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The Simplest Ways to Come Up With Really Creative Ideas

The Simplest Ways to Come Up With Really Creative Ideas

It’s painful, isn’t it?

You’ve got loads of energy and a heap of passion. Yet you can’t think of a single really creative idea to develop.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, artist, engineer, mechanic or person of any profession. Thinker’s Block will arrive. It happens to everyone.

When it does, here are some easy ways to check that frustration out of your life and create an endless pool of ideas.

How to “Brain Dump” and set the stage for coming up with really creative ideas

In a freely available online video called the 50-Minute Focus Finder, real estate guru and marketing genius Dean Jackson reveals a great technique: open a journal to a blank page and start to write. Anything. Just let go.

Although Jackson doesn’t mention this in the video, if you can’t think of anything to write on that page, just put down your name. Write your name again and again until you think of something else.

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Trust me. This isn’t crazy. It’s a great way of boring yourself into coming up with something else. I dare you to try and write your name more than 5 times until something better comes out.

You can also doodle or otherwise scratch at the page.The point is to brain dump. Empty yourself. Make space and the really creative ideas will come.

Become an idea generator

In Choose Yourself!, James Altucher gives a brilliant idea that anyone can use. All you have to do is write down 10 ideas every day.

At first, it might be hard to get 10. If so, start with one. The next day, squeeze out two. Before you know it, you’ll have 10 every day. Soon after that, ideas will flood your imagination. You’ll have more than you could ever use.

And the best part is that you can easily record 10 ideas using the audio recorder on your smartphone if you can’t or don’t want to write.

Recording your ideas by audio will also help train you to think creatively out loud. Your brain will start making a connection between talking and idea generation. This comes in handy during business meetings and even in simple conversations with your friends.

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In case you don’t have Altucher’s Choose Yourself! to look at for his examples (you should get it), here are a few of my own to get your started:

  • All men named Tom join together and try to eliminate everyone named Dick and Harry from the face of the planet.
  • Leonard Cohen sings “I Want To Be Sedated” …while being sedated.
  • Google starts selling “canned results” delivered to your door. The algorithm automatically adds your favorite spices.

I have listed several hundreds of ideas like this since reading Choose Yourself! I’ve felt the impact and it’s improved everything I do that requires creativity.

Of course, a lot of these ideas are bizarre. Some of them make no sense. Others could never be used outside of a film or novel. But that doesn’t matter. The point is that exercises like this keep your mind fluid. And being fluid and responsive is a powerful talent to have.

Write down your dreams

Every morning when you wake up, write down at least one sentence about the dreams you had. It could be a narrative fragment or a simple impression.

If you can’t remember a dream, write down a short story. Just start with “Once upon a time” and keep going with whatever comes to mind.

And if nothing comes to mind, you know what to do. That’s right: write your name over and over again until something else emerges.

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If Thinker’s Block happens, it won’t last long. Do this for a couple of days and soon you’ll be recalling more and more dreams. You may even find that you’ll start lucid dreaming. And if that happens, you’ll find interesting and unexpected ways to become even more creative.

Keep a scrapbook

Sounds old fashioned, I know, but tearing images and phrases from magazines for gathering in a scrapbook will boost your creativity. The act itself is creative because you’re using selectivity. And revisiting it later uses your creative faculties of analysis. After that, it’s just a matter of using the collection of images you see together to come up with new creative ideas.

Make use of déjà vu

We’ve all experienced the feeling that we’ve seen or experienced something before. But how many of us actually write the experience down? What makes this so creative is that you can analyze what pieces of reality needed to come together in order for you to have this experience.

For a great example that will deepen your thinking about déjà vu, check out this scene from The Matrix:

You might also consider thinking about the opposite of déjà vu. Jamais vu occurs when you see something you know you’ve seen thousands of times before, but it still feels strange and unfamiliar. Almost like the first time.

Break patterns

It is pattern breaks that make experiences like déjà vu and jamais vu so powerful and the basis for new creativity. The great news is that you don’t have to wait for these experiences to come along. You can invent them.

