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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

1. Listen to music by Johann Sebastian Bach.  If Bach doesn’t make you more creative, you should probably see your doctor.

2. Brainstorm.  If properly carried out, brainstorming can help you not only come up with sacks full of new ideas, but can help you decide which is best.

3. Always carry a small notebook and a pen or pencil around with you.  That way, if you are struck by an idea, you can quickly note it down.  Upon rereading your notes, you may discover about 90% of your ideas are daft.  Don’t worry, that’s normal.  What’s important are the 10% that are brilliant.

4. If you’re stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word.  You’d be surprised how well this works.  The concept is based on a simple but little known truth: freedom inhibits creativity.  There are nothing like restrictions to get you thinking.

5. Define your problem.  Grab a sheet of paper, electronic notebook, computer or whatever you use to make notes, and define your problem in detail.  You’ll probably find ideas positively spewing out once you’ve done this.

6. If you can’t think, go for a walk.  A change of atmosphere is good for you and gentle exercise helps shake up the brain cells.

7. Don’t watch TV.  Experiments performed by the JPB Creative Laboratory show that watching TV causes your brain to slowly trickle out your ears and/or nose.  It’s not pretty, but it happens.

8. Don’t do drugs.  People on drugs think they are creative.  To everyone else, they seem like people on drugs.

9. Read as much as you can about everything possible.  Books exercise your brain, provide inspiration and fill you with information that allows you to make creative connections easily.

10. Exercise your brain.  Brains, like bodies, need exercise to keep fit.  If you don’t exercise your brain, it will get flabby and useless.  Exercise your brain by reading a lot (see above), talking to clever people and disagreeing with people- arguing can be a terrific way to give your brain cells a workout.  But note, arguing about politics or film directors is good for you; bickering over who should clean the dishes is not.

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Take some time out to have some fun with your kids!  Here are some helpful suggestions and ideas!

1. Build an amazing couch cushion fort!

2. Celebrate an eco-friendly Valentine’s day together.

3. Here’s a whole list of fun winter time activities for you to enjoy.

4. Parent Magazine has a large collection of activity ideas for you to pick and choose from.

5. Do you have a tiny chef in your family?  Encourage his/her culinary passion with these baking recipes for kids.

6. Want to play games with your kids and have them learn at the same time?  Check out PBS Kids for a good start.

7. And eHow has an article on how to have more family fun on a small family budget.

What are your favorite ways to have fun with the kids?

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Hey!  Welcome to Home on Tuesday, where every Tuesday I scour the internet to find great tips on design, cleaning, automobiles, organization, and more!  Please note that I will be out of town tomorrow and so Working Wednesday will be postponed until next week.  Please subscribe to Life Lists’ RSS feed so you can be updated each time there is a new post!  Please feel free to leave your comments, even if it is to say hello!  I see you are coming by, so don’t be shy, just say hello! 🙂  See you on Thursday!  Enjoy!

1. Brighten up the dreary days of winter by planting pre-season blooms!  HGTV shows you just the plants to use.

2. Think you can’t decorate because of the economy?  Well, the Budget Decorator begs to differ!  Find unique ideas for decorating, organizing, gardening, and more!  And you can sign up for a free budget decorating newsletter.

3. Cleaning a home thoroughly can be painstakingly exhausting.  So Stepcase Lifehack has provided 150 tips and tricks on cleaning everything from carpets to vinyl records.

4. Extend the life of your electronics with tips from Real Simple.

5. And while you are at it, learn how to extend the life of your mattress, as well, with the help of Eco Salon.

6. The Daily Green and the American Lung Association show you 25 ways to keep the air quality in your home safe.

7. Everyone wants to go greener these days- whether you care about the future of the environment and a balanced ecosystem or just for the sake of cutting costs in the belly of a recession.  EcoHomeResource.com has a plethora of resources to help you achieve a greener living space from your kitchen to your nursery.

8. And, finally, don’t forget to take a look at the Innovative Project of the Week brought to you by Interior Design Magazine.  This week’s project was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and is for the California Academy of Sciences.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s links!  Leave a comment and let me know which one(s) were most helpful to you.  You could see more of the same in a future Home on Tuesday!

