Get Unblocked

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As an entrepreneur and a creative, you need ways to work better so that you can create more, but what do you do when you hit a seemingly insurmountable mental wall? You need to get unblocked: to bust through that barrier to allow creativity to flow. Beware: this presentation challenges the standard norms around concentration, focus, productivity, and may change how you work…for the better.

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Get Unblocked

  1. If You Feel Inclined to Tweet… I am: @denisejacobs We’re at: @MindTheBridge And I’m talking about ways to #getunblocked
  2. How did I become a Creativity Evangelist? http://www.flickr.com/photos/b4b2/3954106061/
  3. After writing this…
  4. I had an epiphany http://www.flickr.com/photos/44085287@N05/4055814772/
  5. In terms of http://www.flickr.com/photos/designandtechnologydepartment/4771136128/
  6. We ALL hold the power http://www.flickr.com/photos/assbach/267598910/
  7. Creativity is highly valued http://business.time.com/2013/04/26/the-time-creativity-poll/
  8. I’ve decided it’s my life work Photo: Derek Kearney
  9. Intro Blocked?
  10. What’s our most important tool for creating? http://www.flickr.com/photos/drachmann/327122302/
  11. No, not these… http://www.flickr.com/photos/plindberg/33867829/
  12. This one! http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APSM_V14_D495_Side_view_of_the_brain_and_spinal_cord.jpg
  13. Instead of accessing all of your great ideas http://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8156999698/
  14. And feeling like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/7730492@N03/4958540694/
  15. You run into road blocks http://www.flickr.com/photos/99301367@N00/8497106802/
  16. When you need them the least http://www.flickr.com/photos/7693102@N07/2536807562/
  17. And you run completely http://royhoes.deviantart.com/art/Out-of-Inspiration-85588391
  18. However, creativity is a source of true power http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanekemp/6152286326/
  19. “Creativity is newness produced.” - Sir Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds
  20. When we are in the creative flow http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfear/289257055/
  21. We are alchemists http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Faust_image_19thcentury.jpg
  22. It feels like http://www.flickr.com/photos/torley/2761300969/
  23. “Creativity is magical, but it is not magic.” - Dr. Charles Limb, Your Brain on Improvisation TED talk
  24. We’re innately powerful creators http://www.flickr.com/photos/89927155@N00/2144275209/
  25. Instead of using it fully http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3310336516/
  26. We fear it Photo: Denise Jacobs
  27. And give our power away https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/6D-O5ECr5EUow5jrck2A2A
  28. Building Blocks
  29. Prologue How it starts
  30. It starts early http://www.flickr.com/photos/barretthall/3036598475/ &http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/3135103537/
  31. Share 4 stories from my own life http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/7324305636/
  32. Age 6
  33. Dad Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  34. Mom & sister Photos: Deloria Jacobs
  35. Me? More of a graphic artist Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  36. Age 10
  37. Oldest friend in the world Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  38. Age 24
  39. Happy graduation! Now what? Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  40. Maybe be a writer?
  41. First airplane ride!
  42. Internalized the critical voices http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeapalooza/553545517/
  43. Caused me to binge-create
  44. But never felt deserving
  45. Always a bit in the closet http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenzzz_14/7031233649/
  46. Prologue, part 2 What it creates
  47. These lies that we tell ourselves
  48. Leave parts of us paralyzed and imprisoned http://www.flickr.com/photos/b3ni/2990601183/
  49. Adds up
  50. = Blocks http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_g_travels/860951845/
  51. Instead of creativity
  52. Destructivity http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevygee/3265941065/
  53. Getting Unblocked
  54. Nudge your comfort zone
  55. “Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.” - Anna Freud
  56. 1 Recognize & Banish
  57. Busyness http://www.flickr.com/photos/wester/504925076/
