4 Stages of Creative Control - Deepstash

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Arrange your time and tasks according to these seven categories, and you'll be a creativity machine

4 Stages of Creative Control

  • Preparation: you’re learning everything you can about the problem.
  • Incubation: you’re allowing your unconscious mind to work on the problem.
  • Illumination: the solution comes to you. It doesn’t tend to happen while you’re sitting at your desk. It might be when you’ve just woken up.
  • Verification: you ensure that the idea meets up to your standards. Does it solve the problems you identified during the Preparation stage?

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Arrange your time and tasks according to these seven categories, and you'll be a creativity machine

Arrange your time and tasks according to these seven categories, and you'll be a creativity machine

https://medium.com/the-mission/arrange-your-time-and-tasks-according-to-these-seven-categories-and-youll-be-a-creativity-machine-b142d2fff65

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Key Ideas

4 Stages of Creative Control

  • Preparation: you’re learning everything you can about the problem.
  • Incubation: you’re allowing your unconscious mind to work on the problem.
  • Illumination: the solution comes to you. It doesn’t tend to happen while you’re sitting at your desk. It might be when you’ve just woken up.
  • Verification: you ensure that the idea meets up to your standards. Does it solve the problems you identified during the Preparation stage?

Creative work categories

  • Prioritize: The clearer your priorities, the more focused you can be on the task at hand. 
  • Generate: Build a creative habit. Make a daily deliverable, whether it’s 100-words a day, a 30-second song etc...
  • Explore: When you Explore, you collect the raw materials for the insights you’ll have when you Generate.
  • Research: To solve a creative problem, you have to learn whatever you can about that problem.
  • Recharge: When you rest, you allow your unconscious mind to work on your creative problems.
  • Polish: A great idea won’t work if you don’t execute it well.
  • Administrate: make it all work, so you can keep doing what you’re doing.

Becoming a perpetual creativity machine

  1. Build a tiny creative habit: Find the time of day with the best creative energy and make your daily deliverable so small, you can’t stand to fail.
  2. Take time to Prioritize: Once you’ve established a habit, dedicate an hour a week to a “weekly review”.
  3. Rest with a purpose: Establish times during your day and your week when you’ll do something that Recharges you.

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Re-conceptualize the problem

Instead of thinking of a cut-and-dry end goal to certain situations, creative people sit back and examine the problem in different ways before beginning to work.

If you find yourself stagnating by focusing on generic problems, try to re-conceptualize the problem by focusing on a more meaningful angle.

For example: Instead of thinking “What would be something cool to paint?” rather ask, “What sort of painting evokes the feeling of loneliness that we all encounter after a break-up?”

Create psychological distance

Creating “psychological” distance may be useful for breaking through a creative block.

Try to imagine your creative task as being disconnected and distant from your current position/location - this may make the problem more accessible and can encourage higher level thinking.

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The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:
The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:
  • Defer judgment (don’t get upset when people say bad ideas).
  • Reach for quantity (come up with as many ideas as possible).
Obstacles to an effective brainstorming:
  • Fear of judgment from people in positions of power;
  • Extroverts take center stage;
  • Groups hate scary ideas, even it they're great ones;
Steps of the creative process
  1. Preparation: individual study to focus your mind on the problem;
  2. Incubation: the problem enters your unconscious mind and nothing appears to be happening externally;
  3. Intimation: you get a “feeling” that a solution is on the way;
  4. Illumination: your creative idea moves to conscious awareness;
  5. Verification: your idea is consciously verified, expanded upon, and then executed.
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Being young is being curious. And most people become cynical and overly critical towards life as they grow older, and only a select few retain the wonder, innocence and joy of a child.

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Our Inner Critic

Our inner critic is usually formed in a system based on right and wrong answers and outperforming others on structured tasks. Listening to our inner critic will rarely improve our creative work - it may actually result in conformative work.

We need to turn this inner-critic into an inner-coach and drive our personal growth.

