If your job requires you to think creatively, you probably already know that there ways you can boost your creativity like brainstorming activities and exercising. Perhaps you've tried a few in search of the perfect one. The truth is, it may not matter which technique you choose. What matters more is that you make a routine of whatever you choose. At least that is what is suggested by Mason Currey in his book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Routine creates a safe space for your thoughts, which, according to comedy writer John Cleese, is the perfect environment for creative thought. Of the 161 artists described in Currey's book, 88% have a noticeable routine. Three of them were Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, and Eric Satie. Here are 3 creativity-boosting activities that were essential to their daily routines -- and ones that you can easily adopt into your own life.
1. Set an intention for your day.
Benjamin Franklin was known to allot a role to every hour of his day. After waking up at 5 AM, he would wash up, pray, then "take the resolution of the day." His main question each morning was, "What good shall I do this day?" When it comes to creative projects that feel more free-flowing, it's easy to act on your impulse. In doing so, however, you risk draining your resources on tasks that may not matter. Setting an intention makes it so that you are always moving toward a larger goal.
Each day, before you jumping into a morning of emails or meetings, take some time to think about your intention for the day, then check that each of your following actions ladders up to it.
2. Take a mid-afternoon read
After a morning of work, letter-reading, a short walk, and lunch, everyday at 3 PM, Darwin would rest in his bedroom while he listened to his wife read him a novel or some other light literature. According to Darwin's son, Darwin rarely strayed from this routine, even when he had visitors. Research has shown that reading fiction reduces our need for "cognitive closure" or a happy ending, which enables us to more adeptly process general information and think creatively.
Whether it's in the morning before work or during that daily fifteen-minute break you have between meetings, consider picking up a book to get your creative juices flowing.
3. Choose a daily snack -- and daily snack time.
French composer Eric Satie believed that artists must regulate their lives. In addition to a specific timetable for his day, he also created a strict routine around when and what he ate. He proclaimed that his diet included only foods that were white, including eggs, fruit, and certain kinds of fish. Nutritional science has shown that eating these and other foods like nuts and chocolate can increase our brain function, specifically in areas that are associated with creativity.
Whether it's one of Satie's "white foods" or not, add a creativity-boosting snack to your daily diet -- bonus points if you eat it around the same time each day.
Don't worry about getting fancy with your creative inspiration. Instead, sticking to one method and making a mundane routine out of it may be the most creative thing you can do.