“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
– Albert Einstein
Try Stream of Consciousness Writing
Ever feel like your mind is running around like a puppy dog chasing its own tail? Getting your thoughts out onto paper can help.
Stream of consciousness is a technique where you just sit and write whatever comes to mind, and it’s great for easing anxiety.
Some people like to do this activity first thing after waking. Alternatively, try it when you lose focus. It promotes creativity and can free you from ruminating thoughts.
A key tip? Don’t fret about spelling and grammar – just write! That way, you’re more likely to get into a flow state. Have you ever tried stream of consciousness writing?
Become a Divergent Thinker
Divergent thinking is the ability to come up with multiple solutions to a single problem. A pretty neat skill to have, don’t you think?
If out-of-the-box solutions aren’t usually your thing, don’t worry: there are techniques you can use to become a more creative and divergent thinker.
Some of those are brainstorming, mind-mapping, freewriting (see above!), bubble mapping, and taking care of your brain – e.g., by getting enough sleep.
Here’s a great round-up of these techniques and more. Why not give it a read the next time you have a sticky problem in front of you?
Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic & Founding Developer of WordPress
Matt Mullenweg doesn’t have set sleep and wake up times, but he does catch plenty of naps to get the sleep he needs. He:
- Wakes up early so he has time to read. “I’ve learned that sets my brain up in the right space.”
- Does exercise. He rotates through planks, squats, push ups, and yoga stretches.
- Meditates for at least 10 minutes using the Calm app.
- For work, removes all distractions and uses the Pomodoro technique (25 mins work, 5 mins rest, or sometimes 50-55 mins work with 10 mins rest).
- Uses music to help him focus, sometimes looping a favorite song over and over.
Why it works:
- Reading stimulates the mind, reduces stress and more.
- We hardly need to tell you – morning exercise is good!
- Multiple studies have found the Calm app effective for better sleep, stress reduction and more.
- The Pomodoro technique uses regular breaks to keep you motivated and refreshed. Here’s a round-up of the science behind it.
What about listening to music while working? Some people find it helps with focus, others don’t. One thing you can try is sticking to the right types of music.
Any recommendations of your own? Let us know what you like to listen to!