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September 22, 2019

Keeping Up the Creativity: Part 9

If you’re jumping in just now, I’m working my way through a series called “Keeping up the Creativity” based on this infographic – 29 Ways to Stay Creative, and you can find the rest of the series parts here!

Guest Blog by Melanie Ford, Myers PR Intern

#9 Listen to New Music

Ironically, each time I sit down to write these blogs I am doing whatever it is that I am writing about. Last time I was drinking coffee, and now I am listening to my iPod full of new music.

mOysDMw

So what could possibly be so helpful about listening to new music? After a little digging, I was surprised to find out just how beneficial sounds really are! Here are four ways music affects us:

alphabet-blocksRetention

“A-B-C-D…” We all learned the alphabet to the same melody. Music is implemented into learning from a very young age because it has been shown to improve memory ability and particularly verbal recall proficiency (Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom).

Music Keeps You Young

Cue Carol. Our Creative Director is known in the office for her youthful energy and contagious laugh! She makes a conscious effort (and asks her sons to help her) to know the latest music, shows, and trends. Remember: “The quickest road to becoming old of mind and spirit is to limit your exposure to things outside of your immediate realm,” says Gary A. Morse.

3- Calming

Calming Effect

Staying calm and focused in the workplace can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you are in a cubicle setting! Dr. Sood, at the Mayo Clinic, observed that in a world of endless distractions, music can bring your focus back within 15 to 30 minutes of listening. Music without lyrics is best for refocusing your attention to a task or project.

That being said, I had to use this opportunity to share this song, which was deemed by sound therapists the most relaxing song ever due to its continuous rhythm synchronizing with the heart and brainwaves.

4- Mood Boost

Mood Boost

Consider how many people you see at the gym exercising with their headphones in. The ability of music to create a positive atmosphere, energize activities and add an element of fun can motivate you regardless of what type of day it is.

At MPR, we’re constantly sharing links around the office to our new favorite artist or song – so make some friends in the cube next door and spread a little creativity!

Keeping up the Creativity: Part 6

If you’re jumping in just now, I’m working my way through a series called “Keeping up the Creativity” based on this infographic – 29 Ways to Stay Creative, and you can find the rest of the series parts here!

#6 – Take Breaks

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I try to take at least one break every workday and go for a quick walk – be it down the street to Starbucks, across the parking lot to Robeks or a distracting bit of retail therapy. I sometimes take two, if I have time and especially if the weather is inviting. (See Part 4 if you want reinforcement on this and Part 5 if you tend feel guilty for any of these indulging activities!) I even keep my gym bag under my desk so I have sneakers handy, though I’ll admit that I usually don’t get that ambitious.

This seems to be a shared habit with my office mates. Everyone will be head down in their keyboards for hours of quiet work when, all of a sudden, someone will pop up out of their cube and say, “Starbucks? Who wants to walk?” It’s amazing to feel the positive energy when they roll back in, cups in hand and attitudes adjusted for the next round at the keyboard. Happy campers!

office walkJust getting out in the fresh air and stretching my legs helps me clear my mind and recalibrate my brain for creative thinking. And, with the added benefit of a little light exercise, I feel better physically. Win and win!

Keeping up the Creativity: Part 5

If you’re jumping in just now, I’m working my way through a series called “Keeping up the Creativity” based on this infographic – 29 Ways to Stay Creative, and you can find the rest of the series parts here!

#5 – Quit Beating Yourself Up

right to forgive yourself

 

 

 

 

Many people struggle with this, some with more success than others. We all have it. You know, that little voice inside your head that tells you that you made a bad choice: you spent too much on those shoes; you stayed up late finishing a book when you knew you had an early meeting the next day; did you really need that extra cookie?; I can’t believe you actually said that!

It can be a helpful voice, one that can remind you to make a better decision next time. Or, it can be a destructive voice, a guilt trip that keeps cycling back around. If you allow yourself to forgive yourself – we are all human, and humans do make mistakes – you can learn from that mistake and handle a similar situation better next time. Or, if you allow the guilt/stress/regret to spiral and fester, all you are doing is creating negative energy. Creativity can’t exist in a negative environment.

