What Time Of Day Are You Most Creative?


Our circadian rhythm dictates the time of day we’re most likely to be most creative.

Unfortunately, many creatives find that their best ideas come to them in the evenings or late at night, and that trying to force creativity during the work day is more likely to produce stress than a valuable design or article idea.

We all know that stress and frustration are creativity-killers, and that’s why it’s important to stop forcing creativity when it’s not happening. For many people, peak cognitive time and peak creative time don’t coincide — but that doesn’t have to be a problem. Here’s how to work out your most creative time of day, and how to put it to good use:

Get enough sleep

If your sleep schedule is out of whack, it’s easy to assume you’re a night owl, and that you work best after midnight. For some people, this may be the case, but others will find that getting to bed earlier on a regular basis will actually bring that creative peak forward a few hours, so you’re at your best late evening instead of late at night. You can then go to bed earlier, and will find that the first half of the work day doesn’t seem to drag quite so much.

Listen to your body

If coming up with new ideas is near impossible in the afternoon, then don’t worry about it. Focus on what you can do — you’ll save time, because you won’t be searching hopelessly for an idea that isn’t there. As long as you’re aware of when you think best creatively, and set this time aside, you’ll be fine.

Don’t think during creative time

Say you’re most creative in the early evening. Rather than sitting down at your desk and repeating ‘I need an idea’ over and over in your head until you panic, stop, and engage in another activity that allows your brain to relax. Household chores, like folding washing or rearranging a bookshelf, are great for this. If you’ve ever had a good idea in the shower, you’ll understand the importance of working on autopilot — you’re not really thinking of anything, but your brain is working to solve creative problems without you even realising it.

Break up your day

Your brain needs time to switch gears, so don’t expect to finish one project and go straight onto the next. Likewise, emailing clients all morning and then sitting down to think up an idea is not going to do you much good. Have a nap, or go for a walk — and if you can’t do either, just put on some relaxing music and sit in the dark with your eyes closed for five minutes. Don’t think about what you have to do next, just let your mind relax and refresh itself before you go onto your next task.

Make use of useless days

Didn’t sleep well last night? Under the weather? Had one drink at lunchtime, and now feeling ready to crash? Instead of writing the day off, give yourself permission to skip all cognitive tasks and just let yourself be creative. Being sleepy, groggy, or even a little drunk can actually help you make connections that you wouldn’t normally make, and although you might not be up to writing a brochure or designing a website, you’re probably still capable of coming up with ideas you can use later. And if not? Just rest. Relaxing is good for creativity, too.

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By Sam Wright

Sam Wright works for Brand Republic. As a freelance writer, he understands the importance of making good use of your creative time.


John Zakour

John Zakour is a humor, science fiction and fantasy writer with a Master’s degree in Human Behavior.

He has written thousand of gags for syndicated comics, comedians and TV shows (including: Rugrats, The tonight show and, Joan River’s old TV show.)  John currently writes his own syndicated comics, Working Daze and Maria’s Day for Universal Press.

Working Daze appears in papers all over the world (well the US, Scotland, Canada and Taiwan) and has a regular following with over 100,000 readers. John also has been a contributor to Nickelodeon magazine writing Fairly Odd Parents, Rugrats and Jimmy Neutron comic books. John also writes Simpsons comics for Bongo comics.

He has written seven humorous SF novels for Daw books (the first The Plutonium Blonde was named the funniest SF book of 2001 by The Chronicle of Science Fiction).  All seven of John’s novels have been reproduced as audio books by Graphic Audio.  John has also written three YA books, four humorous self-help books and three books on HTML.  John has also optioned two tv shows and three movies. In the 80s and 90s John was a computer programmer and web guru for Cornell University and was also an EMT and judo instructor.  John currently lives in upstate NY with his wife a professor at Cornell University.  The two of them have one son.  For exercise John plays softball, is a competitive pickleball player and still hits his punching bag daily.  To relax John likes to play World of Warcraft, watch TV and do Tai Chi.

Register on our site to read John Zakour’s work. Membership is free for read and review.

Mikey Flynn

Mikey Flynn is originally from County Clare in Ireland. His parents moved to Brooklyn, when he was eight years-old, and he has lived in trauma ever since.

Mikey’s mother wanted him to become a doctor, or at least sober, like his dad.  Sadly, Mikey couldn’t cut the mustard. However, he did become a psychiatric nurse, and joined the NHS in 1999.

Mikey suffers from xenophobia, mild-psychosis, and ‘bargain-basement’ self-esteem brought about by a failure to live up to his own high-standards.

Mikey’s writing depicts a life lived on the edge, and then some. His humour is with weirdness gleaned from life lived on the psychological edge. Writing allows Mikey to fully explore his chronic state of cruelty. Mikey also writers for our blog, at New London Bloggers.

Join Our Site To Read Mikey Flynn’s Work!

Alternative bio

Author of Zombie DIC

Mikey Flynn is an ‘Irish Yank’ from Brooklyn, New York. He moved to England when he was eight years-old, stowing away on a cruiser ship bound for Scotland. The rest of the family soon followed suit.

Mikey wanted be a doctor, like his dad, but couldn’t cut the mustard. He did however complete his nurses training in 1999.

Now, ‘a fat, lazy basturd’ (Mikey’s own words) Mikey suffers from severe paranoia, mild xenophobia, agitated depression, and a host of other complaints, including “bargain-basement self-worth”.

