Boost Your Creativity

“Turn that off until your homework’s done!”

When I was a kid, no one’s mother let them do homework while watching TV or listening to music.

These days, earbuds are every student’s constant companion. When questioned about it, they quote research that shows music actually helps concentration, memory, and creative thinking.

What they sometimes fail to recognize is that those studies have shown that a certain type of music—instrumental—has those benefits. Songs with lyrics actually cause your brain to spend part of its effort deciphering them, even if you aren’t conscience of the words.


It doesn’t really matter what the genre is. Some people like classical; others like bluegrass. Maybe you like to listen to something that evokes a certain mood, or is from a particular time or place, depending on what you’re working on. As long as it doesn’t have lyrics, music can help you create.

You probably already know that daylight inspires more creative thinking than artificial light. Try sitting in front of a window if it’s too hot/wet/etc. to go outside. If you can’t get enough sunlight, at least try to get lightbulbs that are full spectrum to get as close to natural light as possible.

Did you also know that people are (statistically) more creative when they work in a slightly warm room than in a slightly cool one? It’s more than just comfort: it also has to do with the energy your body uses to warm itself, which is energy the brain no longer has to do its thing. If you’re going to create in a chilly environment, don’t forget a sweater, and maybe some hot tea/coffee/cocoa.

Double duty! That hot tea/coffee/cocoa can also help by providing some caffeine. We all know caffeine gets the synapses firing, resulting in faster, clearer thinking and creativity. An excuse for your favorite beverage and some chocolate!


Triple duty! Just as using energy to warm yourself takes away from brain energy, so does energy used digesting a heavy meal. Plus, there’s that whole tryptophan thing, making you too sleepy to produce high quality work after a big meal. On the other hand, hunger is distracting, too. So a snack, like the aforementioned chocolate and drink, works perfectly.

 It seems that for maximum creative potential, one should play instrumental music, at a moderate level, outside, on a warm day, after a light snack including something caffeinated.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I know way late comment, but I found the Saved by the Bell TV show to be an excellent background to homework!


  2. I wasn’t allowed to do homework front of the TV. Had to be at the table or in my room (which, back in those days, had no TV or computer or even radio).


  3. […] then, I love to listen to their CDs as I write. The right music has been scientifically proven to help creativity – and this is the right music. If you’re looking for something to give a little extra spark to […]


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