If you have made a bad decision, stop and consider how this should affect you. What lesson can you learn? What will you do differently next time? What change can you make today to move you in a better direction? Take a break (see #4 in this series), calm down and basically, let it go.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
Scott Adams
yoga

Keeping up the Creativity: Part 4

If you’re jumping in just now, I’m working my way through a series called “Keeping up the Creativity” based on this infographic – 29 Ways to Stay Creative, and you can find the rest of the series parts here!

#4 – Get Away from the Computer.

work at keyboard I recently spent a week in the US Virgin Islands (lucky me!) and found that the WiFi and phone reception were sketchy at best. Plus, it wasn’t a good idea to leave your phone or ipad in the car when exploring, snorkeling or otherwise doing what you are supposed to do on vacation. I pretty much gave up keeping track of day-to-day activities at the office by day 3 and experienced the most wonderful feeling of liberation.

I realize that Caribbean vacations can’t be used as a regular means of clearing your mind for creativity, but daily mini-breaks and the occasional “Team Fun Day” can be very effective as well. I love it when someone pops up out of their cube and says “Who wants to walk?” It could be Starbucks run, or it could just be a walk outside to clear our heads. We also plan activities for the whole team to get out of the office and do something fun together. “Kayak Friday!” or “Happy Hour Thursday!” We all took a tubing trip down the Shenandoah last summer – priceless!

Just getting out of the office, taking a mental break and enjoying each other’s company can be a great way to stimulate creative thinking and an effective team building exercise to boot. Go Team!

So, if you can’t get away for a vacation, grab a coworker and take a walk. Your brain will thank you.
sea turtle

Keeping up the Creativity: Part 3

If you’re jumping in just now, I’m working my way through a series called “Keeping up the Creativity” based on this infographic – 29 Ways to Stay Creative, and you can find the rest of the series parts here!

#3 – Try Free Writing

Cartoon Pen

This is a new idea to me, but I am willing to give it a go. By definition from Wikipedia, Free writing:

Free writing is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. It is used mainly by prose writers and writing teachers.[1][2] Some writers use the technique to collect initial thoughts and ideas on a topic, often as a preliminary to formal writing. Free writing is not the same as automatic writing.

Unlike brainstorming where ideas are simply listed, in free writing one writes sentences to form a paragraph about whatever comes to mind.

You start by picking a subject and writing it on the top of your page. Then, set the clock for five (or ten) minutes and type away. Or, using your handy notebook and pen from Part 2, start scribbling. The idea is write as quickly as you can without stopping to think, connect ideas, spell correct or punctuate. Apparently, with practice, you can read it back and pick up patterns and ideas that will help release your creative processes.

OK… I have my notebook and my pen…wish me luck!

pen & notebook

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping up the Creativity: Part 1

29 ways to stay creativeRecently a member of our staff came across this little gem of an infographic – “29 Ways to Stay Creative.” We noted that many of these suggestions are already in play in our office and some of the others were great ideas we should implement. So, in the interest of inspiring an even more creative workplace, I’ve decided to create a series taking a closer look at each of these ideas!

#1 – Make Lists

When I am feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what I need to get done, I stop and make a To Do List.

Brain Dump: I find that starting with an old fashioned brain dump on paper or in a MS doc helps me clear my head and feel less stressed. There are online tools and software solutions available – Microsoft One Note is highly recommended by one of our project managers – but I’m a paper girl.

Prioritize: Take your list and rearrange it with the most important tasks at the top of the list. If some jobs are large or complicated, break them out into action items, and note as sub-action items to the larger task.

Bite the Lemon: Start each day at the top of the list, no matter how big or onerous a project it is. The “lemon” is the project you may not want to tackle, may be unpleasant or complex, but is still a priority. I can’t remember who to attribute this to, but a motivational speaker once said, “Bite the lemon first thing in the morning and everything else will taste sweeter the rest of the day.” Works for me.

Results: You’ll experience less stress. Nothing will fall through the cracks. You’ll be able to focus your time and energy more efficiently. And, nothing feels better that checking things off your list.

Check, check, and check!