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Creative habits for 2015

Creativity & Innovation

How is your 2015 going so far? Are you well into your groove, or are you running out of steam already? For those of you who made new year’s resolutions, this might be the time things start coming loose…

Change is hard. But developing and maintaining the mindset to change things is perhaps one of the most important aspects of improving creative performance. It’s so easy not to change, to accept the status quo – so we must remain vigilant and determined.

Some things to keep you on track / get you back on track

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes the nature of habits:

“First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.”

If you want to get rid of a bad habit, you have to find out how to implement a better routine to yield the same reward. Read more in this summary from 99U.

Another method is habit chaining, where you pick something you have no problem motivating yourself to do, then link it to another habit you want to acquire.

Finally you should also consider checklists. In The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande explains how you can head off your wavering willpower by pre-planning things – for instance your weekly menu if you’re trying to lose weight.

Some creative habits to adopt in 2015

Co-author of The Innovator’s DNA Hal Gregersen is behind an initiative to encourage people to set aside 4 minutes every 24 hours (totalling one full day each year) to ask better questions.

Stop self-editing and improve your creative flow. Just turn off your monitor (or use BlindWrite) and type for 10 minutes.

Take more breaks, and more naps if you can – unstructured, unfocused thinking time is beneficial for creativity, and REM sleep can foster creative problem-solving. Here’s how to nap like a pro.

But at the end of all this talk of habits, beware – too many routine-based habits might make you less creative. 

Something at the end

The people at Alcoholics Anonymous would likely tell you that beer is not the way to solve your problems. But wait – researchers have found that an alcohol level of 0.075% might help with creative thinking. So if you’re not on a dry January, you might be tempted to try The Problem Solver, a 7.1% IPA from Denmark.

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