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If You Want to Be Productive, You Should Have More Quiet Time When You’re Busy

If You Want to Be Productive, You Should Have More Quiet Time When You’re Busy

The pace of life in today’s world has become non-stop. And the world has also got louder.

Radios and TVs constantly blare out. Congested roads fill our environments with engine noise. And even at work, there is a steady stream of noisy interruptions.

With our auditory senses under relentless attack, it’s no wonder that…

You’ve Become Too Busy to Have Quiet Time

All that noise. Have you ever considered what it’s doing to your ability to think and be productive?

You may suppose that a noisy and busy environment helps you to work – but to be truly creative and productive you must find quiet times.

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A recent study by Duke University Medical Center found that silence is associated with the development of the hippocampus (a brain region associated with learning and memory).[1]

Research undertaken by physician Luciano Bernardi found that two-minute intervals of silence between music resulted in more stable respiratory and cardiovascular systems, compared to even listening to “relaxation” music.[2]

It’s clear that quiet times are essential to our physical, emotional and mental health.

But…

You’re Probably Struggling to Find Solitude and Silence

I sympathise. Your kids never stop screaming, your dog never stops barking, and your life is just endless noise and distraction.

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If you work in an open-plan office, then there are constant interruptions. If you live in a busy, family home, then there are constant disruptions!

Even if you escape your office or home, the shops and cafés that you may choose to visit are also filled with people, noise and disturbances.

It’s a genuine challenge to find quiet times. But there are ways you can achieve this.

Let’s take a look now at…

The 7 Best Ways to Find Quiet Time – Even When You’re Busy

Quiet time is essential if you want to reach your peak creativity and productivity.

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Here are my recommendations:

1. Wake up early.

Time management is everything. And this starts with waking up early! If you make this a habit, you’ll not only find yourself ahead of the pack, but you’ll also be blessed with a peaceful period of time that is perfect for clear and creative thinking.

2. Take a walk in the park.

If your work never ends, then you’ll never find time to relax. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, make a point of taking regular breaks. If you live or work near a park, then this gives you a wonderful opportunity to walk in nature. You’ll definitely benefit from the exercise, fresh air and change of scenery.

3. Leave your headphones at home.

Do you wear headphones when you’re commuting to college or work? If you do, then you’re starting your day off in a noisy fashion. Try leaving your headphones at home, and instead, give you mind chance to work on solutions to problems. You may find that your commute becomes your most productive time.

4. Switch off your mobile device.

Everywhere you look – people are staring at their mobile devices. Many of them seem to be hypnotized. Let’s be honest, most of us have become addicted to breaking news, social media updates, and even the latest version of Pokémon Go! These things can be fun, but they shouldn’t be taking over our lives. Try this test: Switch off your mobile phone for a full 24 hours, and see how much more relaxed and productive you feel.

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5. Book a meeting room for yourself.

Office work can swing rapidly from typing at a desk to talking in meetings. With this constant to-and-fro, it’s hard to ever feel calm and collected. However, I have a suggestion for you. Why not book a meeting room just for yourself? That way, you can choose to either work on your laptop in peace and quiet – or simply enjoy the silence for 10 minutes or so.

6. Find time for meditation.

You don’t need to be a guru to practice meditation. In fact, it can be as easy as just finding time for quiet contemplation. Many highly successful people use this technique, including Hugh Jackman and J.K. Rowling. The benefits of silent periods are many. You’ll likely have more energy, more focus and deeper thoughts. And once you become familiar with the inner bliss that comes from this practice, you may decide to enroll on a meditation retreat.

7. Go to bed early.

I advised you to wake up early. And the best way to do this – is to go to bed early! By doing this, you’ll build powerful self-discipline, and also find yourself with regular spells of quiet time. If you go to bed early, you can use the minutes before you sleep as a way to clear your thoughts from the day, and allow new ideas to come to mind. One added benefit: Going to bed early means you’re likely to sleep deeper.[3]

There’ll always be busy times in your life, but make sure to balance these with regular periods of tranquillity.

You’ll be amazed at how much calmer you feel – and how much more productive you’ve become.

Featured photo credit: ABC News via abcnews.go.com

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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