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For example, try walking backwards for 20 steps or so the next time you cut through the park. Walk in a circle around a telephone pole you normally ignore. Go into a store that has never interested you in the least and look around.

The reason breaking patterns helps with creativity is that the brain secretes norepinephrine any time you are in novel situations. This chemical increases your focus and helps create new memories. You can later draw upon these enhanced memories while writing, drawing or otherwise engaging in creative activities.

Make the conscious decision to become more creative

All the ideas you’ve just discovered are great. But they can be greater. Simply by making the decision to be a person with really creative ideas, you’ll set your imaginative mind in motion.

Write your decision down on paper or record it by audio or video. Really focus on your intention to be more creative.

Next, get started with your first list of 10 ideas following a total Brain Dump. Make the conscious decision to start recalling your dreams. Tomorrow morning is your first chance to take up this easy and simple habit.

You’re going to benefit a great deal and amaze yourself by just how creative you can be. And the best part is that the more creative you become, the more you creative you can become. It’s a powerful feedback loop that just keeps getting better and better the more you practice.

So…what are you waiting for? Every day you’re not using these simple techniques, you’re leaving creative treasure behind. Creativity is a valuable treasure that could be improving the quality of all areas of your life.

More by this author

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Last Updated on October 24, 2018

24 Best Habit Tracking Apps (2018 Updated)

24 Best Habit Tracking Apps (2018 Updated)

Everyday our lives are governed by habit. These habits are the little routines and small ways of doing things. Most people are unaware or are only slightly aware that they’re doing them.

Some habits, like smoking, can have harmful effects on your health; others like procrastination can affect your work and career.

Therefore it’s important to take back control. This can be extremely hard, some habits after all are so ingrained that we do them without thinking. Luckily there are many habits tracking apps available especially designed to help you to set goals, keep track of your habits and tackle your bad habits for free.

Here’re 24 best habit trackers recommended to you:

1. Momentum Habit Tracker

    This app has a number of great features which makes it ideal for keeping track of habits and routines.

    One of the most interesting features is that with Momentum, you can import your data into an Excel document, which allows for cross platform viewing of your progress. On top of this you’re able to set weekly targets and take notes allowing you to easily take control of your habits.

    But unlike many apps on this list, Momentum is optimized exclusively for apple devices and as such, you won’t find it on Android which is unfortunate. However a benefit of this exclusivity is that your profile on Momentum can be easily integrated on the iCloud.

    Download: iOS

    2. Habitica

      Habitica is extremely creative in its approach to tracking and maintaining good habits. It is inspired by RPG video games, each task you complete will level up your customized avatar giving you an extra incentive to stay motivated.

      Its unique video game inspired design makes keeping track of your habits and goals fun.

      The app isn’t limited to just habit tracking, but with it you can join your friends and complete quests and missions. It’s not just video game inspired, but is a game in itself.

      But those who aren’t interested in video games may not prefer Habitica.

      Download: iOS and Android

      3. Productive Habit Tracker

        Productive’s simple, but well designed interface makes keeping track of your habits simple. It is intuitively designed, with it, you’ll be able to starting planning in seconds.

        Though it is simple in its design, it is full of great features, and best of all. The app keeps track of your successes, meaning you’ll be able to measure your continuing improvement and stay motivated.

        Download: iOS

        4. StickK

          StickK was developed by behavioral economists at the prestigious Yale University. On signing up, you create a commitment contract with yourself and the app to reach your goals, you can even bet money on yourself.

          For added motivation, you can assign a friend or family member to check your data to ensure you’re on your way to reaching your goals.

          The unique commitment contract idea could be a brilliant way to stay motivated. This aspect is backed by great research, the app is based on the principles of Thaler’s nudge theory

          On top of everything, the app has an eye catching and interesting layout.

          Download: iOS and Android

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          5. Habitshare

            Habitshare blends a social networking site with a habit tracker, allowing you to grow habits with friends.

            The social options are well done and relatively uncommon, and unlike others with a social networking options, there is a messaging options allowing you to communicate with friends in real time. This allows you to motivate your friends, or be motivated by them, with it your goals become team efforts. You can also disable the social aspect and keep things private.

