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Change Your Mind. 13 Exercises To Become A Creative Genius

Change Your Mind. 13 Exercises To Become A Creative Genius

It is time to de-bunk that myth about creativity being a God-given talent only given to a select few. The reality is that the ability to be creative is within all of us. The notable author Malcolm Gladwell also affirms this in his book Outliers. From chess champions to musical prodigies such as the Beatles, Gladwell highlights the fact that that many creative geniuses in history are simply a product of many hours practicing their craft.

The whole field of Neuroscience, specifically Neuroplasticity is buzzing with excitement with more and more research showing that the brain is very flexible in its ability to learn, acquire different traits, and go through significant changes. As more people are making amazing changes to their brain through training, it should be great encouragement for everyone wanting to cultivate a more creative mind.

Here are 13 exercises to get you started.

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1. Draw something.

Nobody is expecting you to be the next Picasso. And your first attempt may be a stick figure, but drawing has been shown to have significant effects in activating parts of your right brain. Whether it is your coffee mug, your laptop, or your sunglasses, take out a pencil and just start sketching.

2. Origami.

The wonderful Japanese art of Origami is about as creative as creativity can get. Take a piece of paper and turn it into something spectacular. There is no shortage of resources online to get you started on your first crane.

3. Genre jump.

Read something completely outside of your typical genre and style. Find an author that you have never read before and who writes in a style you are not used to. If you typically read romance novels, try read something from an academic journal. Cross over to the literary “dark side” and allow different genres to stretch you. It will allow you to think and write in more creative ways.

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4. Adjective spill.

Look out the window, what do you see? Quickly describe it ten different ways! The tree? Green, lush, tall, rough, beautiful, swaying—get that creativity flowing as you force your brain to throw out some descriptive words.

5. Become bilingual, or trilingual.

A great way to get your creative brain firing new neurons is to start learning that language you have always dreamed of. Pop down to the old second-hand book store and pick up a little phrase book. Start learning a new phrase each day and impress your friends while you are at it.

6. Look for a new life hack.

Always be on the lookout for how you could do something better or different. Use an empty water bottle to separate an egg. Turn your toaster sideways to grill cheese.

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7. Get musical.

The effects of music on the brain is tremendous, not just because of therapeutic aspects but also in the activation of so many different regions. Almost every song can be broken down to a progression of 4 different chords that you can easily learn on guitar or piano. With endless resources online, charge up your creative mind through exposing it to learning music.

8. Travel.

Exposure to a different culture, landscape, foods, and people is an amazing experience in and of itself. It is certainly great for developing your creative mind as it soaks up all the new information. You don’t need to go to the other side of the world either; any environment that is “new” for the mind is beneficial.

9. Lights, camera, action.

Pretend to be someone else for ten or twenty minutes. Put on that southern Texan drawl, or that British East-ender accent. Have a little fun and think of that movie character you have always wanted to play. Putting yourself in another person’s shoes will certainly force you into being creative.

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10. Increase your vocabulary.

Open up your dictionary and randomly choose a word, and then try and use it in a conversation today. There are lots of online dictionaries also that will already have a new word featured for each day. Keep a list and keep adding to it. A larger vocabulary will allow you to be more creative with your words.

11. Paint.

Painting, rather than drawing, adds the major use of color. The combinations and balances that you are challenged with developing will require a creative spark. There is a great connection between the mind and colors. Playing around with varying contrasts will produce creativity.

12. Become an Iron chef.

Pick 4 ingredients out of your fridge or pantry and see what you can manage to come up with. But careful not  to make yourself sick! Also, you could take one ingredient and see how many different ways you could use it.

13. Calisthenics, Parkour, and dancing.

Exercise is absolutely crucial for a healthy brain. Tie exercise together with creativity and you have a great combination. Calisthenics are exercises based off your own body weight. Many of these exercises can be done using furniture in your house or down at the park on the kids playground—people have become quite creative in what they can use. If you are really comfortable with your abilities, then Parkour is a great way to combine exercise and creativity. Otherwise, here is just another reason for you to start taking dance lessons!

Featured photo credit: Schlüsselbein2007 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.

Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.

How do we manage that?

I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:

The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

How to prioritize and work 10X faster with the Scales Method

    One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

    At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

    After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

    • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
    • She could publish all her articles on time
    • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

    Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

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    1. Set aside 10 minutes for planning

    When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

    My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

    Use this time to:

    • Look at the big picture.
    • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
    • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

    2. Align your tasks with your goal

    This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

    It works like this:

    Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

    By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

      To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

      Low cost + High benefit

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      Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

      Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

      High cost + High benefit

      Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

      Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

      Low cost + Low benefit

      This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

      These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

      High cost + Low benefit

      Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

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      For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

      Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

        After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

          And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

          3. BONUS TIP: Tackling tasks with deadlines

          Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

          What to do in these cases?

          Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

          For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

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          Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

            Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

            The Scales Method is different from anything else you’ve tried

            By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

            And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

            Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

            Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

            Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com

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