Mikey writes candidly about his miserable life, combining strong social commentary with elements of crime and brutality, a genre that allows Mikey to fully explore his chronic state of cruelty.

Mikey’s literary influences are the Italian medieval saint, John Gotti, and Irish writer Maura Laverty, author of ‘Full and Plenty’.

Join Our Site To Read Mikey Flynn’s Work!

John Turnbull

John Turnbull, born as a last bastion on the sea of change in the idealistic hippiedom known as the 60s, started reading novels and short stories at a very early age, preferring horror and comedy. By 10 years old, after some off-kilter encouragements (to say the least) he decided to try writing his own stories. Throughout his formative teens, the stories alternately got him in a lot of trouble or earned him a lot of praise – both outcomes were viewed as signs of powerful writing. His travels and experiences from his occupations (from a professional touring musician to teaching English in Thailand to a brief stint acting in some dodgy movies, to name but a few) throughout his 20s and 30s gave him a plethora of material to draw from in subsequent writing forays. Now, at 43, John has over 200 short stories, 3 finished (but to-date unpublished) novels and 7 screenplays. With luck, exposure and representation, this body of work should soon be presented to the masses, (that’s you and me folks!)

William Lobban's Glasgow

william lobban

William Lobban was born in Exeter prison where his mother, Sylvia Manson, was serving time for her part in a daring heist, which, (like so many of the criminal adventures in young William’s life), went pear-shaped.

The opening sets the tone for Lobban’s life as heir to one of the more ‘successful’ crime families of the 60’s and 70’s. William’s uncle, hardman Robert Manson, (described by Lobban as a “real Glaswegian gangster of a long gone era”) was an underworld force until his murder in April 1983.

With the loss of his uncle, William’s life took a downward spiral. Robert Manson, (for all his hard man ways), defended the young William against the whims of a drunken, and volatile mother.

The rules of the game were straightforward in the William Lobban household. Ruthlessness, cruelty, a will to survive, (kill if necessary), and an odd form of entrepreneurship. Oddly, William’s world bears striking similarities to the corporate world; same rules apply; profit at all costs and sod the consequences.

William Lobban is a vivid raconteur. The botched episodes of William’s early criminal career are amusing, with the young William having the Monty Python knack of missing a pertinent detail, (such as how to shift stolen goods). The botched Balmore bar-heist is one such account of an inexperienced young crook getting it wrong.

It is easy to warm to the writer. Lobban comes across as likeable crook, irrespective of a ruthless criminal background. There is a certain prophetic tone, look what happens to kids who are abused and neglected. Lobban was both abused and neglected, but the narrative lacks self-pity.

The crime networks described in the book are historically apropos, for instance Lobban’s yuppie pad was a well-furnished apartment, complete with Axminster carpet, a status symbol in the 1980’s. Lobban, and his associates Ferris and Taylor were the criminal version of the yuppie movement down South.

At the same time Lobban chronicles the soreness of the times, grinding poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and scant opportunity for working class Glaswegian kids.

Meanwhile, down South, the Tories were pushing ahead with their economic and social reforms, caught up in the Gordon Gekko mantra, “greed is good”. Economic philosophers expounded the idea that human greed, (or envy) acts as a spur to growth.

In their quest to pull Britain out of the doldrums the conservatives turned a blind eye to the hostility of ordinary working class Britons. Not everyone was included in their ambitious manifesto and with the demise of the unions, people were angry, brittle, and afraid.

Home ownership relieved much of this fear, practically overnight, but for a certain period of time, (in the mid to late eighties), there was a war-like atmosphere between the government, (city of London) and UK workers, a predecessor to the anti-corporatist movements of today. (UK Uncut for instance).

William Lobban describes the conflict between the older crime bosses (overlords like Arthur Thompson) and the young criminal up-and-ups who were desperate for similar status. This is familiar territory to crime-book aficionados; turf wars, prison riots, internecine squabbles, conniving and betrayal, all freshly told.

moral perspective.

The book starts off with bleak descriptions of a grim childhood. Poignantly, the young William never remembers having a meal cooked for him by his mother. Tossed about and abandoned, nevertheless the young William Lobban relished his freedom, he had the kingly ability to roam the streets at will.

The path chosen, (a predestined life of crime), demonstrates the moral failures of the era. Community leaders and politicians failed to make sure of an economic future for Glaswegian youth. Some might argue that William’s ingenuity and energy – albeit criminal – were a credit to his entrepreneurial young spirit.

Predictably, upon his release from prison, the writer had not help back into society. Given a £70 giro cheque and scant rehabilitation, William Lobban somehow made it beyond his life of crime and imprisonment towards becoming a professional writer.

The narrative, though seemingly matter-of-fact, crackles with life and zest, Lobban makes use of understated humour throughout. It is a well constructed first book and Lobban is planning a sequel.

One shining chapter (for me) was the prison siege. Following serious head injuries inflicted by another inmate, Lobban decides to take a guard hostage. The stand-off lasts for thirteen hours during which time Lobban and the guard achieve a delicate human bond. So much so that by the end of the ‘ordeal’ the captured guard shakes William’s hand calling him “a gentleman”.

This finely executed drama depicts the ironies and contradictions inherent in the prison system. Arguably, there is no such thing as criminals, there is society and its failings; that’s it.

A highly recommended read from William Lobban. I won’t be surprised to see this book turned into film.

Podcast – The Night Mick Taylor Exploded

Comic podcast about the night Mick Taylor exploded at the Royal Albert Hall