            However, Habitshare doesn’t allow you to schedule tasks to be done on a monthly basis, which may be useful if you usually schedule monthly bill paying.

            Download: iOS and Android

            6. MindSet: The Good Habit App™

              Mindset, has a warm, friendly layout that is easy to understand and use.

              Though many apps have a journal system, Mindset brings it to the front and center which is useful if you know that there will be many things to remember.

              Currently the app is only available to registered users of Mindset which is offered with membership to certain groups and organisations.

              Download: iOS and Android

              7. Streaks

                This apple design award winner is built around encouraging you to maintain a 12 day streak of a good habit, as such it is a great way to stay motivated.

                The interface is extremely customizible, as such, you can make it suit you and your tastes.What’s more it can be easily integrated with Health app, one of the most popular apps on the IOS. Used together, you’ll be able to develop healthy habits with ease. If you’re falling behind, the app will send you a reminder, and keep you on target.

                Download: iOS

                8. Habit List

                  Habit List is all about developing and maintaining a streak of beneficial habits.

                  It is great at tracking your habits over a long period of time, enabling you to easily make sense of your progress in a way that is easy to read and understand.

                  If you have a complicated schedule, or want to complete specific tasks on specific days, you can easily set a calendar of activities to complete, and view them accordingly.

                  Download: iOS

                  9. Balanced

                    Balanced is designed to help you keep track and measure your sleeping patterns, your exercise, and time you spend sitting, encouraging you to develop healthier habits.

                    Unlike many apps, Balanced is completely focused on healthy habits. It gets you to be concentrated on only three activities at a time so you won’t be overwhelmed.

                    Download: iOS and Android

                    10. Simple Habit Tracker

                      Don’t be fooled by its name, simple habit tracker is one of the more interesting habit trackers and is packed with interesting features.

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                      If you’re looking for inspiration, the app comes with over 200 pre-designed habits to get you started. One of the most appealing things is the s beautifully designed and eye catching interface.

                      Download: iOS

                      11. Habitbull

                        Habit-bull is one of the most feature-rich habit tracker apps and it’s detailed recording system means you’ll be able to get detailed information about your progress.

                        If you’re aiming to increase your fitness, Habitbull can be integrated with GoogleFit.

                        If you’re worried about losing your data, don’t worry it can all be backed up on the cloud, meaning you’ll never need to worry about losing track of your data.

                        But anyone who’s looking for a more simple habit tracker may find this one complicated.

                        Download: iOS and Android

                        12. Strides Habit Tracker

                          Strides Habit Tracker is a good all rounder, with all you expect from a great habit tracker and more.

                          The app is quick and easy to use, so you’ll be able to start developing great habits right away. If you plan to complete a set number of tasks for a specific date, the app calculates if you’re on track to complete it on time, enabling you to tailor your habits around your goals.

                          Download: iOS

                          13. Coach.me

                            Coach.me comes with all you might expect from a quality habit tracking app, with the extra unique feature of being able to hire either a habit coach or even a leadership coach for extra costs.

                            The coach hiring feature, if you can afford it, has the potential of having a radical impact on your goals and productivity. There are two options, leadership coaching and habit coaching, so you’ll be able to get the training you need.

                            Download: iOSAndroidWeb Browser

                            14. 42 Goals

                              42 Goals is quite simple in its design, but comes with many of the features you’d expect. Unlike many similar apps, it is optimized mostly for web browsers. The website has an online community allowing you to share your progress with friends.

                              Currently it is neither on IOS or Android, but they are in development, so stay tuned!

                              Get started: 42goals.com

                              15. Habit – 21 day routine

                                Habit – 21 day routine is built around the principle that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, as such, it encourages you to maintain a new habit over 21 consecutive days.

                                The app’s layout is beautifully designed. The idea that it takes 21 days to form a new habit is supported by research, as such it is possible you’ll find it extremely beneficial.

