Why creative work is different to other kinds of work

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You’ve probably heard many times over that you should do your most important work at whatever time of day you feel the most energetic.

And I’m here to tell you: kinda.

If your work requires clear, focused, logical thinking? Then yes, do it when you’re feeling energetic.

But if your work requires creativity? Not so much.

Here’s the sitch

Your brain has two basic modes:

  • Central executive mode: This is where you’re focused on a particular task, and you’re paying close attention to whatever you’re doing.
  • Mind-wandering mode: Does what it says on the tin. This is where you’re not consciously aware of what you’re thinking, and your mind is drifting from thought to thought.

Central executive mode is great for when you’re doing work that requires linear thinking. But it doesn’t serve you so well when you need to be creative.

Why is that? Well, creativity requires us to make unexpected and left-field connections between different ideas, and our brains make these connections most when we’re not particularly focused. (Yes, that is why you have your best ideas in the shower. Always wondered about that, didn’t you?)

When you’re have lots of energy, your brain is really good at staying in central executive mode. But when your energy reserves are running a little low… that’s when mind-wandering mode happens. That’s when you start making those magical mental connections that spark true creativity.

Now, I’m not saying that all the artists and photographers of the world should do their main work when they’re super sleepy. You still need to be awake and motivated enough to get work done.

So when should you do your creative work? Well my friend, that depends. Everyone’s daily rhythms of mental energy are a bit different, so there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. But never fear: I’ve got a guide for that!

To get your (totally free!) pdf guide on how to get the most out of your day based on your personal daily rhythm, just fill out the form below.


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