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How mindfulness helps me design better

Once I am inspired, I need to act upon that spark of creativity immediately. If I don’t, I will lose it. I will write down my idea in some way or give myself clues to remember it later, What’s most important, though, is not to postpone the idea for a later date.

As the founder of Muze Studio, design is part of my daily life.,
At Muze, our specialty is in user experience and branding design.

Being inspired on a daily basis is like mission impossible, which is why I am using various techniques from the world of mindfulness. Through wellness practices, I solve problems strictly with the powers of thought. The world of mindfulness helps me focus and become more creative in my work.


Tips from the world of mindfulness for better creativity

Through employing some simple tips, you can harness the power of mindfulness to produce more creative work. You can achieve this through a few simple steps:

1. Imagination, intuition and the birth of an idea
2. Exiting a creative blockage
3. Meditation and Alpha waves as problem solving tools

1. Imagination, intuition and the birth of an idea

Every direction of design starts with an idea, the idea is the outcome of focusing on something, our thoughts are the creative place and when characterizing interfaces, it is important to re-analyze the problem we wish to solve.

When we start a project we work with a PRD, this way we explain to details the product, how functional it is and what are the development requirements.

We can examine our competition (if there is any) , or collect references from parallel worlds , but we don’t run into A/B Testing in the beginning of the project , only at the end of it.

It’s best to trust ourselves and work according to a gut feeling. After we have collected all the necessary information, we still have to be creative in order to refine all small details in a better more accurate characterization. The most important is how to tell the story intuitively once the user will encounter the system for the first time.

One technique I use in this case is using my imagination to clear any information I previously acquired during the project so that I can look at the system from a fresh perspective.



I try to think of various possibilities like,
Do I, as a user, understand what the product or brand wants from me?
Do I feel comfortable interacting with the system?
I stop, I imagine again and update any characterization I previously created.

After that process, we can conduct user testing and It ‘s recommended to test at least five users. At the end of the project, after the launch, we can do more testing and tighten the product even more.
That being said, the real thing starts with you, and nobody else.

Tip:
It is imperative to lessen background noise to listen to your inner self and intuition. By doing that, the interface you are working on can be more easily understood, and the users might reach their AHA moment!

2. Exiting a creative blockage

At the end of the day, sometimes the brain gets blocked and we find it harder to pay attention to the noises in the system we are designing.

In order to fix these noises, it is recommended to shut down the computer and leave it for tomorrow, reset your eyes and your thoughts. The next day you can return fresh and see issues with new eyes. Most likely new ideas will come naturally.

In order to deal well with that iteration and not to submit a project of 24/7 work, there is a need to digest, these things are tasking on the brain and eyes- they will cost time if you won’t take a real break.



In order to reset myself after a day of work, I am using an aerobic Montanus Sports activities like swimming or running, I will do enough of it to get into a state of meditation, once I’ll finish, I’ll feel clean and won’t think of the job anymore.

How does that work exactly? By making the endorphins flow in my brain. That allows me to feel fresh and positive, this is why I think sports can help substantially in the process of becoming more creative and reaching new ideas.

Tip:
Exhaustion is the first thing that blocks my mind, and it will put me into a state of stress and negativity. If you come tired to work, you should work on something which requires monotony and not a large dose of creativity. Most importantly, get eight hours of sleep at night. And if you missed it the night before, go straight to bed.

3. Meditation and alpha waves as problem solving tools

Before we discuss the wonderful thing that is meditation, I will explain the five frequencies our brain is using and then explain the utter importance of the mighty alpha wave.

Delta wave: (3 to 5 Hz ) These are the slowest brain waves and they occur when we are at deep sleep and no dreams state.

Theta wave: (3 to 8 Hz) These waves appear not only during sleep but also in the deepest states of zen meditation.

Alpha Wave: (8 to 12 Hz) appears when the brain is in a default state – which is usually when: we daydream, engage in mindfulness or meditation. Alpha waves can also be created by doing aerobic activities.

Beta Wave: (12-30 Hz) These waves usually dominate our ordinary states of consciousness and occur when attention is directed to cognitive tasks. Beta is a ‘fast’ wave activity that exists when we are alert, attentive, focused, and engaged in problem-solving or decision making. Depression and anxiety have also been linked to beta waves.

Gamma waves: (25 to 100 Hz) Gamma waves generally hover around 40 Hz and are the fastest of the brain’s waveband. Gamma waves refer to the simultaneous processing of information from different brain regions and are associated with higher states of conscious perception.


Productive Day Analysis
I was interested to find out why there are days when I am more productive and I feel the electricity in the brain just flows (in terms of creativity and imagination), while other days are just the opposite.

When I am enjoying a particularly productive day,
it usually involves the following schedule:

1. Morning meditation
2. Shower, daydreaming
3. After work: swimming, running, or other fitness activities
4. Evening meditation
5. Shower and daydreaming again

In each of these activities, I stream alpha waves in the brain, the alpha waves help us to be more creative and even help us to get out of depression, which is common among a lot of people, and for some reason – in my personal experience, with designers in particular. In 2015, this was proven, a new study from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that 10 Hz could improve alpha wave activity and boost creativity by 7.4 percent in healthy adults.

Meditation: 
you can read lots about this simple practice Meditation clears my head of intrusive thoughts, and after 20 minutes, I feel new, more alert .. Then I can dive again and tackle the problem I want to solve, and sometimes like magic, you can find another direction for the project you are working on.

Tip:
Before bed, if we think about a problem we want to solve and think about all the options available to us, the next morning things will feel different, there is a good chance we will be able to reach the optimal solution… this is why people say: “let me sleep on it”.

In conclusion

It is essential to digest design, and design requires time and not just execution.

Often, when people are engaged in a project intensively, everyone puts on imaginary blinders. There exists a need for time to digest the design, to carefully consider, and to take a break. When you return to the desktop, things often will look different.

The world of mindfulness can help you be focused, less tired and uplifted. You can solve problems creatively and, most importantly – be on a positive frequency so your team will be happy to collaborate and listen to your opinions.

Want to talk about design? Let’s create!

Eyal Talmon
Eyal Talmon Talmon

Co-Founder at Muze, UX Expert, Client side developer .