Stay Disconnected First Thing in the Morning
People only have so much time to focus and stay creative so wasting that time on relatively thoughtless pursuits in the morning is a poor management of both your time and your creative juices. Avoid tasks like checking emails or writing out lists or memos as the first thing you do and instead focus that precious time and attention towards more rigorous, creatively trying tasks that require the very best from you.
If, however, emails or similar morning tasks are hyper time-sensitive, it’s probably worth it to get up a touch earlier so you can focus first on creative tasks then get to emails and such later. We’re all granted small windows of time at which we’re most creative — it’s a shame to waste them.
Caffeine makes us more alert, yes, but perhaps more importantly, it also increases our brain’s production of dopamine, which gives us a feeling of reward and motivation when we start having good ideas. Making it a habit to grab a morning latte in the morning adds structure to a morning and helps create the aforementioned windows of creativity
Be intentional about your choices for the day
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said that every day when he woke up he would go to the mirror and ask himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If the answer were “no” for too long then he knew he’d have to make a big change in his life. We’re nothing without intentionally and waking up each morning should be a time to review our motivations in life. Intentionality can be as existentially deep as Jobs’ self-questioning, but it can also be as simple as writing down what you want to get done for the day. If you’re proud of the list — of the work you’ll be doing in the day ahead — and you’re satisfied with where your life is going then you can rest assured that you’re living with intention.
Get up and move
Exercise stimulates creativity not only because it fires off endorphins and gets blood flowing to our brains but also because it helps break up the monotony of sitting and working, leading to more creative insights.
American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour plays an hour-long tennis match most mornings in New York at 5:45am sharp. Russian composer Tchaikovksy, “believed he had to take a walk of exactly two hours a day and that if he returned even a few minutes early, great misfortunes would befall him,” according to The Guardian. And while both of these instances seem perhaps obsessive, creating a habit around morning exercise and movement is a sure-fire way to avoid getting stuck in a creative rut.