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7 Powerful Habits Of Insanely Creative People

7 Powerful Habits Of Insanely Creative People
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When it comes to creativity and success, have you ever wondered what sets certain individuals apart from others? While much is dependent on intrinsic skills that cannot be taught, there are also certain skills, techniques, and abilities that can be honed.

If you’re someone who’s interested in maximizing creativity, fostering innovation, and making a significant difference in the lives of those around you, it’s helpful to learn from those who’ve come before you. Let’s look at seven powerful habits of insanely creative people.

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1. Always Ask Questions

Creative people never take anything at face value. Instead of simply accepting that things are a certain way because that’s the way they’ve always been, creative people ask questions and uncover answers. While you may not always find the answer you’re looking for, the mere act of seeking can be enough to spark a new idea or teach you a new lesson.

2. Wake Up Early

It would be incorrect to say that all successful and creative people wake up early. After all, Franz Kafka, the renowned German writer, was notorious for staying up all night and sleeping in until noon. And consider that Pablo Picasso rarely woke before 10 am. While both of these men were successful and creative, they’re exceptions to the rule. If you look at the majority of highly creative people, most are early risers. As Ernest Hemmingway once said, “There is no one to disturb you and it is cool and cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.”

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3. Surround Yourself with Creative People

Like birds of a feather, creative people flock together. The reason for this is that you are what you surround yourself with. If you spend your time with lazy people, you too will become lazy. If you surround yourself with people who exercise all the time, you’ll naturally become active yourself. Well, if you spend time with innovative minds, you’ll automatically shift your thoughts and learn to think more creatively on a regular basis.

4. Expose Yourself to New Mediums

The best way to enhance creativity is to avoid limiting yourself. For example, painters shouldn’t only study other paintings. They should immerse themselves in music, drawing, woodworking, and sculpting. The more artistic mediums you expose yourself to, the more inspiration you’ll gain. On the other hand, if you suppress yourself and limit the types of art you consume, you’ll become one-dimensional.

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5. Identify and Remove Barriers

Everyone has those barriers and challenges that threaten to hamper their ability to innovate. It’s up to you to identify these roadblocks and remove them from your life. This could be a toxic relationship, a less-than-satisfactory work environment, a lack of resources, or anything in between. It doesn’t matter what they are – they have to go. The longer they’re present, the more agitated and overwhelmed you’ll become.

6. Work With What You Have

Everyone is exposed to different environments. Creative people are able to consistently respond to the situations in which they’re placed and utilize the resources they have at their disposal. If you notice one thing about creative people, it’s that they aren’t afraid to be spontaneous. They don’t plan out every minute of every day, instead they’re flexible and willing to adapt.

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7. Leave Time for Leisure

You can’t be creative all the time. Your brain needs to rest and recharge sometimes. That’s why highly creative people like Benjamin Franklin, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Charles Dickens, and Mary Flannery O’Connor always set aside hours of each day for food, leisure, and rest. What you do in your leisure time is up to you, but make sure you’re taking some time to simply be. You don’t have to be doing something 24/7/365. A little R&R never hurt anyone.

Featured photo credit: Creative People via flickr.com

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Schuyler Richardson

Content Writer

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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