As a writer, I’m always looking for tips on boosting creativity and productivity, hoping to become a never-ending source of new and exciting ideas for blog posts and never finding myself sitting for a long period of time in front of a blank computer screen. It’s a work in progress – I think anyone who writes consistently knows at some point they will be staring at their blinking cursor.
And of course, since I love Pinterest and count it as probably my most-used search engine when I’m looking for tips and tricks on just about anything, I started searching for, reading and pinning articles on writing tips to my blogging board.
While I was reading through some of my pinned posts recently, I realized tips on boosting creativity can easily be applied to workouts. Maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given research on how working out can boost your brain power. If you’re in a bit of a workout rut, or you’re still looking for “the one” when it comes to exercise you want to do regularly, try using these tips to recharge your workout creativity.
WRITING TIP: Melissa at Blog Clarity wrote a post titled Write Better and Faster with One Simple Tip. Of course I was intrigued to see if it lived up to that amazing title. Not only was it a great article, I now consistently use this tip for all my writing and even emailed her personally to thank her for sharing. Here’s the gist: When you’re sitting down to write, whether it’s a blog post, a letter, or a chapter of a book, forget editing. Just write. Let it all flow and don’t even re-read if you pause. After you’re done, leave it, then come back later to read it over and edit.
Using it for Your Workout: The basic premise of this tip is to get in the zone. Don’t overthink and don’t let your inner critic hold you back. This works for running a race, for tackling a longer distance than you think you’re up for, or for pushing through a tough workout when your mind is telling you to quit and go stretch already. Keep going, get your workout done, then think it over later – was there something you could have done differently? What ‘edits’ can you incorporate the next time you try the same workout?
WRITING TIP: Have a clear plan going in to your writing session. ProBlogger wrote a great post on getting focused and being productive with your time when writing. This tip stuck out for me – you need to have a plan. Whether it’s bullet points to follow for a blog post, or knowing exactly which project what you want to work on in your set writing time, without a plan you can easily be distracted and not get anything done.
Using it for Your Workout: Write your workout down. Print it out if you’ve found something online you want to try. Getting to the gym and then trying to come up with a workout on the fly is stressful and ends up being less-than effective. Likewise, unless you know what areas of your fitness you want to make your focus, you’re most likely going to be floundering when it comes to planning out what you want to get done in the time you have to exercise. Whatever you think you’re lacking in your fitness – balance, strength, endurance, speed – you should plan how you want to address that weakness and write out what you’re specifically going to do in your workout to do so.
WRITING TIP: For a fresh perspective, change your environment. This is also a tip from Blog Clarity (it’s a great resource for bloggers and writers, clearly!). It’s a simple tip, but effective. If you always write at home, taking your laptop to a cafe might spark a different idea, style, or fresh perspective on something you’re writing. Even within your own home, if you usually write at a desk, try taking your laptop and curling up on the couch. Your environment may have a bigger effect on your creative process than you realize.
Using it for Your Workout: This one is a no-brainer. Always work out in the gym? Try an at-home workout, or head to a park or playground. If you’re a runner, try a new route. Your body adapts when you do the same workout over and over again, making it less effective as time goes on. You may not realize how your environment leads to stagnation when it comes to workouts. If you’re always in the gym, I guarantee you have a core group of exercises using the same equipment and technique every time. Just switching your workout to a new place could make you come up with new ways to move your body in a different environment.
WRITING TIP: Lose the Stress and Clean House. My friend Lisa at RunWiki slowed down on blogging over the summer and shared some of the reasons she was scaling back. These two tips, losing stress and cleaning house, were important to reinvigorate her creativity which makes total sense. First, you’re getting rid of negativity and worry that can invade every thought process you have; then, by taking time to clean out your space and declutter, there’s going to be a resulting effect of you feeling lighter, less encumbered and more open to new ideas.
Using it for Your Workout: I found out first-hand recently how removing a source of stress can affect you physically. Look at sources of negative stress in your life to see what you can do to change them. When you’re stressed out, your focus is never going to be 100% on your workout. When it comes to cleaning house, the good news is it can be a workout in an of itself. When we moved to Vermont, my workout for the first couple of weeks was primarily all the squatting, walking and lifting that unpacking entails. It’s also that much easier to motivate yourself to work out when you know where all your gear is, that all the workout clothes in your drawers are clean and easy to access and you can just grab your stuff and go.
WRITING TIP: This tip is from the SITS Girls is one I’ve read so many times and it’s yet to sink in for me. It’s OKAY to miss a day here and there. Bloggers tend to get caught up in our self-imposed blogging schedule. Show me a blogger who didn’t publish a post on one of their regular posting days and I’ll show you someone who’s freaking out at least a little bit that they’ve lost their mojo, they’re going to lose all their readers and they’re clearly a ‘bad blogger’. When I skip a regular posting day, I still feel a little guilty, but I try to remember to take a deep breath and realize it’s not the end of the world (or my blog).
Using it for Your Workout: Same thing goes – it’s okay if you miss a workout. It’s when you miss 8 or 9 workouts in a row that you may have a consistency problem on your hands! But if you’re regularly working out and you’re achieving the goals you’re setting for yourself, if you sleep through your gym alarm one morning, don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy your extra rest that day and get back on track with your next scheduled workout.
Finally, don’t forget that creativity can strike in unusual ways. Case in point, I just wrote a blog post on using writing tips to make your workouts more productive. The next time you get great advice from someone, or read something that makes you think hard, assess how that same advice or idea could be used for different areas of your life. You may find you can use one technique for all different facets of your lifestyle.
Have you ever been inspired from an unusual source?
What are some productivity or creativity tips you use in more that one area of life?