Four top creativity hacks

These are my top four battle-tested creativity hacks, guaranteed to boost your performance and innovative thinking.


2/11/20223 min read


Some of our most creative thoughts come when least expected, particular when we take our minds off current thoughts and challenges. For example, taking a brief walk in the morning, as you “fake your commute”, or a mid-day walking break can put you in a “ flow zone”  which can help boost creativity. 

Stanford researchers examined the creativity levels of people while they walked and while they sat. They discovered that a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60% when walking. They also found that walking indoors, as opposed to outside, similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking, not the environment, was the main factor.

Walking eliminates distractions, which helps get you into a creative mindset. Simply disconnecting yourself from your devices, being in the moment, helps your mind relax so you can see thoughts more clearly. 

man wearing red cap crossing street
man wearing red cap crossing street


We often associate yoga with core strength, flexibility, balance and general well-being. However, it also turns out that yoga can be an effective tool for tapping into our creativity. Scientific research backs up that yoga helps foster creative energy through the unification of mind, body and spirit. 

Practising yoga helps rewire your brain for more innovative thinking, especially as you step outside your comfort zone, expand your consciousness and elevated perspective. First, yoga helps a deep release of stress and emotions held at a cellular level in the hips, heart area and shoulders. From here, Yoga unblocks the energy channels in the body by increasing the circulation of blood and prana, which has a stimulating effect on the brain and heart. Through increased energy flow, suppleness of body and mind comes greater mental clarity. In addition, yogic breathing practices increase the Alpha brain waves, where brilliant ideas arise and where athletes find their zone. 

I now practise yoga twice a week, as cross-training for cycling. A weekly, early-morning class is great, as it also has the social aspect. And, I combine this with a one-on-one session, where my teacher, Jess, pushes me way outside of my comfort zone each week.

woman doing yoga meditation on brown parquet flooring
woman doing yoga meditation on brown parquet flooring


The benefits of meditation far outweigh managing stress, reducing anxiety and cultivating peace of mind. Studies have shown that mindful meditation leads to increased innovative thinking and the generation of new ideas.

Meditation decreases the negative neurological connections of the medial prefrontal cortex - the “me centre” of the brain. However, it also builds new positive neurological connections to the parts of the brain responsible for promoting positive traits like focus and decision-making. Furthermore, research also shows that grey matter, the area of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, planning, and problem-solving, and the cortical thickness, responsible for learning and memory, increases with regular meditation practice. 

Headspace makes meditation easy. They have a vast library of guided meditation sessions, covering a wide selection of areas, such as productivity, motivation, creativity etc., and just taking time out during the middle of the day for 10 minutes of guided meditation can boost your creative afternoon skills. 

woman wearing black sports bra
woman wearing black sports bra


Last but in no means least, is of course my passion - cycling. There are two excellent, and well-researched articles published by Cafe du Cycliste, in La Gazette, on the topic of the connection between cycling and creativity. In the first article, “Cycling and creativity, by Remi Clermont”, they state the fact that “The brain expands as your body works harder, your mind focuses in a different way and opens up like the road ahead… where you can innovate, think outside the box and go in a direction that isn’t obvious at first.”

When you climb, you get into your rhythm and can often just lose yourself in the moment. I’ve written presentations in my head before during beautiful mountain climbs. The name of my company, Zone 4, also just popped into my head while out on a long ride one Sunday morning. Sometimes, usually mid-afternoon, I find my motivation and productivity dropping, so I go out and ride for an hour, and when I return, my creativity and motivation feels like it’s been turbocharged with all those endorphins. 

If you want to read more on the topic of how cycling can unlock creative thinking, I’d recommend this article by Cafe du Cycliste, drawing on research by Stanford University and the University Côte d’Azur, on the link between cycling and creativity

man riding bicycle on road during daytime
man riding bicycle on road during daytime