Time is the most important asset an entrepreneur can have, but it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Even if you sit at your desk for 12 hours straight, if you’re not using this time efficiently, you’re going to end the day feeling unaccomplished.
For most people, the morning is the most important time of day ⏤ your actions in the morning set the tone for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, most of us wake up feeling stressed, tired and overwhelmed by the endless number of tasks on our to-do lists. This negative mindset at the beginning of the day will only set you up for failure.
Having a positive start to the day will ensure that the rest of your day follows suit. Even if you’re not really a morning person (honestly, who is though?), simply having a routine in place can be the difference between a wasted day and a creative day. Being organized decreases stress and leaves your mind clearer in the morning, ready to work on those ideas you already have and generate more.
Here are 7 morning rituals to kickstart your creative productivity!
Getting active in the morning is one of the best things you can do for creativity. Whether you go for a run, squeeze in a few yoga poses, or you do some quick push ups, you’re breaking that dreaded cycle of waking up and traveling to work ⏤ the excitement of doing something active (or just something different) can lead to more creative insights. Vogue’s Anna Wintour plays tennis for an hour almost every morning at exactly 5:45!
Scientifically, exercise also encourages creativity in our minds by helping the blood flow to our brains and releasing endorphins, a neurotransmitter that leaves you feeling euphoric. A happy person is a creative person!
2. Have a Shower
You may be one of those “wash the night before” types who would rather stay in bed for an extra 30 minutes, but what if showering in the morning could make you more creative?
Having a hot shower in the morning not only gives you that energy-boosting wake-up call, but it also releases dopamine, another neurotransmitter that increases our adrenaline and creativity. When we get in a hot shower it relaxes us and we become absent-minded to a degree, soaking up the pleasure we feel from the warm water.
This relaxed state of mind encourages the release of dopamine and gets our creative ideas flowing.
Alternatively, if you’re brave enough, cold and contrast (hot for 2-3 minutes then cold for 1 minute and repeat) showers have also been suggested to boost creativity.
When cold water is poured onto our bodies, we get a shock and a rush of adrenaline. We take in more oxygen to try to warm ourselves and our heart rate also increases. This results in blood rushing through our bodies and giving us that energy boost and invigorated feeling we need to start the day with a buzz.
3. Open-Monitoring Meditation
Our interactions and experiences with the environment around us is what fuels us creatively, and inspires us, but sometimes we’re too overwhelmed and anxious to take notice of it. One type of meditation can change that.
Open-monitoring meditation is especially beneficial for creatives. This practice doesn’t concentrate on a single object, person, or concept (like focused meditation does); instead, it leaves you open to your surroundings and increases your awareness. This boost of open-mindedness is said to last throughout the entire day.
Open-monitoring meditation clears your mind of negative distractions and makes you more mindful, thus allowing you to be inspired creatively by what’s around you.
4. Keep a Dream Journal
Dmitri Mendeleev dreamt of an arrangement of elements, and then in 1869 he published the first version of the periodic table. Christopher Nolan’s Inception and The Beatles’ classic 1965 hit Yesterday also exist because the idea appeared in a dream. So many ideas (some of them very strange) come to us while we’re dreaming but we mostly forget them within a few minutes of waking.
Keeping a dream journal is a fruitful way to kickstart creativity in the morning. If you write down everything you remember about your dreams as soon as you wake up, you might end up creating your best work from the ideas!
5. Write 3 ‘Morning Pages’
Morning Pages is an exercise brought about by author Julia Cameron. You literally wake up in the morning and write 3 pages (freehand) of absolutely anything that comes to mind; how you feel, what you have to do that day, what the weather is like. Anything that comes to mind.
When we wake up we have so much on our minds that we’re unable to think clearly. Morning Pages acts like a ‘brain dump’ in that you clear everything that’s on your mind by putting it onto paper. By doing this we start to realise how unimportant some thoughts are or find solutions for tasks and issues we’ve been worried about.
Not only does the exercise clear our minds of trivial thoughts (thus allowing creative thoughts to replace them), it also leads us to remember the creative ideas that got stuck in the back of our minds somewhere.
6. Ignore Your Inbox
When we wake up, the first thing that we tend to do is grab our internet-enabled devices from our bedside table and check our emails ⏤ this is a huge mistake. As soon as you open your inbox, you’ll probably have an email from a client, or your boss, reminding you of the work you need to do that day. It will clog your brain, leaving you with no space for creative thoughts to blossom.
We only have a limited amount of time in the morning to set ourselves up for a creatively successful day, it would be a shame to waste it by checking our inboxes and Facebook feeds. I’m sure we can all agree that seeing what your friend had for breakfast can wait until later!
7. Wake Earlier
As I mentioned before, we have very limited time in the morning to set ourselves up for a creative day. Waking up just 30 minutes before your usual time could help you fit in that meditation session or quick shower that you may have otherwise missed due to a lack of time.
How we spend our time is important. The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t successful because they have more time, but because they know how to use it well.
Getting up in the morning and following these rituals creates a morning routine which allows you to clear your mind of stress and anxiety; it encourages you to be inspired by the things around you (to think outwards), rather than be anxious about the day to come (to think inwards). When this is your mindset, you’re headed for a hugely successful and massively creative day.
What routines do you follow in the morning to encourage creative ideas? Let us know in the comments!
I’m a nutritionist and lifestyle blogger at Nomad Noms, currently writing nutrition guides for digital nomads whilst travelling the globe with my husband.