Can mindfulness and meditation lead to creativity?
Some say mindfulness is an art, and even offer tips on being mindful. According to an article in Psychology Today, creativity can arise when our brains are in 'default mode.' In this state, we are able to see things in a different way, during periods of 'wakeful rest,' which allow us the opportunity to discover new ideas.
Distraction is said to be one of the biggest obstacles to creativity. I have actually noticed this in my own work. There are so many distractions. If I stop working, and go for a short walk, for instance to just be in the moment, ideas seem to start to arise automatically. I believe that those great ideas and thought connections are in there somewhere but need the opportunity to come to the surface.
So if you want to come up with more creative ideas, try putting down your smart phone and step away from the computer. Enjoy the outdoors or a scenic view – being in the moment. When you get back to work you'll have some ideas to help you get through the rest of the work day.
I hope everyone is off to a good start for the beginning of 2019. After the holidays, people seem to return to their regular schedules and get back to work with a fresh outlook. Many have 2019 resolutions. According to this article by Inc. Magazine, there are some common resolutions for 2019. Do you have any goals or resolutions in mind?
A popular resolution is exercising / eating healthy. I have always been interested in exercising. I find it helps create a more positive outlook and increases energy and productivity. Creativity can be enhanced, too. As far as eating healthy, overall I think my eating habits are pretty good, but there's always room for improvement. I'd like to eat less sweets and processed foods and much more greens / vegetables.
Another goal I have is to be more organized in my personal life, which I have found affects all aspects of my life, including work, mostly because it creates a clearer mind.
This article has some ideas for success in 2019. One person quoted in the article suggests setting a theme for the year, instead of a resolution, since a theme may be more long-term than a resolution which are sometimes short-lived.
Let me know if you have any 2019 resolutions, business goals or personal goals to share, in the comments below.
Chances are you already know about Google’s free listings for businesses (officially called Google My Business). These local business listings appear in google search results. Be sure to claim yours, or create your own if one does not already exist for your business.
If you’ve already claimed your listing, there’s more you can do to enhance it and increase your chances for higher positioning within google.
1. Claiming Your Listing
If you haven’t claimed or created your business listing, it’s easy to do. There may be a listing for your business already online. To claim your listing, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Any eligible business can have a Google My Business listing. See this google my business help page for more information on eligibility.
2. Add a Description for your Business
Your business description area is an opportunity to present your business the way you’d like potential customers to see you, and include information you want them to know about your businesses products or services. Tip: use searchable keywords within your business description to help increase your chances of ranking higher for those search terms. Don’t forget to include hours your business is open for every day of the week and link to your website.
3. Add Photos
An image can spark a viewer’s interest more than words. According to a BrightLocal study, 60% of consumers said local search results with good images pushed them towards a decision. You don’t have to limit your photos to exterior and interior business photos, although you should include those types of photos if you have them. You can also include a photo of the business owner, your staff or team, a logo graphic, and more.
4. Post Frequently
Create posts that will appear with your free business listing. Think of these as promotions or social media posts. They’ll show up in Google search along with your listing. When posting, think of content that will appeal to your audience – existing customers or your ideal potential customer. Here are some ideas for posts:
You can add buttons and links within your posts. The posts expire after 7 days, so consider adding new posts frequently. If you don’t have new content to share weekly, consider simply reposting content from your latest post before it expires.
5. Encourage and Respond to Reviews
Google encourages business owners to ask their customers or clients for online reviews (when done ethically). Google reviews will show up next to your listing in Google maps and within your business listing in search results. Online reviews can help your business stand out, and impact search rankings. According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey,97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. And 95% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation.
You can encourage reviews by sending a link to current customers or clients. Google also recommends responding to reviews that are posted about your business. Here’s a guide for responding to reviews.
Have fun with it! Hopefully you’ll enjoy sharing information about your business and posting topics that are of interest to your clients or customers.
Let me know if I can answer any questions by sending me an email or commenting on this post. Thanks!
