While it’s important to realize that we don’t always have to be productive, sometimes work just needs to get done. Creative work can be some of the hardest to complete because it’s not a simple “do this checklist” kind of work.

Here’s a list of 7 ways that I have found help spark my creativity and get me more motivated to work, and they can each be done in 30 minutes or less!

1. Play an instrument or sing and dance to your favorite song

I’m back now from having just jammed at my piano for 15 minutes or so. I’ve always found fiddling around on the piano to be super relaxing, especially when I’m particularly stressed out or just not feeling like getting anything done. Getting away from whatever I’m working on and stepping into the world of music is a great way to re-energize my system and let go of whatever might be bothering me or getting in the way of my work.

Still skeptical? Turns out there are other famous or historical people that turned to music to help them throughout life. Thomas Jefferson played the violin and is quoted “Music…this is the greatest passion of my soul.” He was known to be an excellent violinist and even brought a small violin with him to practice while traveling. While there may not be  direct historical evidence that music caused him to be a better thinker or politician, it is obvious that he often turned to the violin for a break from all of his work and to help him rest.

Don’t play an instrument or aren’t particularly musical? No worries! Just look up your favorite song, turn it up high, and sing or dance to it! There are no qualifications for enjoying music!

2. Go for a walk

Walks are probably one of the best things you can do to boost your creativity and get you excited about making things again.

We rent an apartment on a small farm, and I love walking around the property and on nearby roads. There are so many beautiful wildflowers in the spring, always some kind of animal hopping around, so much life that I never would have noticed if I had stayed inside at my desk.

Being out in creation and enjoyed the beauty that God has put all around us always cheers me up and helps me feel more rested and excited to be alive. Plus, the extra exercise is always good; sitting around all day never helped anyone!

Even if you live in the city or a suburban area, try to find a nearby park or forest where you can lose yourself for a bit. Walk around and observe what’s going on in nature. Pay attention to the little things like caterpillars or the pattern of fallen leaves on the ground. Taking this time to relax and reflect is an excellent way to recharge and prepare yourself for the rest of your work day.

3.Write a letter

I love writing letters to family and friends. Not only is it fun to share a small portion of your life with another, it’s super fun to receive letters back!

Taking a few minutes to write a letter can enable you to process what’s going on in your life, simple by telling it to another. Maybe there’s been something on your mind, maybe you are bursting with excitement about a new opportunity that has come up! Whatever it is, put it in your letter. Your friend will enjoy reading it, and you might just find that you feel better too!

4. Create something “unimportant”

Ha, so you may be thinking that if you’re stuck in a creative rut, nothing you make can possibly be important! And maybe you’re right. The point here is to just make something.

Similar to the last suggestion, just the act of putting something together can spark another thought that leads to a great new idea that you want to try.

Doodle on your notebook, go outside and take a few photos just for fun, make a photo postcard, anything that lets you be free and just enjoy the creative process!

5. Take a nap

This may sound like a productivity killer, but take my word for it, sometimes you just need a nap!

Many of us have fallen into the trap of getting much less sleep than we should. This may work for awhile, but in the end this will only cause more exhaustion and less stamina to be creative!

I’ve found that a quick 20-30 minute nap is all it takes sometimes to totally revive my afternoon. If you often find yourself drowsy mid-afternoon and are able, just try a quick nap, it can work wonders!

6. Read a chapter of a book

As you all know, I love reading! I’ll take pretty much any excuse to read at any time at all!

Reading a book is like taking a glance at someone else’s world. When I read I am leaving behind all of the worries and busy thoughts of my day, and taking a journey in a totally new place. I am allowing myself to suspend reality for awhile and go where the author is taking me.

I’ve often found that after taking a quick reading break, I can take what I’ve learned from spending a bit of time in someone else’s world and see my creative work in a new light. I may have been struck by an idea or just given my brain enough time to rest, either way, my work usually becomes easier and more fun after reading a bit.

Disclaimer: If you’re like me, reading one chapter is like eating one potato chip-not going to happen! If this is the case, set yourself a timer and do NOT allow yourself to keep reading after it goes off.

7. Cook/bake

Sometimes the best way to nourish your creativity is to create something different than you usually would.

Cooking and baking are great ways to get your hands dirty and do something fun (and necessary!) On days when I feel like I’m burnt out from working, cooking a nice dinner or trying a new recipe is a fun way that I can get my mind off of work and do something with my hands.

Sitting at a computer and typing all day gets old. I believe that all of us were meant to create with our hands, through cooking, crafting, and any number of things! Make sure to take some time to let yourself have some fun in the kitchen. Mistakes are allowed, and who knows, you may end up with a super yummy lunch!

Next time you find yourself in a creative rut or completely unmotivated to work, try one of these activities! It can totally improve your day!