Sometimes the afternoons drag. The clock slows, energy wanes, eyelids begin to redden and swell over eyeballs, and core body temperature drops in an act of corporeal self-preservation. You are experiencing midday hibernation, that phenomenon that occurs when the heart rate slows and the body enters a shock-like phase as work bears down, tiredness kicks in, and your attention span begins to wane. We all experience it at some point, and it is in these moments that you may ask questions like “what am I doing with my life?” or “am I using my strengths to their potential?” In these moments, creativity is weak. Why does this happen?
Leave Lasagna Out of This
Many might blame lunch, as if my lasagna is at fault for decreased productivity. Sure, sometimes engorging yourself on Mexican food can be an energy-buster. But I think the age old post-lunchtime lull is a scapegoat for a far greater catalyst: lack of passion for the task at hand. I was reading an article today from the Harvard Business Review called “Creativity and Creative Groups: Two Keys to Innovation.” It focused on how managers can effectively create an environment that breeds creativity and one point in particular caught my attention. Based on research from Teresa Amabile, a Harvard smarty pants, inner passion to solve a problem leads to far more creative solutions than do external rewards, such as money. Moreover, intrinsic motivation can absolutely be influenced by the work environment. Thus, if you are working toward solutions that are linked to your passions or interests, or that use your talents and strengths, you are far more likely to maintain high levels of motivation and produce more creative results.
It’s important to point out that external motivation, like money, can also have a bearing on creativity but it is weaker than the power of intrinsic motivation, such as passion. This solidifies the need for individuals to find work that engages their values, strengths, and passions or to craft job assignments in a way that appeals to their interests. This kind of work is an antidote to mid-afternoon slumps.
Yeah, But What Motivates Me?
Think of the last time that you were really engaged in something meaningful where you seemed to lose track of time and feel fully invested. This reflective tactic is a key to identifying those activities that are intrinsically motivating to you. You may not consciously participate in them because they appeal to your passions but you are drawn to them because they subconsciously fulfill some kind of need. Pinpoint the last time that you felt “lost” in a task, whether for leisure or for work. But don’t stop there. Identify why you were so engrossed in the activity. What about it sucked you in? Learn to really analyze the things that give you energy and pull out the consistencies that you can replicate in your day-to-day work, or that you can build a career around.
Creatively solving a problem can often lead to a vocation and the best creativity comes from intrinsic motivation based on your passions. Did you like this article? “Like” it below too! And share it with your friends around 2pm today…it may be a slump-buster for them.
Hi! I'm Dustin.
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