Depending on the time of day, your creativity will peak and fall. We’re exploring what causes this and how you can maximize your creativity.
There is an ongoing debate on whether or not creativity is affected by the time of day. Some people say that expressing creativity in the morning is optimal because your mind is fresh and ready to produce creative content. However, others would tell you that the best time to be creative is late at night because you have a full day of experiences and decision-based situations behind you.
Neil Patel, a world renowned marketer, conducted research to determine the best time for creativity. We will analyze some of his results, which are displayed in the infographic below.
Morning People vs. Evening People
We all have that one friend who seems to wake up in the morning, happy as can be. This type of person typically loves waking up early, eating a healthy breakfast and diving into daily tasks. Typically, these people will also go to sleep early, exhausted after a hard day of work. These are morning people.
On the other hand, you probably have a friend that you can’t even talk to before 10:00 AM because they’re still trying to wake up. They can usually be found with a mug of coffee on their desk, and you know not to approach them until they’ve finished their third. However, this type of person typically stays up late being productive. These are evening people.
Surprisingly, Neil Patel’s research shows that ‘morning people’ are actually better at solving problems in the evening, as their minds are less focused. When you’re focused on too many tasks, you limit your creativity.
‘Evening people’ excel at solving problems creatively in the morning for the same reason: although they may be tired in the morning, this enhances creativity, as their mind is able to focus on fewer tasks.
Patel’s research shows that when your mind gets tired your focus broadens, allowing you to see more opportunities. In other words, when you’re less focused, your creative mind goes to work.
Distraction Leads To Creativity
Although this may sound contradictory, Patel’s study found the mind to be at its most creative when lacking focus. If you’re staring at a paper forcing yourself to be focused, don’t expect anything to come to mind. Instead, let your mind wander and you may have a stroke of brilliance.
Patel’s research shows that showering, driving, running and dreaming are optimal “distraction” opportunities to enhance creativity. How many times have you heard of someone coming up with a brilliant idea while in the bathroom or cooking a meal? It happens, and it works.
It’s OK To Be Bored
People who are always focused and busy tend to be less creative. If you can’t sit down for a 30-minute lunch and let your mind run free for a bit, don’t expect an increase in creativity. Being too busy can stunt your creative capability.
In fact, this is one of several reasons why smartphones can be a hazard; they keep us from ever being bored.
For one hour a day, allow your mind to wander. Don’t think about business or your never-ending to-do list. Definitely don’t check social media. Instead, just be bored and let your creativity flow. I personally like to hike or fish to relax and let my mind get distracted; it’s no surprise that I come up with some of my most creative ideas while I’m miles away from the nearest computer or office. Note: carry a little notebook to record the inspiration you come up with.
Advantages to writing in the morning
Patel’s research provided us with several reasons why it’s best to write in the morning:
- We have the most willpower in the morning.
- We’re more creative in the morning (creative activity is highest during and immediately after sleep).
- We’re usually in better moods (though tell that to your workforce at 9 AM on a Monday!).
- It helps build the habit of getting more tasks out of the way early on.
Mornings are a good time to start writing as your focus may be lagging, raising your levels of creativity. When writing in the morning, don’t worry too much about editing or in-depth research. Instead, just write. You can go back and make changes once your mind is more focused.
Advantages to writing in the evening
Here are Patel’s advantages to writing in the evening:
- There are no distractions.
- Your day has filled you with inspiration.
- You’re not in a hurry to do other work.
Evenings may be your only opportunity if you’re simply too busy to write during the day. Trying to find time to write in the middle of a busy day when you’re focused on other tasks will most likely produce dry and scattered content. Instead, schedule time for later on. By evening time, your mind should be relaxed and free from daily tasks.
Do some writing at different times of the day to discover when you’re most creative. If you’re a morning person, try to write creative content at night. Likewise, if you’re an evening person put your creative mind to work in the morning. When you do find the optimal time for creativity, factor that into your routine. Patel’s research shows that by writing at the same time each day, your brain adjusts with your schedule.
Don’t focus too much on being creative. Instead, open your mind and the creativity will flow.
Note: I wrote this in the morning, so go ahead and judge my level of creativity based on that.
Let us know what time of day you’re most creative. Comment below or send us a Tweet @WestHost!