We have attempted a multitude of productivity hacks and apps in the past, but often find ourselves lost in daydreams or doodling while time slips away. Should we feel guilty taking moments to relax instead of focusing on pressing tasks? Absolutely not! Research has demonstrated that taking pauses during periods of intense concentration yields improved productivity and even invites moments of creative thinking.

[Read: Why We Daydream? A Daydreamer’s Guide to Goal Setting]

In this competitive and demanding world, creativity is becoming more valued than ever. You may be able to complete all of your tasks, but it will take real ingenuity and inventive solutions to really stand out in the job market. Here are some activities that’ll help you flex those creative muscles!

Take a Moment to Refresh and Rejuvenate Yourself

Have you ever noticed your best ideas appear to arise out of nowhere when you’re no longer concentrated on finding a solution? It’s not just serendipity, but science! In fact, research from 2012 actually demonstrates that allowing yourself to wander mentally requires quite a mental effort. Thus, although it may seem like daydreaming is powering down your brain – it’s in actuality engaged at full capacity! Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life to foster a mindset conducive to creative thinking. Utilize these two techniques for maximum results during your moments of respite:

1. Switch to an activity that’s easy on the mind. To uncover ideas that would’ve been otherwise overlooked, it’s essential to vary your activities. Every 90 minutes or so, insert a 15-minute break into your agenda and replace the strenuous task with something less demanding such as taking a walk or tidying up. It doesn’t take much; just switching tasks is sufficient enough to extend one’s focus allowing them to form connections between concepts they may have missed before.

2. Do (almost) nothing. If meditating isn’t your thing, try to take a moment of silent reflection. Even though it appears void of activity, silence has been proven to be incredibly calming and even stimulate the growth of new brain cells as we contemplate our past experiences.

[Watch: A Simple Meditation Exercise]

Play to Boost Your Imagination

Our lives can become consumed by daily duties and the constant barrage of negative news stories, leaving little time for playful creativity. But it’s essential that we make space in our busy schedules to tap into imagination – playtime has a massive influence on cultivating both artistic expression and mental acuity. Studies have demonstrated that taking part in fun activities not only boosts positive emotion but can also open up pathways to great insight!

Are you not having as much fun as usual? Follow these two easy tips to rekindle your inner playfulness.

1. Tap into your history of play. Remember the childhood activities that you enjoyed doing, such as playing with legos, dominating video games, or drawing pictures of your pets? Why not go back to these basics and revisit them by purchasing new supplies for an updated experience!

2. Enjoy the little ones in your life. Watching kids play is not only entertaining but also inspiring! The next time you’re near your children or those of your friends, jump into their imaginative world and get involved. Their creativity will inspire innovative ideas in no time!

[Read: 7 Podcasts That Will Help You Find Your Passion]

Regularly expressing your creativity can help you rediscover the pure bliss that might have been left behind. This virtuous cycle will fill you with more joy and inventiveness, transforming your life as an adult in unique ways that simply checking off a to-do list cannot.

This article originally appeared on Brit + Co

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