Last week, I spoke about how daydreaming helps creativity… but this week, I want to share  5 of my favourite creativity tools – that help me stay focused when creating…

1. Staying focused when I have random ideas…

What I use:

When I want to just get all my ideas out of my head… to be able to move around, sort, and find a little clarity… I go to my good old favourite:

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The post it note.

Why + How I use it:

I love the flexibility of a simple post it – plus I get to play with different colours [to keep my ideas fun and inspiring].

I love that once ideas are on paper, I can group them into clusters and themes… or even use it to plan.

140406fav003 Currently, I’m using it to help me focus my blog on what I’ll be creating for the next 3-4 weeks… It helps me keep track of what to shoot, what to write here, and what are the extra’s I pop into my weekly updates!

By putting it on Post its… I am able to juggle things around when I need to.

2. Staying focused by writing it down.

There’s something about writing things out, that helps kick your brain into gear.

What I use when:

Physical writing: I love the possibilities that a blank page gives me… and I prefer to write in A5 notebooks [mainly because it’s big enough to capture some thoughts, and small enough that it doesn’t matter if it’s only a little thought {vs using an A4 page}] and I always carry a notebook with me…

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But sometimes I want to scribble some thoughts down [ie random brainstorming] – and in that case… the blank page is perfect!

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 Electronic writing: sometimes I want to draw my thoughts out… and then be able to quickly send my notes via email… paper by 53 is the main tool I use to do that.

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3. Focus on organising + expanding on concepts [mind mapping]

Why I use MindMaps:

When I was in corporate, I became known for my mind maps. in meetings, I would use a mind map to capture all my minutes… the main reason I did this, was because in high school, I was taught to use mind mapping as a visual way to remember large chunks of information. It was a tool that I bonded with, and a skill that really grew over time. So when it came to taking minutes… I could either capture all the notes from a meeting on 4 A4 pages… or I could just mind map it all onto one page.

How I use MindMaps:

Now… if I’m wanting to play with a concept… I love using mind mapping as my medium to do it.
The best app that I use to capture a mind map… is iThoughts.

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The main reason… you can export your map as an image – or you can also export it as a Word doc… so if I’m plotting a manual… the mind map is the bone structure I’ll use to create it… I’ll then email it as a document that I can edit – it creates the “contents” or outline of what I will build my information on.

4. Keep me focused on the future

I have some big goals.

And with big goals… they take some time to put into action.

By having something to keep me focused on what that future looks like… I make sure that I stay on course [and don’t get distracted by every shiny, pretty and new thing that crosses my path].

What I use for Future focus:

I’m a BIG believer in the power of visioning.

I’m also quite a visual person.

So I create vision boards.

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How it works:

Because …

You can either create one big board, or if you’re like me… I have various aspects [both big and small] that I want to focus on [too many for one big board, and I thought some would change over time]… so I created a few little boards [I ended up with 13 A5 boards].

It sounds like a lot, I know… but I actually swap them out frequently.

I will put 5 / 6 boards up at a time, rotating them regularly – to keep it interesting, and create focus on certain areas of my life!

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As you can tell [by this point in this article], I have a lot of ideas running amok in my mind.

So if I didn’t have this visual reminder of my future goals… I wouldn’t have gotten half as far as I have already in the last year!

What I use and How I use it:

What I use: Paper, magazines, kokis… Simple and effective 😉

How I use it:  Take a look here

 

5. Focusing on how to keep snippets of ideas organised

When those little random ideas strike… and you know you need to keep it somewhere till you get to action it… I have lots of those!

How I organise my ideas:

First things first… get it out of your brain!

I like to capture my ideas in evernote.

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What this looks like in Practice:

I get lots of ideas for blog posts… and they may be right for now [in which case I create a new note, and capture my idea straight away]… or maybe those ideas will be better for a later theme.

I have a notebook for “Blog post ideas” and I keep each idea [no matter how random] in there… ready to be expanded on when the time / energy strikes 😉 currently there are 62 ideas in there… Now imagine if they were all floating around my mind [chaos I tell you]!!!

 

The half an idea???

Its a combination of 1 and 5…
I have some really big ideas that I want to do [bucket list type stuff], and I’ve written them on little lightbulb post it notes… they are big enough that I really want to remember to do them [aka: have them in my face] so I display them visually on my ideas board [soon it will go into my 2014 vision board though]!

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It’s a bit of an overkill… but it’s cute 😉

What about you??

What’s tools do you use to keep you creative and focused?

Drop your ideas into the comments section below…

Needing a little creative injection… why not try my 15 day Creativity Challenge!

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