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Love it or loathe it, it is Valentine’s Day again this Saturday.  I have collected some places for you to visit whether you are sharing time with someone special or wish Valentine’s Day would crash and burn.  Don’t forget to leave me a comment to say hi and let me know you were here!

1. iVillage/BlogHer present Valentine’s Day and You: A Love-Hate Relationship

2. AskMen.com paired up with Cosmopolitan magazine to bring you the gifts that won’t make him gag.

3. Lovingyou.com’s 7 Days of Long-Distance Relationship Romance

4. One man’s Valentine confession: Why I hate Valentine’s Day- on MSN

5. A Valentine’s Day Guide for Singles- MSN

6. Learn the History of Valentine’s Day from The History Channel

7. Kids’ activities for Valentine’s Day– Kaboose

8. Love Poetry.com- Both classic love poems and submitted love poems

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1. The Secret to Being Insanely Creative- Zen Habits

2. Out-of-Box, In-the-Box, New-Box, Other-Box, No-Box Thinking- Creativity for Life

3. The Imagination Prompt Generator- Creativity Portal

4. Blue boosts creativity, red makes you careful- Globe and Mail

5. Art and the Narrative Gap- Layers of Meaning

6. Introduction to Creative Thinking- Virtual Salt

7. How to Incorporate Creativity into Your Business Practice- SCORE (Counselors to America’s Small Business)

8. Free Sewing Patterns- About.com

9. How to Make Pottery: A Step by Step Look- Out of the Fire Studio

10. Woodcraft.com offers over 1500 woodworking tools, plans and supplies for the passionate woodworker.

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girl-with-bubblesMy Friday was a little on the busy side, so this list is a bit late.  However, better late than never, right! 🙂

This Friday I wanted to focus on creating our dream day.  What would your dream day, or perfect day, look like?  Sound like?  Smell like?  Feel like?  Even taste like?

And, more importantly, what can we do to bring in elements of our dream day into our realities?

As adults, we tend to think about work and then family and then if there is any energy left over we can think about ourselves for a minute.  But we have to remember: you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.  This is a lesson I learned the hard way.  As a teacher, I was so busy taking care of my 4- and 5-year-old students that I neglected my own health.  It came back to haunt me.  My health became so poor that I had to quit teaching in order to get back on track.  We have to make sure that we are taken care of before we take care of others because if we get sick there will be no one left to take care of any of us, right?

So, focusing on our five senses, let’s take a moment to figure out how to incorporate some comfort into our hectic lives:

1. Think about the things that make you feel comforted.  Those items, people, and experiences that you crave after your most hellish days.  I discovered my own set of comforts after my father died.  I realized there were certain foods, sounds, activities, people, and thoughts that bring me comfort.  I noticed that my comfort foods were foods I grew up eating- cheese toast, chicken salad, Drumsticks ice cream, white grapes, Granny Smith apples with peanut butter, hot tea.  What foods do you find yourself craving when you need comfort? Try to eat one of your comfort foods this week and see if you don’t feel your shoulders relax when you take your first bite.

2. What about your sense of touch?  Most everyone loves to get a hug when they are having a bad day.  But what can you do to soothe yourself?  After my boyfriend and I broke up, I found my cat to be a great source of not only companionship but she also soothed me when I pet her.  There is something very cathartic about a pet.  And there is research to prove it.  If you don’t have a pet, borrow one for a while and just pet it.  Today I, along with my mother and sisters, received prayer shawls from my mom’s church to help us with my father’s death.  They are beautiful to look at, but best of all they are made of the softest yarn and they are warm.  We were all wearing ours around the house this afternoon, feeling great comfort in this simplest of ways.  Soft fabrics such as wool, silk, and cotton are very relaxing to the touch.  Having a wool or cotton blanket on hand that you can bring out when you need some pampering can do wonders.  Massages are a nice way to relax your muscles, as well, whether you seek the expertise of a professional massage therapist or give yourself a pedicure at home.  Having some thick lotions on hand that you can rub into aching feet and tired hands can make a bad day seem to float further away from your consciousness.

