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7 Basic Rules Of Creativity You Should Know

7 Basic Rules Of Creativity You Should Know
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If you’re want to live the creative life, you need to know the rules of the game. There are 7 basic rules of creativity that every creator should know to flourish.  These rules of creativity are the culmination of years of experience as a creator and I know that if you follow them they will make a big difference in your creative life every day.

1. Create Something Every Single Day

Persistence is key when it comes to creativity. Every day you create, you are exercising your creative muscles and becoming bigger, better and more confident with what you do. You’re also keeping the momentum going which is essential to living the creative life. Create something every single day and you’ll quickly see your creativity flourish.

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2. Always Have Your Basic Tools at Hand

Always have your most basic creative tools at hand and you’ll never be stuck with an idea and no way to express it. Your most basic tools might be as simple as a sketchbook and pencil, or as complex as an entire creativity on-the-go kit complete with all the tools you need to create on the spot wherever you are. Whatever it is, make sure you have it on hand for when inspiration strikes.

3. Believe In Your Creativity

To live the creative life you need to believe in your abilities and set out to express them creatively every single day. Without the belief, staying focused and creatively productive can be tough! Importantly, you need to believe in your creativity before anyone else can, so if you’re ready to make your mark, start believing in your own creativity today.

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4. Cultivate a Creativity Habit

Forming a creativity habit is essential to living a creative life. Set aside as little as 30 minutes a day, and choose a set time and place to make it happen. Stick to it and show up to create every day, even when you’re feeling uninspired and out of ideas. Of course you can go on and create for much longer than your set time each day but it’s a minimum and a start to get you going. You’ll be surprised at the difference it will make to your creative output over the course of a week, month and year!

5. Limit Your Options to Focus In

As a creator, you instinctively think that having options would a great thing but it can actually make the creative process much harder. Give yourself some self imposed boundaries to create within such as specific creative medium, theme or a time limit. Limiting your options by setting these rules of creativity will help you focus in and spark unique ideas you never would have thought of before to create something truly amazing.

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6. Embrace Your ‘Bad’ Ideas

Embrace all your ideas, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and give them a go before dismissing them. It’s easy to make a judgement on a half formed idea but until you have further developed it, your assessment of it as a ‘bad’ idea is just a hunch. Some initially bad ideas can form into something amazing so give them a fair go, to form into something wonderful first.

7. Join a Creative Community

There’s nothing more powerful than joining a creative community. Whether it’s online or in your local area, joining together with other creative people and sharing your experiences, challenges and successes is a powerful way to propel yourself to living a fulfilling creative life every single day. Your creative community will be there to support you through both good and bad and cheer you all the way. Being part of a creative community is one of the most crucial rules of creativity because it will help you keep going even when things get tough.

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You might also like: 10 Things You Probably Do That Block Your Creativity

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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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