As a media professional, it’s a safe bet your day is filled with client meetings, rewrites, scope changes or impending deadlines. And then there’s the whole being-a-thought-provoking-creative-who-pushes-the-bounds-of-digital-media thing. Crazy, right? If this way beyond 9-5 routine is driving you to Burnout City, have we got some advice for you.
Read on for three small ways that make for big improvements to your workday.
1. Take More Breaks
We get it: You’re busy. But plowing through your to-do list isn’t going to do anything good for the work you’re creating or the ideas you’re developing. Recently, NPR’s The Salt podcast interviewed Kimberly Elsbach, associate dean and professor of organizational behavior at UC Davis. In it, Elsbach discusses how skipping breaks and not changing one’s location is “really detrimental to creative thinking.”
Think of your brain as a muscle because, well it is. And just like any muscle, it requires breaks. Need proof? A recent study suggests that brief mental breaks actually help us stay focused. And when we fail to take breaks while spending a prolonged period of attention on a single task, we’re actually impairing brain performance.
Stalled on a creative idea? Research is finding that taking a walk may lead to a boost in creativity. So, whether it’s a stroll around the block, or just stepping outside, taking your mind off the task at hand can help you to return refreshed with creative solutions, and maybe even some breakthrough ideas.
To get started, consider trying out the 52/17 method of taking breaks. That’s 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of non-work. Social scientists are finding this to be the magic ratio for productivity.
2. Exercise Before Work
If you’ve ever hit the gym before heading to the office, or even taken a pre-work walk, you get what we’re talking about here. In a field where you’re using creative brainpower for a good portion of your workday, and where stress is always looming, it’s important your mind and body is ready to take it all on.
Stress has been shown to lower your creative abilities. To battle this stress, or at least distract it, experts suggest exercise may be the key.
And the good mood from exercise has been found to last for up to 12 hours. This means an early morning jog could keep your mood up and stress down all the way into the evening.
3. Rebrand the Term “Issues”
Another day in a creative office, another issue to deal with. Maybe the logo you designed isn’t ‘popping’ enough for the client. Or the additional designs created are pulling the project out of scope. This is the nature of the business, and issues are a daily occurrence. Instead of labeling them “issues,” rebrand them into something positive, like goals.
Author and public speaker Jeffrey Baumgartner, says calling your problems goals can help to illuminate the crux of the matter. “Formulating goal statements from problems makes you think about the problem and what aspect of it you actually wish to solve,” he says.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Our marketing materials seem to be moving off-brand.
Let’s see how we can make our future content more on-brand while looking at ways to further develop our brand voice.
By looking at your issues as goals, you’re not only changing a negative to a positive, you’re also helping yourself and your team approach issues from a more productive standpoint. And that’s bound to make your day go better.
Another way to make your workday awesome? Being the go-to source for latest industry knowledge and trends. Check out Mediabistro’s online courses where you’ll expand your expertise, excel your career and become the smartest person in the room.