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15 Common Places That Can Inspire Your Creativity

15 Common Places That Can Inspire Your Creativity
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If you’re a writer or artist, you understand the power of location when it comes to creativity and finding inspiration.  Looking for a place that will get your juices flowing? Here are 15 common places that can inspire your creativity.

1. Libraries and Bookstores

Words are a wonderful thing. You could rearrange the same 26 letters to create an endless array of words that will surely tickle somebody’s fancy. Become so curious that you want to read everything you get your hands on. Observe how things like the weight or texture of a book could offer clues for what’s hiding under the cover. A heavy book could symbolize a significant time investment for the writer (and you, the reader). A light book could be seen as a short-and-sweet escape perfect for a beach, cruise ship, or even your lunch hour. If you’re a writer in a creative rut, browse the top-sellers in your genre for a hint that might lead you in the right direction.

2. Early Mornings or Late Nights

You know what I love? Being awake with no sound but birds chirping and an ever-so-slight morning glow overhead while the lazy sun opens its eyes for a brand new day. But maybe you’d be more inspired by a hooting owl, glowing moon, and the sound of crickets. Morning or night, the same fact holds true: there is something innately inspiring about getting work done while the rest of the world sleeps. I’d love to know if you are an early bird or night owl in the comments.

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3. Hotels

Hotels are kind of like the purgatory of living arrangements. It is an in-between place that is hard to feel comfortable in despite the fact that you do “home-like” activities such as sleeping, bathing, and brushing. The drastic change in living arrangements could shake you out of auto-pilot from your daily routine and increase your awareness and ability to live in the present.

4. Bars

If you’re a writer looking to sharpen your ability to write conversational pieces that click with your audience, go bar-hopping (but not to one of the annoying ones with music so loud that you have to scream at level 11 to be heard). Alcohol has a way of breaking the barriers to authenticity, so have a drink and enjoy some plain and simple truth with fellow patrons.

5. Parks and Hiking Trails

It’s easy to forget that we humans are a small part of the life bustling throughout this world. Explore a trail while keeping an eye out for animal life. Observe the unique quirks and behaviors of each animal friend you come across. Turn off your inner-chatter, crank up your listening ear, and enjoy the sounds of the whole other world you are now a part of.

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6. A Bench in a Busy Downtown Area

Can we just all go ahead and admit we enjoy people-watching? I love to plop down on a park bench with a notebook and coffee, watching the busy city life unfold before me. You are but one person in this big, crazy world. Check in with the rest for a fresh hit of human inspiration that will help you relate to the people around you.

7. Record Stores

Whether you want to explore a musical genre that’s never been introduced to your ears or admire album artwork that catches your eye, a record store is one place that’s sure to inspire your creativity.

8. MovieTtheaters

Whether you’re a movie buff or not, there is no denying that films are the preferred art form for most people, so catching some flicks could offer you a hint about what people react to (not to mention it will be fun).

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9. Old Haunts

Are there any places you used to visit ALL the time but then you got married, had kids, (insert big life event here) and it’s been a while since you visited? Maybe the bar you always went to in college, the Mexican restaurant you loved in high school, or an ice-cream shop you used to adore? Revisit these places to re-live some of your past memories that are likely to bring a smile to your face.

10. Art Museums

If you’re going to learn from somebody, why not learn from the greats? Explore paintings from a variety of eras, countries, and styles to increase your perspective. Challenge your brain by asking yourself, “What was the artist trying to accomplish with this work?” This game will be especially fun for abstract pieces.

11. Live Concerts and Performances

There is something amazing about seeing a band or theater troupe that perform with complete harmony.

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12. Conversation with Friends

Ideas happen when you stop talking about them and start making them happen….. to an extent. Have you ever had an idea in your brain or written in a notebook that just felt like it was missing something, but then you talked it over with a friend and the missing pieces weren’t far behind? Your friends will have perspectives totally different from yours, so don’t underestimate the power of a simple conversation.

13. Supermarkets

There are few places more neat and tidy than your area supermarket. Check out the nifty food packaging, the attractive (and efficient) shelf placement, the magazine section, the floral selection, and anything else that jumps out at you. If you’re feeling sweet, buy a balloon or flower for someone special.

14. High School Football Games

Check out a football game this fall for a combination of sports, music, community, and crisp fall temperatures (perfect excuse for hot cocoa and snuggling!). Imagine all of the working pieces that made this event possible: the football team, the band musicians, the volunteers at the concession stand, and the school’s staff. You’ll also have a perfect excuse to partake in some people-watching. Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ll enjoy the experience.

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15. Your Existence

Would you say that your life has meaning? I can’t imagine you wouldn’t, so look for creativity in the most obvious place it could be: inside yourself. Every day is a tiny part of the grand story that is your life. Keep a journal and write without filter. Don’t be surprised when you look at your notebook later to discover inspiration staring you between the eyes.

Are there any specific places that inspire creativity in you? 

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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