3. What about your other senses?  Aromatherapy candles can bring relaxation to your mind or can bring back memories of a time when you were happy.  I love the smell of coconut.  It takes me away to a tropical place where I can imagine lying on the hot sand at the beach, listening to the cool waves of the ocean crash on the shore.  Very dreamy!  Peppermint is a great aroma for times when you want to feel more alert and energized so you can spend the day surfing or playing a pick-up game of basketball.

4. What about sight? Think about the colors you surround yourself with.  Then consider how you want to feel when you are in your home.  Soft blues and muted greens and beiges are good for a relaxing bedroom.  Bright yellows and vibrant reds are perfect for a recreation room.  Bring nature into your home with a potted plant or two or decorating in greens and browns with the occassional hint of color (as long as it is not too bright). If you love the outdoors, get out there more!  Eat dinner on the back porch during the summertime (don’t forget your citronella candle!) and take in all of the beauty of the trees and flowers and sky.  Pencil in time to go skiing one day in the winter and take in the majesty of the mountains covered in white snow.  Take the kids on a hike and try to name as many plants and trees and flowers and forest animals that can.  Take in the beautiful sights that are right there for you, free, anytime.

5. And don’t forget about sounds! Keep some CDs or I-tune playlists on hand that have just the right mix of music for you when you are feeling nostalgic or needing a pick-me-up or just wanting to bask in the happiness that surrounds you.  What songs elicit certain feelings in you?  And if you have trouble sleeping because of traffic noise or noisy neighbors, invest in a white noise machine.  It can help even the lightest of sleepers get some zzz’s.

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This article was found on Monster.com.

Make Your Mark to Reach the Executive Suite

Plenty important, say headhunters, career coaches and management-development professionals. “You have to arrange your own discovery,” one executive search professional explains. But short of establishing your own vanity press and putting out books on topics you know something about — assuming, of course, you have a book’s worth of hot ideas in you — just how can you get the visibility in your field that will lead headhunters and other talent scouts to your door?

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Get Out of Your Office: Go to conferences, speak up in discussions, have people notice your ideas. Choose your meetings and conventions wisely, where you’ll be likely to meet people from different levels in your industry. Don’t view the time as a play day away from the office, but rather as a time to showcase your own competence and style. Read and think about the theme of the conference or seminar before you go so that you have some intelligent things to say there.
  • Get Quoted: Find friends of friends or family members who write articles about business or your field. Come up with some fresh ideas and get yourself introduced to somebody who is writing relevant articles and might quote you.
  • Speak Up: Volunteer to give talks anywhere there are people to listen — in your community, at your college or in your industry. Have something novel to say — you can’t tell who might be around to quote you.
  • Study Your Favorite Trade Magazines: Consider how you might get mentioned by someone else, or consider writing something yourself for one of those publications. Or get the annual Writer’s Market, a bible of who’s accepting articles on which topics in every kind of publication. Chances are you could find 20 or more likely publications. Some will pay well and some will pay in reprints, but money is not the issue here — what counts is just getting your name out there so some headhunters will want you on their prospect list.
  • Go to Events: Whenever something’s happening in your community or in your industry, go — whether you want to or not. Being seen and heard often can give you the visibility you need to be perceived as a leader, someone to watch.

But What If All This Visibility Isn’t Your Thing?

Well, here’s the rub — being visible, enjoying the limelight and having valuable things to say about the state of your industry, your community and the world are a major part of life at the top of the executive heap. Being honest with yourself about whether you really want to do that is an essential part of your own self-assessment and career management. If doing these five things sounds like an intriguing challenge, then you’d probably enjoy the extracurriculars of senior management. If you find yourself recoiling at the thought, then that tells you a little something about whether you’d be better off planning your career a different way. Life at the top is not necessarily about who is the best or the most talented — it’s largely about who enjoys the art and science of self-promotion. Only you can know if that’s you or not!

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