You love your job. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can get a little bored.
Maybe you’ve been working on a project for so long that you’re starting to lose focus, and need a little break. Or maybe you’re just waiting for client sign-off, or particular assets to arrive in your inbox before you can progress further.
Either way, it’s time for your brain to take a wander and do something else for a little while. But don’t, whatever you do, get sucked into the time and energy-draining vortex that is social media … that way lies madness.
At Shillington, we’re all about spending our time being creative and productive, even during our downtime. So here we present 16 more creative things you can do to refocus and get your mind sharp for the rest of the day.
There have been so many great TED talks over the years, and almost all of them are available to watch online for free. Why waste 20 minutes on Facebook when you could instead spend 20 minutes learning and getting inspired? If you need help in finding the best talks, check our selections of 10 TED Talks that will change how you work forever, 16 superb TED Talks every designer should watch and 25 inspiring TED Talks by some of the world’s most creative women.
It’s common knowledge that sweeping off the cobwebs and taking off for a walk can help your brain process things more efficiently and help you come up with new creative solutions. So, find the nearest park or river, and head off for a blast of fresh air and a change of scenery.
Just switch off your phone and stay offline, otherwise, you may as well have stayed at your desk!
Some people can find it boring just going for a walk, but you don’t have to stare at a screen for stimulation. There a million and one podcasts online, most available to download for free, on every subject you can think of. If you want some direction, then check out our selection of the 40 best creative podcasts.
Countless studies have shown that yoga offers mental and physical benefits, including better health, increased strength and flexibility, reduce stress, depression and anxiety. And the best thing is, you don’t need special training, clothing or equipment to do it. Anyone can fit in a short yoga routine in your office, and there are plenty of videos to walk you through one on YouTube. Here’s an example.
You may not have completed a colouring book since childhood, but you’re probably aware they’ve recently seen a resurgence among adults.
And for good reason: losing yourself in colouring-in can be a great way to practice mindfulness, improving your mood and reducing your stress levels. You’ll find a range of colouring books in WH Smith and most good bookshops. Check out Shillington lecturer and designer Shanti Sparrow’s colouring books, too.
Fancy something a little more challenging than colouring in? Then why not draw on your layout skills and gather together some of your favourite photos into a photo book? It could be themed on a family outing, a holiday or just the year just gone. Either way, it’s a great gift to share with friends and relatives or just a talking point when you have visitors. You’ll find a good guide to photo book printing services here.
Online quizzes aren’t usually to be taken mega-seriously, but they’re fun and can sometimes lead to some unexpected insights. Adobe’s What’s your creative type? quiz certainly falls into that category. Based on psychology research, it assesses your basic habits and tendencies to help you better understand who you are as creative. It’s just 15 questions so doesn’t take too long, but it’s a nice way to think about your work and career in a different way.
Tired of listening to the same music all the time?
Then next time you have some downtime, spend it making a new playlist on Spotify.
How to find new music? Well, Spotify itself has a lot of curated playlists, including ‘Discover Weekly’, ‘New Music Friday’ and ‘Release Radar’, plus you can also hear new music based on band radio stations or friend’s playlists. Also, if you have Shazam, why not look through past searched songs and follow-up with the whole album?
Is the whole office on downtime? Then rather than each individually staring at Facebook, why not see it as a bonding opportunity? You could, for instance, all play a fun game like Spaceteam, a fast-paced, ‘cooperative shouting card game’ in which you race to repair your malfunctioning spaceship. A great way to relax and have a laugh with friends and colleagues.
Want to test your knowledge and learn new things? Then head to Sporcle, where you can take thousands of free online quizzes.
With categories ranging from sports, geography and music to literature, science and gaming, you’re bound to find a quiz that stimulates your grey matter.
There are so many great non-fiction books in publication that it’s impossible to read them all in one lifetime. Hence the rise of Blinkist, which allows you to choose from 3,000+ books to “read” in 15 minutes or less. Okay, you don’t get the whole book, but you do get the main lessons from each, distilled down into their basic essence. You can either listen or read, and get titles specific to your interest.
If you work in a city, ask yourself how much you really know about it? In most places there are guided tours, leaving daily, and many of them are free. They’re primarily aimed at tourists, but there’s no rule to say you can’t join in too. So take some time out from your day job, and see the area you work in from a different perspective.
Sometimes when you’ve spent all day staring at a screen, staring at a book, magazine or newspaper can be an extra strain on your eyes that you could do without. So consider downloading an audiobook instead. A 30-day free trial with Audible lets you listen to one audiobook plus two ‘Audible Originals’ without shelling out a penny.
Looking for a way to refresh your energy and see the world through a new perspective? Then pick a subject or theme, and go on a ‘photo walk’, in search of appropriate images. You could focus, for example, on ‘ornate doors’ or ‘interesting typography’ in your area.
Meditation is like a reboot for your brain, and you don’t need to be in a Buddhist temple to do it.
Any quiet place will do, whether that’s an empty conference room in your office or around the corner in the park. Just 10 minutes of meditation can be a great way to achieve mindfulness, and fully recharge your creative energies: here’s a quick guide that explains how to go about it.
Moving your body to a beat is guaranteed to make you smile and also burn off a little boredom. There are loads of apps and online courses to teach you to dance. We love Steezy for its video dance classes covering all sorts of contemporary genres. Or there’s Pocket Salsa for your smartphone, where you can learn to salsa in minutes.
Or, if you’re really buzzing for a creative change, consider studying graphic design 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time at Shillington in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. No experience required.
Header image credit: Photokraft photography