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Following up yesterday, sometimes when you’re working on a project, it’s hard to quit so that you can work in a creative mental refresh.

Doing live events leads to many short nights from getting ready and wrapping up results. Earlier this year due to delayed United Airlines flights, I didn’t walk into the hotel room until 2 a.m. and had to be up at 5 a.m. to prep for hosting a 7 hour session. While your situations may be different, chances are you also have times where you haven’t had enough sleep but have to be on top of your game. Here are some tips that work me:

Eat – There’s a lot to be said for refueling your body with healthy food. When producing a conference in Vegas once, I was among the walking dead. Friends forced me to sit down and eat a salad. Afterward, I was good for five more hours. Another person told me once that during long work sessions, he needed at least one “hot” (meal) per day. Single-serving, microwavable soup can be a quick answer there. You can heat them in most hotel rooms or at least in the lobby, and a quick shot of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup can do wonders for a creative mental refresh.

Caffeine and Water – Specifically for me, Diet Dr. Pepper. I know caffeine isn’t good for you, but pounding diet drinks can help sustain you over the course of a day, especially if you’re alternating it with water. Thus the inside joke among co-workers that my sessions never go more than 90 minutes without a bio break!

A Nap (on the floor) – This isn’t for everyone, but I’m blessed with the ability to fall asleep very easily. I started sleeping on the floor doing all nighters at my first job. Because the floor isn’t comfortable, you tend not to sleep for very long. Especially with lights and noise going, you’ll wake up soon, but usually with just enough rest to give you a burst of energy.

Exercise – Walk the hall, go up and down stairs, or run around the building. Anything to get your mind focused more on physical than mental exertion will do the trick.

Shower & Get Into Casual Clothes – If you don’t have time for sleep, a quick shower and change of clothes can give you a refreshing break and reset your perspective. For me, there’s something about throwing on jeans that simply helps me think better. And the shower will help you to smell better too, especially if you just ran around the building.

Pray – Remove yourself mentally for a moment and reflect spiritually. It can not only give you greater peace of mind, it can also provide a creativity boost.

There are my six tips for a quick mental re-charge. Please leave a comment to let everyone know what works for you!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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  1. How to Be Creative and Overcome a Creative Block - 26 Ideas | The Brainzooming Group | Strategy Consulting and Strategic Planning - June 21, 2011

    […] Tend to Your Basic Needs – Drink some water. Take a shower. Eat your favorite meal. Eat something you’ve never eaten before.  Take care of the basic needs of life and then restart your creative efforts. […]