Drew is a pharmacist, a novelist, a blogger, and a social media copywriter. He keeps his creative juices flowing through music and reading.
How to Increase Creativity and Boost Performance
You absolutely know the massive importance of maximizing your creativity and performance. It’s basically correlated to your success. Better creativity and performance means a pay raise, acknowledgment, a position, or even happiness.
So it is normal to wish for a creativity boost.
And guess what? Most of you might have even dug through books to find ways. Some have even scoured the internet, hoping to boost creativity and performance in your work or passion.
Hey, that’s why you stumbled into my article, right? If so, I won’t prolong this anymore.
Here is the curated list of evidenced-based tips to stimulate better creativity and increase performance.
- Move your body, shake your booty
- Get enough sleep
- The art of thanks
- Healthy eating
- Get loaded with laughter
- Trying new things
- Open up for relaxation
Let’s start and dive deeper.
1. Move your Body, Shake your Booty
Let’s get real. I know it is hard to find time to exercise and jog around. Not when our excuses overflows. And don’t get me started with the gyms. I won’t argue with that. Still, how about trying first? I mean, you will lose nothing except those fats and excess water.
A report from the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that walking produces positive effects on creative thinking.
A study from the University of Illinois showed that a simple walk or yoga improves the feeling of vigor. A pleasant walk can boost your reserves and make you more energetic. Something you want when you keep your creativity and performance levels at its peak.
Physical activity and exercise also have positive effects on the mood. It also reduces the incidence of depression and other anxiety disorders.
So what are you waiting for?
Get out of that couch. I may not be your wife, husband, or mom. Hell, I am not even your kid! But I mean it. Please.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Have you heard of the adage from Dalai Lama—Sleep is the best meditation? You might not be familiar with meditation, but the sleep thingy might be your perfect cup of tea.
A study in Sleep Medicine Journal showed that enough sleep lowers the level of cortisol in the body. Lower cortisol levels can enhance creativity and performance. It improves the ability of a person to connect to ideas.
For athletes and the wannabees, it is also important to prioritize sleep. A study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine showed how important sleep is for athletes. Having a good night’s sleep can improve your speed, accuracy, and reaction time. Sleep keeps your gears well-oiled for another day of training.
Even with no study, we know that lack of sleep makes one irritable and moody—traits you won’t want your coach to see.
Quality sleep also helps you to better remember new things that you’ve learned. It also improves your concentration and recalling information. Thus, ramping up your performance and creativity.
Students who lacked sleep also showed poorer performance as compared to their counterparts. So, don’t forget your nap. Of course, don’t forget to study too.
Still, anything in excess can be harmful. Yep, excess sleep can also be harmful.
How to stimulate creativity? Want better performance? Then get enough sleep.
But how long should you sleep? Here’s a guide from the National Sleep Foundation on what is the proper amount of sleep.
3. The Art of Thanks
Gratitude is not a feeling. It is an attitude.
In my career as a pharmacist, I met many people who understand this concept. And believe me, those people who know the simple art of thanks performed better than others. They are also more creative and courageous as compared to their peers.
Don’t believe me? Let me show you some evidence.
Penn Schoen Berland, a polling firm in the US, surveyed 2000 individuals. They conducted the survey multilaterally covering a lot of fronts from income levels, age, gender, ethnic group, perspective, etc.
The results revealed interesting details worth your attention.
It showed that 90% of the polled believed that grateful people are more fulfilled. They also lead a richer life and are more likely to have a lot of friends.
The poll also showed that 93% of the polled people linked gratefulness to success.
According to researchers, gratitude also has a lot of health benefits. It showed a positive effect on general well-being, including mental health, generosity, and sleep. Things that will help you in building creativity into your life.
The feeling of acknowledgment and appreciation boost creativity and motivation.
4. Healthy Eating
Ever heard of the saying, “You are what you eat.” The saying might make sense to you, but the reality is most of you will only consider this as a mere passing thought. A good night’s sleep is enough for you to forget it.
So let me be firm with this. What you eat affects not only your general health but also your performance and creativity.
Studies showed that eating processed foods loaded with high amounts of salt, sugar, and trans-fats causes our brain function to perform subpar. It can also trigger lethargy.
So, don’t overwhelm yourself with processed foods, especially those fast-food and take-outs. Of course, I’m not telling you to quit the joys of convenience. What I’m telling is to get that right balance. But if it’s possible for you, avoid it altogether.
Another study also showed that eating more fruits and veggies can improve one’s general well-being. Eating those greens gives its takers a better sense of purpose and meaning in life. It also improves creativity and curiosity.
How to improve creativity and performance?
Eat smart and enjoy life.
5. Get Loaded with Laughter
Got on the bad side of your boss? Do you want to strangle your useless workmate? Having no more strength to deal with your nagging wife or husband? Or simply having a bad day? What’s worse? You feel like it’s killing your creativity and performance both at home and at work.
Then how about squeezing out a few batches of giggles from your diaphragm? Hey, I mean the genuine one.
An article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine presented an interesting conclusion. Showing those pearly whites can reduce stress and even increase pain tolerance. Lower stress levels promote performance, critical thinking, and creativity.
Even educators use humor to get their student’s creative brain juices flowing. A good laugh diminishes barriers among individuals. It makes sharing of ideas easier and relatable, as well as boosts self-confidence. We also known it to improve general performance, especially in groups.
So, stop looking like everyone owes you a debt. Take your time and learn to laugh and smile, my friend. Flash those shiny, toothy grins.
Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.
