5 strategies Oprah, Paul McCartney, and other leaders use to be more creative

One of the factors that can make leadership so exhausting is the pressure to consistently come up with creative ideas and solutions, Beth Doane writes for CNBC.

She rounds up five habits that artistic professionals and business leaders use when they need to improve their creativity.

1: Breathe more deeply

Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Sandberg, and Elon Musk all use breathing techniques and meditation, Doane writes.

She recommends one she learned from performance coach Walker Clark called the Buteyko method: take a small breath, breathe out slowly, then pause your breath for five seconds, and breathe normally for 10 seconds before repeating the cycle. According to Clark, the method can help reduce exhaustion and anxiety.

2: Tell a story

Crafting powerful stories can help you inspire your employees and persuade stakeholders, Doane writes. She recommends studying the structure of story arcs and practice what you learn on your next email or speech.

The world's most creative people—and what colleges can learn from them

3: Start a sunrise journal

To be creative, you must clear your mind, according to Robyn Ward, a tech startup advisor and coach. To do this, Ward recommends leaders adopt the "morning pages" practice described by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way. When you first wake up, write three journal pages of anything that pops into your head—which clears out the mental clutter and lets you start fresh.  

4: Take your meetings for a walk

Research has found that walking can stimulate creativity. Author and investor Amy Jo Martin is so committed to walking meetings, she uses a treadmill desk during calls.

5: Narrow your focus  

Each morning, take a few minutes to review your to-do list and identify your top three priorities for the day, recommends Sasha Kill, founder of Outlaw Creative. Otherwise, you might be tempted to dive into tasks you can finish quickly—but which are "typically the most trivial," Doane writes (Doane, CNBC, 12/8).

You're never bored, and that's a problem

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