Switch Up Your Morning Routine For More Creativity

James Logie

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If you are the type of person able to get up and write first thing; that's very impressive.

Many just don’t have the mental capacity to put down anything coherent early in the morning — and they've learned to wait until later.

All great content starts with writing. For business, it’s the cornerstone. Blogs, copy, sales pages, email newsletters, even social media depend on the writing.

Writing needs to be the most important part of your day — but should you do it first thing, like many say?

You need to find the time that works best for you, but if you’re looking to boost inspiration and creativity, consider holding off writing first thing — and get some activity first.

The research supports this, so let's take a better look.

Motion creates emotion — and tapping into this leads to more creativity. Tony Robbins has always pointed out that when you change your physiology, you change your mental state.

This is important as the change in your mental state breaks negative patterns.

Your improved emotions lead to better creativity. Science shows that the change in emotion that occurs with being active will evoke neural activity.

This doesn’t mean you have to run a triathlon to tap into your emotions — it happens with simple walking or light exercise.

Exercise also reduces depression and anxiety — both of which stifle creativity.

So not only does movement spark more brain activity, it helps to suppress the things reducing it. It’s the perfect one-two punch.

When you hold off writing first thing and get activity first — you get more consistent creativity.

Research from Leiden University in the Netherlands found that people who exercise four times a week could think more creatively than sedentary people.

When I walk in the mornings, I get most of my ideas. Ideas you may have been stuck on suddenly open themselves up.

It helps to mentally write through an article as you walk, and better ideas come.

Keep Your Phone Handy

It’s important to keep your phone with you during morning exercise so you can record thoughts and ideas.

Use your notes app where you can keep multiple notes on article ideas, headlines, and bullet points for specific articles.

You need your phone handy so you lose nothing that comes from the morning creative inspiration

Have your phone — or something to take notes with — during morning activity. You can’t always trust yourself to remember a great idea.

Some days, I’ve forgotten my phone and had to sprint home to not forget important new ideas that sprung up.

Use the Don Draper Approach to Bust Through Plateaus

The approach from Mad Men is simple: if you are stuck trying to find that one good idea: you need to step away from it.

Focus on the idea hard, and then just forget it. Go work on something else, go for a walk, watch TV or a movie.

When you’ve distracted yourself from trying to get an idea — or solve a problem — the solution will present itself.

This is like when you can’t remember the name of a song or movie. The harder you focus on it, the less likely you are to get it.

It’s later in the day when you’ve put it out of your mind that the answer comes out of nowhere.

This is important for writing or any creative pursuits. If you are stuck on an idea — and need a solution — you need to give it time to percolate in your mind.

It needs to mix around in your subconscious with your experiences, knowledge, and world viewpoint to craft the perfect idea.

So if you have writer’s block, or stuck trying to solve a problem, follow the Don Draper approach.

How Much Exercise & What Type is Best?

The best type of exercise is the one that you actually want to do. Don’t force yourself to take up a certain style of workout that you don’t enjoy.

The best way to get fitter is to find an activity you like and are excited to do.

This could be swimming, hiking, squash, biking, strength training, or yoga. Whatever you like to do — stay consistent with it.

Intense exercise such as strength training is interesting because it has a meditation effect, similar to yoga — and this is when ideas can come too.

With weight training, since you’re just focused on the weights and each rep, it pushes away all conscious thought — and this is when great ideas can come.

The sweet spot for exercise is around 150 minutes a week. We can break this up in a few ways — but if you get at least 25 minutes a day, you’re on the right path.

Final Thoughts

If you have a good early morning writing routine — stick with it. But if you’re looking for new inspiration and ideas, try holding off writing till later.

Get out and get moving in the morning and let new ideas and thoughts come through. Give it a shot for a week or two to see if it helps your writing process.

There’s nothing to lose — and your health and writing will thank you for it.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.

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