I got stuck in a writer’s block of sorts. I had ideas of things to write, but as soon as I hit “write story” and saw that blank screen looking at me, my mind went blank. Chalk it up to my empathetic mind — it wanted to feel my screen’s blankness, I suppose.
So there I was, having livestreamed multiple broadcasts, and nothing to write about. And that’s when it hit me.
I had PLENTY to write about. What I was struggling with was feeling INSPIRED.
I recognized this feeling from my time in corporate America. I remember many times knowing WHAT I had to do, and feeling completely uninspired to do the work. So how can you be productive when you’re not inspired? The world doesn’t stop for us, and the work needs to get done.
Here are 3 tips that have helped me.
Often times, we work inside. As in, we are inside a building — inside a sterile environment. And try as we might to dress up our surroundings with plants, natural lighting, and even small water fountains, it doesn’t compare to walking outside, feeling the tingles as your skin soaks in the sun rays, smelling the freshly cut grass, and hearing the whoosh of the breeze as it blows past your ears. I would often take a short 10–20 minute walk in a nearby park, and return rejuvenated and inspired. It’s no surprise that a 2014 Stanford research team found that walking improves creativity. Are you feeling uninspired? Take a 20 minute break, stretch those legs a bit, and return with the creativity and inspiration to knock out your to-do list!
2. Check Your Posture!
By now, most of us are familiar with Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk about how our body posture affects our hormones. Basically, your posture will send signals to your brain to produce certain hormones. For example, if you hold the “Wonder Woman Pose” (feet hip-width apart, arms on waist, shoulders back), your brain will start producing more testosterone, which is linked to confidence. If you tend to stay hunched over, your body sends signals to the brain to produce cortisol. How does this affect your productivity and inspiration? If you are frequently in “low power” poses, you’re increasing your stress levels (unbeknownst to you), and in turn impacting your confidence and motivation to do the work that needs to be done.
If you are noticing yourself feeling uninspired to check off your to-do list, take a break and assume a power pose. One easy pose is to place your hands behind your head, with elbows out. Not only is this considered a power pose, it also helps with brain-storming and problem solving skills. And while you’re at it, throw in a smile as well. Might as well increase your dopamine level, no?
3. Look at Pictures of Baby Animals
So, perhaps it is snowing like crazy outside, and you don’t want your colleagues to see you posing. Never fear, there is another method of getting inspired to be productive. Look at pictures of cute baby animals!
While on the outside, it might seem that you are wasting time, a study from the Hiroshima University shows that it actually increases your productivity! They tested the effect of looking at images had on university students. They showed them beautiful adult animals, tasty foods, you name it. They found that the students performed better immediately after looking at pictures of baby animals.
So, if you’re feeling uninspired, take a few minutes to look at those cute puppy and kitten photos. Allow yourself to smile, laugh, and be completely captivated by the cuteness, fuzziness, warmness and all the other nice “ness” words you can attach to it. Without realizing it, you’ll notice that you’re happier, a bit less stressed, and your head has cleared. From this headspace, you are now ready to tackle your tasks.
All of these methods have helped me get into my inspired zone, get motivated and be productive. I like listening to binaural beats and “creativity inspiring” music on top of the above methods. My all time favorite track is HERE. I leave it on in the background, plug some earphones in, and off I go.
What about you? What do you do to get inspired to be productive?
Originally published at medium.com