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10 Ways to Inspire Truly Awesome Ideas

10 Ways to Inspire Truly Awesome Ideas

We all want to come up with truly awesome ideas, but sometimes it seems the inspiration is just not striking. Next time you find yourself in an idea rut why not try one of these 10 ways to inspire ideas that are truly awesome.

1. Surround Yourself With Greatness

There’s the old adage that you are the sum of the five closest people to you. If you want to be inspired with truly awesome ideas then surround yourself with great thinkers. They will inspire you and bring out your best ideas.

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2. Explore Your Creativity

We’re all creative in our own unique way. Whether your thing is drawing, painting, poetry, crafting or something completely different, get creative and see where it leads you. You don’t need a master plan to get started, just take out your materials and start playing around. You might be surprised at how quickly inspiration strikes.

3. Listen and Observe

It’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts when you’re looking for an awesome idea. Take some time to sit back, listen to others and observe the world around you. The world and everyone in it are an endless source of inspiration if only you’ll take in what they have to offer.

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4. Mix Up Your Environment

Your ideas can get stale if you stay in the same place for too long. Get out of the house this weekend or go on a walk in your lunch break at work. Mix up your environment and get inspired by everything new about it.

5. Collaborate With a Friend

Two minds are better than one, and new people bring their own unique experiences and perspective to the table. Two different ways of thinking coming together can inspire ideas outside the reach of any one person alone. Collaborate with a friend to tap into the amazing creative potential of two people working together.

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6. Do Something New

If you always do the same things, you’re likely to keep getting the same results. To inspire ideas that are truly great, you’re going to need to do something different. Fill your days with new experiences like new places, new music, new people and new books.

7. Examine the Anatomy of Great Ideas

You can learn a lot from the great thinkers of our time, so start studying their great ideas and their origins. How did Einstein come across his best ideas? What was Steve Jobs approach? How did Beethoven compose his best work? Study the greats and learn all you can from them.

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8. Take a New Perspective

Take a new perspective by looking at things from a different angle. It can be tough to do this since we are often so set in our ways of approaching situations but it’s a powerful tool if you can. If you’re struggling to look at things from a different angle, get a friend to help you out by questioning your current assumptions. By taking a new perspective, you’ll be seeing things with fresh eyes and ready to soak up the inspiration.

9. Silence Your Internal Chatter

Your inner mind chatter is rushing through your head at a million miles an hour, forever distracting you from the real gold – the truly awesome ideas. By silencing your inner mind chatter, you’ll make room for inspiration to flow in and inspire ideas. A great way to do this is through a daily meditation practice.

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10. Take the Pressure Off Yourself

Last but not least, take the pressure off! Sometimes you can push yourself so hard for an amazing idea that you move into a creatively blocked zone where nothing seems to be flowing. Take the pressure off yourself by taking your time and accepting that truly awesome ideas don’t always happen overnight. How do you inspire great ideas? And what’s one thing you’ll do today to get inspired?

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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)

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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