An alarm clock jolting you awake, a frenetic rush through shower and commute, and maybe a scant few minutes to glance over depressing headlines: Pretty much every part of your morning routine is dooming your chance to do any sort of creative thinking. Recent studies show, for instance, that we are at our most creative when we're sleepy and not as focused—like when we first wake up, or before we fall asleep—so we should take advantage of that time.The stress of a commute and the sadness of reading the news also inhibit our problem-solving capabilities.
All this means that we must rethink our morning routine, writes Annie Murphy Paul in Time. What you should do is wake up a few minutes early, take advantage of those groggy moments to write down any thoughts that occur to you, then take a longer shower while continuing to let your thoughts wander. Assuming you're able to get through your commute with no road rage, go ahead and have a cup of coffee at work—it's the one part of your morning you're probably already doing right—and then, instead of the news, watch a video that will make you happy. Murphy Paul recommends this one.