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!
What are your resolutions for 2018?
I have some personal and business goals for the new year that I am keeping in mind as I plan for the year ahead.
One is that I want to continue to exercise regularly and eat well, which is good for my health but also helps with creativity and productivity. I have also started to meditate daily, using an app called Headspace. I have already noticed a difference in my daily life because of this.
I have some creative goals and business goals in mind for the new year, too. One of them is to write blog and social media posts more often, including sharing tips and thoughts that will help and inspire others. I'd also like to do more work that aligns with my personal goals of helping others, as well as more projects that help me to foster and grow my own creativity.
Let me know what your goals and resolutions are in the comments below!
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. Wishing you a holiday season full of cheer and all the best for a wonderful 2018!
I recently learned of a new way to design your own logo. If you're a new company, small business or individual with a limited budget, and looking for a simple, clean logo design that you can create on your own, try using Logojoy.
I experimented with Logojoy myself and found it easy to use and fun. There are lots of different fonts, shapes, and colors to choose from, and you can download your final logo in several different versions and file formats. They also give you 72 hours to make updates or changes once you’ve decided upon your logo.
I think what I liked most about using the logojoy interface is that, as you’re designing your logo, you can see how it looks on a t-shirt, outdoor sign, business card layout, or letterhead, and then make adjustments based on what you see.
If you have the opportunity to try Logojoy, please let me know what you think in the comments below.
All it takes is a few small changes to inspire creativity every day!
1. Be in the Moment
Allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time. For example, if you’re having lunch or dinner, put your smart phone away (try the app dinnermode). When you go for a walk, enjoy the walk and take in your surroundings. Your next creative idea may come to you without even trying!
2. Turn off Notifications.
It’s hard to focus with distractions everywhere. See if you can go a week, or even just one day without some of these: Social Media notifications, Email notifications, and App notifications. If you need some help, try one of the “blocking” apps mentioned in this NPR article.
Meditation can open your mind to new ideas. Just 10-12 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day can boost creativity. Mindfulness practice has been shown to not only improve attention but nurture courage and resilience. See this article from the Harvard Business Review for more on the connection between meditation and creativity. If you're looking for simple, guided meditation, try the headspace app.
4. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal helps quiet your mind by putting your thoughts down on paper. Try writing for at least 15 minutes a day. Bonus – It’s believed that writing down your thoughts before going to bed helps you to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
5. Have Fun with Mindless Activities
Try doing a simple creative activity, such as coloring in a coloring book, or completing a simple craft project. Coloring can be a fun, easy way to escape, be in the moment and be creative! Read this article for more on coloring books for adults.
It doesn’t take much to get inspired. Just one of these tips can help lead you to a more creative daily life.
I've recently started writing in a journal every morning - based on a suggestion from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way. Morning pages consist of writing three pages of handwritten thoughts into a journal every morning, and it must be done first thing - that means before checking your cell phone or looking at your computer or email messages.
I have found that it really does clear your mind and help you have a more thoughtful, organized day. I've been doing this for about a week now and noticed a difference after the very first day.
When you're writing morning pages, you don't have to worry about spelling, neatness, or grammar. These pages are for your eyes only and really are an exercise for your mind and spirit - so it doesn't matter WHAT you right, just THAT you write.
I've found that writing out my thoughts in the morning inspires me to be more organized in my day. I have also started using a scheduling app called Todoist that is helping to keep me organized on the go. There is a free trial for the paid version and a free version, which I am trying out right now.
One day I missed writing the morning pages - because it was a weekend out of town and I wanted to jump out of bed and join my husband outside for a walk with our dog, so I wrote in the evening instead. I think it was still helpful, and it proved to me that writing out your thoughts is a good mind clearing exercise - the next morning I noticed I didn't have as much to write about. It was actually even better to have written both in the evening and in the morning. However, I'm going to stick to just mornings!
Give morning pages a try, and let me know what you think!
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