Boost Productivity and Creativity for Your Clients

Boost Productivity and Creativity and Your Business

Motivate adults to take more activity breaks for reasons other than fat loss, looking good, sleeping better.  You may be able to leverage your business clients – and swing some corporate coaching gigs because activity supports creativity and productivity.

No one is encouraged to take vacations, personal days, rest, or get a massage. At least not without a little teasing or guilt.  Accomplishments and work is rewarded far more today than vacation, rest, rejuvenation.

But there’s a wealth of information available proving that the breaks you take from the grind are where your breakthroughs will happen.

Albert Einstein’s breakthrough insights on relativity came not while at his desk but while riding his bicycle outside.

A creativity moment is not uncommon among exercisers. It’s no surprise that many writers tend to also be runners – or is it runners tend to be writers ?

Following exercise brain waves enter an alpha state associated with a reflective, clearheaded state of mind that is ripe for new ideas.

Could that be sabotaged by constant listening to podcasts or conducting phone calls while you’re working out? My guess is that the typical millennial (and my apologies to millenials who don’t) who is scrolling through emails, Instagram, and Twitter between sets is not getting any creative breakthroughs.

Boost Productivity and Creativity

Exercise could be a game changer – not just for longevity, and disease prevention, or fat reduction, getting into those back-of-the-closet clothes, but for reaching career goals. For men and women in midlife stressed, pushed, crunched for time, the break could mean avoiding breakdown and having breakthrough energy.

It’s longstanding knowledge that exercise decreases stress. This is so very related. Exercise is often the very thing we humans may not do while we’re in the middle of a final or important project because of the need to finish it.

Breaks Equal Breakthroughs

We never realize, or acknowledge that the longer we stare at a computer screen, sit in the stacks of library studying, pull together lesson plans for the semester, we’re failing. We could be avoiding the very thing that will help increase the quality and decrease the time it takes to finish the task.

Similar to the rest between fitness sessions being where the body actually gains the fitness… it’s not the actual doing of the research, the pulling together of the presentation or the notes for the report that makes it great. It’s in the breaks for physical activity (and of course proper sleep and food) that the ideas happen. The right passage for this chapter or that section, or the slogan for an ad campaign come to life not because of pushing hard but because of allowing that work foundation to then flourish when you’re away from it.

Remember fitness won’t happen in the presence of overtraining. So too could productivity and creativity suffer in the presence of overwork. Major projects aren’t born out of pushing through as much as planning, working, rejuvenating, and reworking with better ideas.

Intuitively we know this. You write an email or an article. You don’t send it. You come back later proof read, edit and then send. The time away is what lets you get it right.


Google is known for establishing campuses for employees that supposedly encourage them to stay longer. Yet, Google creates playful environments, and bike shops within it’s buildings where employees can tinker on bikes, they feel encouraged and supported to be active not in small ways but big ones. Dedicated space and tools are provided for bikers in the active bike community of Boulder. Showers are on site so employees can ride to work or take midday rides to free creativity.

A 2014 study by scientists at Stanford University showed that walking significantly improves certain types of cognitive efforts involved in creativity, specifically convergent thinking, such as the ability to come up with solutions to a problem, and divergent thinking, which involves conceiving open-ended, original ideas.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress in the presence of overwhelming schedules, projects, responsibilities, real or assumed, results in HPA axis activation constantly. HPA being the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis I discuss related to adrenal fatigue and true not just feelings of burnout but physical burnout. Before that physical tipping point however is where a lot of clients – particularly midlife clients – exist.

It actually reduces cognitive performance, reduces thyroid function, creates blood sugar imbalance, disrupts sleep, and lowers immune function (along with many more physical changes).

I’m highlighting the cognitive and mental changes that really occur in spite of the tendency to state there’s not time for exercising because there’s too much to do. As if spending more time on projects will actually get more done. It seems that the opposite is true. Taking time away from constant focus for short mental and physical breaks- or mental while physical breaks – is proven to be more effective.

Chronic Stress and Fight or Flight

With stress and unwillingness or inability to apply better health habits, you can easily create your own threats in your mind where none actually exist. By telling ourselves we can’t exercise because of a big project or crisis at home… or maybe this is you working on a new program, writing your 26 New Year’s clients workouts for the week. We actually create the health issues that create the inability to focus, concentrate and do our best (and fastest) work.

That spirals into thoughts of losing clients, losing jobs/getting fired, or failing school. Recently, a client had committed to strength training twice for about 30 minutes each and going to bed at a specific time as her homework. When she checked in at her session she’d done no strength training and she’d blown anywhere past bedtime by 90 minutes to 4 hours. She got adamant about making herself miserable for the next 4 months of her teaching were going to be hell. No suggestions were helpful. There was a reason each of them wouldn’t work for her and her situation was different.

The Opportunity

I encourage you to offer a challenge or invite clients to a study. Find a company you can work with on measuring the ability for exercise to boost productivity and creativity. Create a simple assessment tool – a quiz from managers or from employees or both. Find out starting ratings on the quality and quantity of work and stress levels, perceived creativity and productivity. Then have them exercise regularly regardless of schedules and see what the change is after a period of time.

Additional resources:

“When I’m still the mind can race. When you race – or run or swim – the mind can watch and be still.”

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