3 warm-ups to radically improve creativity

Tom Simpson
February 27, 2024
1 min read
1 min read

Practicing being creative

It can be hard to know where to start in your creative time. I suggest doing a warmup which not only contributes to your creative session but develops your ability to think creatively in the long run.

Here are three great exercises you can do to improve two forms of creativity: divergent and convergent thinking.

  1. Open Monitoring Meditation
  2. Focused Attention Mediation
  3. 10 Ideas Exercise

In a podcast by Huberman Lab, Andrew Huberman walks through some meditation exercises that can help improve two forms of creativity: Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking.

Divergent Thinking - Open Monitoring Meditation exercise:

Open Monitoring Meditation is an exercise that improves divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is a form of creativity that expands upon ideas, coming up with many possible solutions. It is characterised by the ability of the mind to wander, find new possibilities, and free flowing thought.

How it works:

Close your eyes and allow whatever thoughts, emotions or ideas to arise, taking inventory of them as you go. The key is not to judge these thoughts, just follow them freely as they come up. Try this for a few minutes in order to practice free flowing thought. If practiced on a regular basis, this exercise will improve divergent thinking ability.

Convergent Thinking - Focused Attention Meditation exercise:

Convergent thinking combines multiple elements in a way that makes sense. It requires more focus and persistence and feels like a puzzle that you are trying to solve. The Focused Attention Meditation exercise helps enhance your ability to draw creative conclusions and ultimately helps with accessing memory; a necessary part of convergent creativity.

The exercise: Focused Attention Meditation

Close your eyes and focus on a particular location, idea or sound, and persist in focusing on that element for a series of a few minutes. Continually bring your focus back to that point. Alternatively, you could open your eyes and fixate on a point on the wall. The important thing is that this exercise focuses your attention.

If you are particularly interested in expanding your creative thinking, a good sequence would be to do 5 minutes of the Open Monitoring Meditation, and then 5 minutes of the Focused Attention Mediation directly after. Repeat this each morning or every other morning to really improve your creativity.

10 Ideas exercise:

Another divergent thinking exercise that I practice each morning is a simple but effective exercise of coming up with ideas. Research suggests that quantity is more important than quality in the early phases of generating creative solutions.

How it works:

Come up with 10 ideas on a particular topic or subject; it can be anything. Once you reach number four or five, it can be hard to think of more and this is where the resistance training kicks in. This practice helps with idea generation and pushing through when options seem limited.

The options are endless but here are a few examples:

  • 10 ridiculous things I would invent
  • 10 books I can write
  • 10 business ideas
  • 10 things I learned yesterday
  • 10 things I want to get better at

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