forms for different people, depending on what you enjoy. Eating or drinking particular things, or performing certain activities will cause your brain to produce dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical responsible for making you feel happiness, and will not only motivate you to keep up the good work, but also fuel your creative fire.
The good news is that two things that promote dopamine release are probably already part of your morning routine. Caffeine and a long, hot, shower will get your brain feeling happy in no time! Happiness makes us all more creative, so it’s a win-win situation to get into that creativity mindset early in the day. For those moments of genius that hit whilst you’re actually in the shower, you can even invest in a waterproof notebook!
Creativity has arrived, but how do you make it stay?
Change can be the hardest thing in the world, and the best of intentions often come undone. One of the hardest resolutions to keep is the one to set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. Don’t sabotage yourself – make it easier to stick to your new morning rituals by getting organised the night before. Put out your clothes for the morning, work out what you’ll have for breakfast, and make sure that your journal is ready and waiting when you wake up. Prioritise feeding your creativity by organsing your life to make space for it.
Creativity isn’t something that you can force. We’re not promising incredible ideas all the time, but you can create an environment that increases your chance of inspiration. Some days you’ll feel as though you can barely keep up with all the great thoughts that come to you. On other days you may struggle to just have one creative moment.
It may seem counterintuitive, but a routine is actually the one thing that can increase your ability to get creative every day! What are your favourite ways to start the day and promote creativity?