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20 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

20 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Albert Einstein once said,

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Creativity can mean the difference between something good and something extraordinary. People who are creative tend to see things in a slightly different way, and may stick out from the crowd. (In a good way!) Whether you express your creativity through problem solving, design, or even how you dress, you can count on these 20 things being among your traits:

1. They think before they speak.

Creativity can sometimes just flow out of a person without warning or even any means of stopping it. But what makes highly creative people so different is that they learn to control their creativity. Thinking about how a creative idea applies to a certain situation and analyzing the effect it could have is what makes creative people unique. Harnessing their creativity is key.

2. They’re risk takers.

Not much creativity goes on in a box; that’s why thinking outside of it is so important. Creative people don’t limit themselves and go out on a limb to test their ideas.

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3. They take care of themselves.

Taking care of oneself means something different to everyone, but highly creative individuals tend to take care to preserve their minds and their bodies to keep themselves in top shape. This can mean anything from mental wellness to physical fitness, but whatever the method, it’s important to maintain creativity.

4. They’re observant. 

Taking in their surroundings and drawing inspiration from even the tiniest details is a major driving force behind creative people. Creativity has a basis in the already-existing world, and goes from there.

5. They’re humble.

Even the most creative and intelligent people in the world started somewhere. Creative people tend to see themselves as people who still have a lot of learning to do.

6. They ask questions.

Questions can mean the difference between a failed project and a successful one. Not only do questions guide people in their creative processes, but they also help creative people grow and branch out.

7. They never stop learning.

Creative people need constant fuel, and for them that comes in the form of constant learning. Creativity grows with knowledge, and creative people are always adding to what they know and using it to their advantage.

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8. They follow their dreams.

Creativity is only properly unleashed when people are in the situations they want to be in; otherwise, it gets stifled.

9. They look for something new.

New experiences are opportunities for inspiration. Highly creative people tend to love exploring new things.

10. They look on the bright side.

Creativity is easily dampened by low spirits, so many highly creative people try to get over obstacles quickly and healthily so that they can channel their energy positively. They don’t tend to dwell on problems or get overwhelmed.

11. They stay out of their own way.

There is no better saboteur than yourself. Highly creative people often try to keep themselves in check and recognize when they are getting in the way of their work.

12. They don’t let themselves get too comfortable.

Too much routine can hinder creative growth. Many people shake things up every once in a while so that their outlook stays fresh.

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13. They stare into space.

Daydreaming can be a great way to let your mind wander, and creative people tend to find this a great way to come up with new ideas.

14. They find inspiration everywhere.

Part of the beauty of a creative mind is that it isn’t limited in what inspires it. Inspiration can be found in even the least likely of places, and creative people are good at finding it.

15. They express themselves in many ways.

Even if interior design or painting isn’t a person’s forte, the creative individual sees everything as a way to express themself. Creative people often find many outlets for their ideas.

16. They’re perfectionists.

Nothing is worse than seeing what was a great idea in your head turn out to be not so great when it’s been done. Creative people take their work seriously, and they want their creative ideas realized in the way that they want.

17. They’re team players.

Many creative people recognize the talents and ideas of others and use this to create something even better than what they originally had in mind. Being team players helps creative people bounce their ideas off of each other, as well.

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18. They get in the zone.

When they start working, they often go at it for hours on end. Getting lost in their work is common among highly creative people.

19. They bridge gaps.

Creative people tend to be able to see the connections between two seemingly unrelated things, which makes them more likely than others to solve problems.

20. They think for fun.

To stay sharp, highly creative people like reading, doing crossword puzzles, brushing up on their trivia — anything that will keep their mind in tip-top shape. And doing all of this is fun for them.

Featured photo credit: David Blackwell via photopin.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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