I am re-posting an article I wrote a few years ago. I find it is good to revisit these tips periodically!
If you find it difficult to focus when you’re trying to get creative work done, try establishing a routine. Many successful artists and writers, including Stephen King, Twyla Tharp, and others rely on their daily routines to help them do their best creative work.
Work on Creative Projects at the Beginning of the Day
Since most of us are most productive at the beginning of the day, it makes sense to spend this time on the work that’s most important to you. Carve out a at least one to two hours for your creative work or other important projects, and save the rest of the day for responding to emails, answering messages and having meetings (try turning off notifications, too). This allows you to put your full attention on your creative work.
Establish a Routine that Works for You
If you find that you’re not most productive at the beginning of the day, schedule your most creative/productive work during whatever time of day that works best for you. While you’re focusing on your creative work, distractions may pop into your mind. Just jot them down on paper and review them later. Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind is a book full of suggestions on establishing a routine and mindset that can help you be more creative and productive.
Limit Social Media
Social Media is wonderful in many ways but can also take up a lot of your time and energy. If you have important content to post, consider using a social media management tool like Hoot Suite to schedule your posts ahead of time. This will help limit how often you log on. Another option is to schedule your social media time for a certain time of the day. For tips on using social media mindfully, see this article by Lori Deschene.
Studies have shown that physical exercise helps you to be more productive and creative. A recent study from the International Journal of Workplace Health Management showed that people who exercised were 23 per cent more productive on the days they exercised than they were on days they didn't exercise. Studies have shown that creative potential is greater after aerobic exercise.
Some sources claim exercising for 30 minutes a day is best for overall health, recommend 75-150 minutes per week (depending on the intensity of the exercise), but any exercise has to be better than none at all. If you need help getting a jumpstart on exercising, try the easy to follow Johnson & Johnson 7 minute workout. The app can be found here.
On days you’re not able to exercise, try getting outside for a walk, or take the stairs instead of the elevator a few floors each day, to get yourself moving and help you clear your mind.
Take Time For Yourself
It’s important to take time for yourself on workdays, including time to eat and relax, meditate or daydream. Some of us will skip breakfast and lunch in order to get our work done. And daydreaming can actually lead to creative ideas. Getting a good night sleep also helps. Once you take time out for yourself, you’ll discover that you’ll be happier, more creative and more productive!
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