Re-educating Our Inner Critic

We do not need to suppress or kill our inner critic, but only need to re-educate it, but only need to deploy three simple ways to make space for the inner child:

  1. Get more playful in our creative endeavours.
  2. Skip doing something adults do in favour of doing something that kids love to do, like drawing, writing poems and playing in the pool.
  3. Practice constructive questioning by asking why to the things we (and others) take for granted.
The Science of Your "Comfort Zone"

Your comfort zone is a behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. That provides a state of mental security. 

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Optimal Anxiety

A state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance. In order to maximize performance, a state of relative anxiety is needed—a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This space is called "Optimal Anxiety," and it's just outside our comfort zone. 

Too much anxiety and we're too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply.

Making Sense Of Your Comfort Zone
  • Your comfort zone is neither a good or bad thing. It's a natural state that most people trend towards. 
  • Leaving it means increased risk and anxiety, which can have positive and negative results.
  • Don't demonize your comfort zone as something holding you back. We all need that head-space where we're least anxious and stressed so we can process the benefits we get when we leave it.

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Mind mapping is a visual note-taking style to help you get your ideas out on paper. Essentially, you’re making a map of how all of your ideas relate to one another. Start with one central idea, like the overall project goal or just a piece of it. From there, think about the major tasks, goals, or ideas behind the projects.

Try A Change Of Scenery

Getting out of the space you associate with your project can help bring an unexpected shift in your perspective.

Try to get away from the setting you’ve been working in. Do you work from home? Try a new location like a coffee shop, library, or coworking space. Work in an office? Go offsite with your team.

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The organized workspace

The general condition of your living environment affects your personal productivity.

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Tips to organize your office space

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  • Organize with colors and labels, to put items in the right places.
  • Use storage boxes & containers to help you stay organized.
  • Segment your work zones to help trigger a better output.
  • Organize your desk accessories: everything from your stationeries, laptop, files, and trays.
  • De-clutter and organize your Laptop/Desktop by deleting those folders, pictures or softwares that you don’t need. 

Writing The List In The Morning

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Including Too Many Tasks

Ideally, create a ‘top three’ tasks at the beginning of your to-do list. 

Long lists are a problem because most people aren’t aware that “we only have about three to six good hours of work in us each day.”

People also tend to underestimate how long a task takes. 

Including Someday Items

Aspirational tasks, like writing a book, don’t belong on a to-do list; instead, create a separate bucket list. 

Daily to-do lists should be focused. If you have a big project you want to complete, you can put it on your to-do list if you chunk it out into smaller, more attainable tasks.

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Diving and swimming

This technique requires 2 steps:

  • Deep immersion into a subject matter without specifically looking for an answer to your problem.
  • Letting go completely while you process that information (actually walking away from it), to allow good ideas to bubble up from the subconscious and into clear view.
Exaptation

This is the ability to reach beyond a specific field of expertise and create new uses for an older thing. It’s about taking one thing and using it for a different purpose than intended.

For example: Apply a cooking recipe to a marketing strategy or use a spreadsheet program to organize words for your poetry.

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Creativity
The creative process is the act of making new connections between old ideas or recognizing relationships between concepts.

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The 5 Step Creative Process
  1. Gather new material directly related to your task as well as learning general material by becoming fascinated with a wide range of concepts.
  2. Thoroughly work over the materials in your mind.  Examine what you have learned by looking at the facts from different angles and experimenting with fitting various ideas together.
  3. Step away from the problem. Next, you put the problem completely out of your mind and go do something else that excites you and energizes you.
  4. Let your idea return to you. After you have stopped thinking about it, your idea will come back to you with a flash of insight and renewed energy.
  5. Shape and develop your idea based on feedback. For any idea to succeed, you must release it out into the world, submit it to criticism, and adapt it as needed.
Creativity is learned

Some people are primed to be more creative than others.

However, nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.

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