                                The app limits you to one habit at a time, with extra costs attached to additional habits. And at the moment there seems to be no free version

                                Download: iOS

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                                16. Chains.cc

                                  Chains.cc is fairly unique in its approach, each time you stick to your habit, your chain grows, helping you stay motivated.

                                  The app has a beautiful and intuitive interface. Most importantly, it can be used both online and off, allowing you to keep track of your habits wherever you are

                                  This is not a free app but it is relatively inexpensive.

                                  Download: iOS

                                  17. Done

                                    Done gives you the ability to track an activity multiple times a day, on top of this, the app is full of the features you’d expect from a great habit tracker.

                                    With the app, you can easily track habits you want to build up, and ones you want to slowly eliminate. Unlike many other apps, it features a number of customization options making it suit your tastes.

                                    The Premium version (paid) even allows you to export your habit data as a CSV file or on Dropbox.

                                    Unless you upgrade to premium, you can only track 3 habits on the basic version.

                                    Download: iOS

                                    18. Good Habits

                                      Good Habits offers many great ways to track the progress of your habits thanks to its smart design.

                                      The app enables you to look at the precise data of your habits and chains. Enabling you to check your progress with ease (paid version).

                                      It can be used with Apple Watch and the Today Widget for extra usability.

                                      Unfortunately, there ultimately is not too much to set it apart from other apps. But if you like the way it looks, you might have a great time.

                                      Download: iOS

                                      19. Habitify

                                        Habitify is bold in its design, and is both sleek and easy to use, and complicated and detailed.

                                        Habitify allows you to keep focused boy showing you the habits and jobs needed to do sooner first, making it ideal for busy people. Detailed graphs and statistics show you all you need to know about your progress and your habits.

                                        It can also be seamlessly synchronized across all you iOS devices.

                                        It is relatively low on customization options, but if this isn’t a problem for you, you’ll find a lot to love

                                        Download: iOS

                                        20. Sessions

                                          Sessions is a well designed app great for timing your activities and habits.

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                                          It is visually pleasing to look at thanks to its uncluttered interface. It allows you to set specific amounts of time to perform each activity, you’ll be able to carefully plan and structure your day and routine. You can also track your progress as you develop your habits and routines for maximum efficiency.

                                          Download: iOS

                                          21. Morning Routine Habit Planner

                                            Morning Routine allows you to focus on one habit at a time, ensuring you stay focused.

                                            It can be used in conjunction with Siri, for hands free use, a rare and useful feature.

                                            The app includes inspiring advice from influential and successful people, which is a great motivator.

                                            Download: iOS

                                            22. Persistence

                                              Persistence has many ways to make you stay motivated. The app tells you when you are on or off target for completing your goals enabling you to correct yourself and succeed.

                                              Being able to quickly tell when you are off and on target is extremely useful, ensuring you’ll always know when are where to push yourself or relax. As well as this, there are numerous other options and ways to track your goals.

                                              It also allows you to enter notes about your progress and habits to ensure you remember all you need.
                                              It has a $1.99 price tag with no free version. But it’s still less than a cup of coffee!

                                              Download: iOS

                                              23. Rabbit, Habit Reminders

                                                Rabbit is a way to set yourself regular reminders to help you maintain your good habits and routines. If you are looking for a simple way to set reminders, you’ll find a lot to like here.

                                                However, it lacks many of the features common in other habit tracking apps, such as the ability to make notes and keep a log of your successes or failures making it difficult to tell how you are progressing.

                                                Download: iOS

                                                24. Way of Life

                                                  Way of Life advertises itself as the “ultimate habit building app” and you can see why. It comes laden with features to ensure you are in control of your habits and routines.

                                                  On first use, users are presented with an interactive tutorial, to ensure they quickly know how to understand and use all the key features, including: the ability to share your progress on your social media profiles, export your data as an Excel file or CSV file, archive your completed goals for a full record of your success.

                                                  Some may find the layout complicated, however this is mitigated thanks to the tutorial.

                                                  Download: iOS and Android

                                                  More Apps for More Efficient Work and Productivity

                                                  18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools

                                                  Best 15 Money Management Apps That Make Financial Planning Easy

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