When you stare at a laptop screen for long hours, perhaps at your job, the mind begins to go numb. The nature of the mind is erratic, but if it is forced to repeat the same or similar thing over long hours, it begins to lose its ability to think different.
This is true not just for programmers, but even for designers. Even a designer who is working on his design on a laptop functions much better if he takes breaks in between, switching off one activity and turning on another. Typically, depending on the person, after 5-8 hours of continuously staring at a laptop screen, the brain gets fatigued and loses its ability to think more for the day. Any work you do after that, is done by a tired mind, not a fresh or energetic mind, and will most likely be full of mistakes and/or not your best work.
To nurture and preserve your creativity, you need to make sure that the body is exerted in proportion with the mind, and that your mind sees and processes new things on a regular basis. This may mean going out for a walk to a park or going out for a coffee or traveling now and then or any other activity that refreshes you. And most significantly, you need to do these things with a heightened intention and awareness to nurture your creativity. You need to carry that intention inside you as you do things. Else, instead of being a bored IT engineer in your office, you will be a bored IT engineer in a park. Only the scenery will change, your mind won’t.
Most people live their lives thinking that creativity is accidental. Accidentally we invented so many arts & crafts. Accidentally Picasso and Mies Van Der Rohe outperformed their contemporaries. No! Mies was aware and ready to think different, whereas others were not. You think, accidentally your fellow work buddy did something more creative than you. You give reasons how someone just happened to have an idea, whereas you didn’t.
You have new thoughts and ideas only when you want to think anew. It is a choice.
Creativity is not an accident. It is a choice. And you are the one making that choice everyday. If you choose to not let your laptop screen damage your creativity, and take actions for it, it won’t.
When you decide to nurture your creativity, and take actions towards that end, they will most definitely bear fruit, and you will find yourself thinking of new things, and maybe even finding new, creative solutions to your problems!