— Earl Nightingale
6. Try New Things
Got nothing to do? Does it seem like everything is boring? And now all you want to do is lie on your bed and watch TV all day long?
I know that feeling. It is called “You are the bore.”
You need to start something to make those gears moving. You’re wasting both your time and potential.
How about learning something new? Playing guitar, piano, or violin. Try fixing your car. Try writing and reading. Or anything that might get you moving away from that good old bed.
Studies showed that trying new things can boost one’s creativity and performance.
Bruce Kovner, founder of global macro hedge fund Caxton Associates. A billion-dollar worth company compared playing piano with investing strategy.
Kovner said that both music and investing relate to a certain pattern of association. And some individuals extend such paradigms across different things. But for him, it’s music and investing.
It is also nice to know that Albert Einstein claimed that he might have been a violinist if not a physicist. Aside from physics, he finds joy in playing the violin.
Other famous personalities also claimed that music enhances skills like creativity and self-control. It also gives you the ability to merge seemingly contradictory ideas.
Ask any highly successful and creative persons how they succeeded. They’ll tell you it’s by simply striving to try new things.
Come on, don’t believe me?
Just look at Elon Musk of Tesla, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon. Which one of them succeeded without trying new things? Tell me.
Another good example is playing chess. According to a study conducted by the US Chess Federation. Young chess players outperformed non-chess kids in terms of creativity.
Chess-playing kids even showed improvement both in their reading and math scores. There was also an increase in motivation about coming to school.
Even a simple gardening hobby is linked to the improvement of general health. Thus, boosting creativity and overall performance.
So, it is important to do something new once in a while. A change of pace to move you out from your creative rout. A simple and nice way to keep those brain juices flowing.
But just a friendly reminder. I can’t preach this enough. Pick an enjoyable hobby. Not an addiction. Everything in excess is bad.
7. Open up for Relaxation
How to improve creativity and performance? Then take a breath and relax a little. Open up some white space in your schedule where you could do everything you want. Walk around the park with your special someone. Your kids, wife, parents, dogs, cats, and friends.
Studies showed that simple relaxations, such as walking, leads to better concentration. A delightful walk also makes you less prone to fatigue, improving your endurance during work.
Researchers also showed that overwork makes our brain dull. Thus, making us less productive. Hey, most of you know this feeling, right?
In my professional career, I can attest to such experience. Or maybe you too. That smudgy feeling of getting stuck with paperwork just worsens my creative processes, affecting my work.
Brain scans have also shown that those eureka moments usually take place when our mind is at rest.
Take the popular mathematician Archimedes as an example.
Did you know he was taking a bath when he discovered the principles of hydrostatics? Or how Newton got his inspiration about gravity after observing a falling apple. Awesome, right?
Getting swamped with work makes our brain work slower. Our brain also needs to refresh itself. Relaxation is important to keep our creativity and performance at its peak.
You need to close your eyes and take some breather. Oh, not those cigarettes. It’ll ruin you in the long run. It got some nasty negative effects.
More Ways to Become More Creative
Watch This One and Increase Your Creativity
- Effect of aerobic exercise on cognition in younger adults: A randomized clinical trial. Neurology. 92. 10.1212.
- Oppezzo, M & Schwartz, D. (2014). Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking. American Psychological Association, Vol. 40, No. 4, 1142–1152.
- Anderson, E. & Shivakumar, G. (2013). Effects of exercise and physical activity on anxiety. Front Psychiatry, 4, 27.
- Neural Basis of Solving Problems with Insight. (2004). PLoS Biology, 2(4), e111.
- Sianoja, M. et al. (2018). Enhancing daily well-being at work through lunchtime park walks and relaxation exercises: Recovery experiences as mediators. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 23(3), 428-442.
- Louie, D. et al. (2016). The Laughter Prescription: A Tool for Lifestyle Medicine. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 10(4): 262–267.
- Savage, B.M. et al. (2017). Humor, laughter, learning, and health! A brief review. Advances in Physiology Education. 2017 Sep 1;41(3):341-347.
- Conner, T.S et al. (2015). On carrots and curiosity: eating fruit and vegetables is associated with greater flourishing in daily life. British Journal of Health Psychology, 20(2):413-27.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Drew Agravante
Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on August 12, 2020:
I'll take of note of that JP. This comment tickles. You made me laugh really hard.
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 11, 2020:
Hi Drew, There's more time to flex the brain lately. And you can drop the Sir. The queen of England hasn't knighted me. :)
Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on August 10, 2020:
Totally agree with you, Sir JP. That's one the reason I am maximizing it during these lockdowns. Need to build new muscles for my brain.
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 09, 2020:
These are very sensible ways to boost one's creativity. I teach students of various ages and creativity is a must. I try to get rid of the negative energy in me and that puts me in a more creative mode. I believe that creativity is a mindset of going beyond what is the norm. It is something we strive for and hone. Complacency stagnates our mind. we need to exercise our minds and support it with positive emotions.
This is another wonderful resource Dave.
Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on August 07, 2020:
Music indeed helps. I really love playing instrumental piano background music during my jog or during works that involves concentration. It zooms me in somehow.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 06, 2020:
I can see how jogging would help. I have had two hip replacements and the doctor warned against high-impact exercise so even walking long distances is problematic but yoga works for me so I'm sticking with it. I find soft background music without words is helpful and inspirational too.
Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on August 06, 2020:
I also personally tried jogging a few laps a day. And indeed, it helps me chug out a lot more words than usual. I feel more energetic somehow.
Thanks for passing by.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:
These are all good suggestions. I just started doing yoga every morning and besides feeling stronger, I DO feel more motivated in my creativity. I think it makes a difference.