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CREATIVE FITNESS

Technological innovations, megatrends and the urgent questions of our time keep us on our toes. How do you assert yourself as a creative person in this incredibly fast-changing environment? It's clear that the one who's agile, responsive and resilient will win in the end. To stay productive and up to date, creatives today need to be more mentally and physically fit than ever before.

7:00 AM: WARM UP

Anyone who wants to be creative should start early in the morning. Staying awake for three days straight  is by no means a formula for achieving good performance in the long term. The one who's off to bed early is the one who's wide awake. Many underestimate how sleep deprivation can seriously affect both body and mind. Those who sleep too little are clearly less concentrated and less skillful, react more slowly and make ill-considered decisions.

About eight hours of sleep provide the necessary rest needed to master those days that feel like running a marathon. Those who are well rested have more learning and memory skills – the ideal starting point for analyzing and structuring new information. So here's the next briefing!

 

8:30 AM: GETTING YOUR HEAD AND BODY IN MOTION

For most creatives, the road to work looks something like this: You squeeze into the city with what feels like every other commuter out there at exactly the same time in the bus, tram or subway, and you're happy when the commute is over and you're free that chaos. That's pure stress first thing in the morning. Biking is a great alternative. According to the DKV health report, only half of Germans manage to exercise at least 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes intensively. Cycling to work every day will get you close to reaching this goal – and at the same time help you rid of stress.

Instead of scrolling through a colorful flood of images while sitting in public transport or isolating oneself from your surroundings with loud beats on your headphones, you could consciously perceive life around you again. Leaving the superficialities behind for a moment, letting your mind wander, and thinking through some approaches. When your head is clear, you're ready to take on new tasks and set your first ideas in motion.

10:27: TIME TO GO FOR IT

Outside, we argue over limits for pollutants and better air quality. But most don't think very much about the indoors. We spend up to 90 percent of our days in closed rooms – whether working, sleeping, on the subway or shopping. That can quickly get stifling – time for fresh air! However, anyone who chooses to use the time outside for a cigarette will quickly counteract that positive effect: With every puff, as a smoker, you absorb carbon monoxide, which binds much faster to red blood cells in the body – that means that oxygen has hardly any chance of getting into the blood.

Opening the window for just fifteen minutes or taking a walk around the block can clear your head again. This frees the mind to objectively evaluate and examine possible approaches critically.

12:45 PM: TIME TO RENEW YOUR ENERGY

It's lunchtime! But eating takes time – not to mention cooking healthy dishes. Stress and lack of time are some of the driving factors for an unhealthy diet. Both are well known in the job. But why try and save time here? Bad idea. So what helps? Having a plan helps. It's better to cook something simple than nothing at all. Give meal prepping a try. Pay closer attention to what you eat every day. Because those who invest a bit more time in terms of nutrition will also feel fitter, more energetic and more balanced.

The same virtuosity needed when dealing with ingredients can also be used in the next step of the creative process. After aligning with the task, it's time to think about the multichannel suitability. What's the creative potential of the idea and how can this best be implemented and networked in communication channels?

2:30 PM: CHEST OUT, REAR IN, HEAD HIGH

An occasional walk to the coffee machine or a few steps into the next meeting room. Nevertheless, we spend most of our work day sitting at the desk. Although you might even say slouching at a desk. The problem is that today's bad habit is tomorrow's health problem. 

It's not easy to get rid of bad posture, as it's usually been like that for many years. But it's never too late to change something. For this, you should try to remain aware, maintain your upright posture and correct it, if necessary. An optimal sitting position consists of many 90° angles: Lower leg to thigh, thigh to back, upper arm to forearm. It may not look so casual, but your future self in 2030 will be glad.

Maintaining the posture also applies to dealing with ideas: When presenting something to the team, you'll immediately notice whether your creative approach is working or not. Are there weaknesses? First of all, don't panic. Open and constructive feedback from colleagues can help.

3:45 PM: IN THE FLOW

If you're in the flow, you can stay flexible! Two to three liters of fluid are needed by a healthy adult every day. A good guideline is 35 milliliters per kilogram of body weight. This is often forgotten in the day's hustle and bustle. A water bottle on your table is a practical reminder. That way you can always keep an eye on how much you've already drunk or if you still have some catching up to do.

And how do you make a big splash in creative work? By condensing the message so that it can maximize its impact. So never forget the fine-tuning! That way you're ready for the presentation date.

6:25 PM: COOLING DOWN

Can you relax after all that effort? In the sixth season of Mad Men alone, Don Draper tilts a total of 52 drinks. In "39.90", Octave Parango  prefers cocaine. In the German book "Mein Todfreund, der Alkohol", Reinhard Siemens describes his career as a copywriter and drinker – the advertising industry, thanks to their acclaimed antiheroes, has a somewhat flattering reputation. As sociable as an after-work beer can be, you should keep in mind that your attention span is shorter, concentration and reactivity diminish, your reaction time is longer, but your willingness to take risks increases – and all this happens at a BAC level of 0.5.  

It's said that creativity starts when the mind stops obstructing thought. Blocking your mind with alcohol may work – but your thinking and creativity will fall by the wayside as it increases.

The necessary flexibility in thinking can only be gained by maintaining your creative fitness in the long term. With a mixture of mindfulness towards your own body and openness to the changes that are happening around you. That's why have to see ourselves as a whole and keep doing something for our creative fitness. Off we go!



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Arwed Berendts Managing Partner

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Email: a.berendts@saint-elmos.com