  58. Monsters in your head http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/4887528060/
  59. “If your demons are such that they fill the room the instant you contemplate creating, your studio will be too dangerous a place to enter.” - Eric Maisel, author of Fearless Creating
  60. What’s really going on is we’re http://www.43folders.com/2011/03/28/scared-shitless
  61. Physical evidence of fear http://www.flickr.com/photos/grumpyfeline/4626401443/
  62. Recognize the many forms of your Inner Critic
  63. Impostor Syndrome
  64. Impostor Syndrome Paradox http://www.flickr.com/photos/x1brett/2279939232/
  65. Comparisons http://www.flickr.com/photos/automania/126698126/
  66. Perfectionism http://www.flickr.com/photos/diepuppenstubensammlerin/7648792510/
  67. Procrastination http://www.flickr.com/photos/irrezolut/2311904560/
  68. Fear of failure http://www.flickr.com/photos/laughingsquid/2717325940/
  69. “The goal is to manage anxiety so that our energies are used for the productive and satisfying art of creating, rather than the destructive and debilitating art of self-torture.” - Clare Warmke, Idea Revolution
  70. F.E.A.R. = “False Evidence Appearing Real” or, alternatively, “F*ck Everything And Run!”
  71. Become a Fear Alchemist http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joseph_Wright_of_Derby_The_Alchemist.jpg
  72. Thoughts on fear
  73. “Fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” - character of Cypher Raige (played by Will Smith), After Earth
  74. Banish the Inner Critic http://www.flickr.com/photos/mythoto/3822942678/
  75. Empathize http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrote/2646295354/
  76. Comparisons aren’t real http://www.flickr.com/photos/suvodeb/2559017400/
  77. Maintain perspective http://www.flickr.com/photos/daikrieg/1294053038/
  78. Reframe #fail http://www.flickr.com/photos/laughingsquid/2717326642/
  79. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” - Henry Ford
  80. Nothing is a mistake Photo: Denise Jacobs
  81. “I am best at what I can’t do. It has become my ability to feel strong and confident….I feel free to move, to listen to my heart, to learn, to act even if that means I will make mistakes. If you want a creative life, do what you can’t and experience the beauty of the mistakes that you make.” - Marcel Wanders, Designer and “Professional Amateur” (marcelwanders.com)
  82. Change your body language, change your mind http://www.flickr.com/photos/thirteenthnile/4546397775/
  83. “Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes.” - Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are TED talk
  84. Fake it until you become it
  85. Exercise: Power Pose Stand up. Assume a pose that embodies a sense of defeat, can’t do it, it will never work, “I suck/I’m no good/an impostor”, etc. Make yourself as small and powerless feeling as possible. Then, strike a power pose. Imagine yourself as a superhero looking off into the distance seeing your destiny of major creative butt-kicking. Alternate several times. Hold the power pose for as long as you can so that you can feel the change.
  86. 2 Adjust & Replace
  87. Train Your Brain http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiarescott/3211540197/
  88. Let’s take a closer look http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/6006414578/
  89. Left v. Right brain? http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=left%20brain%20right%20brain&order=9&offset=48#/d10qlpq
  90. Left hemisphere http://www.flickr.com/photos/smittenkittenoriginals/4451172538/
  91. Right hemisphere http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorelei-ranveig/2294885580/
  92. A balanced brain http://www.flickr.com/photos/47691521@N07/4639590640/
  93. What are our brains constantly producing? http://www.flickr.com/photos/cblue98/7254347346/
  94. Know your Brainwaves
  95. Alpha: the gateway to Creativity
  96. “The parts of your brain that are responsible for self-monitoring are literally turned off during creative endeavors….Creative people have mastered the art of turning off [the inhibitive] part of their brains to let their ideas flow more smoothly, unleashing their imagination.” - Tina Seelig, InGenius
  97. Exercise: Enter Alpha Close your eyes and relax. Breathe through your nose. Now place your tongue at the roof of your mouth, turn your eyes towards the ceiling underneath your eyelids. Take several deep, long breaths. As you relax, you are changing your brainwaves from Beta to Alpha.
  98. 6 Easy ways access to Alpha http://uniteunderfreedom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Brain-waves.jpg
  99. (1) Breathe to refocus http://www.flickr.com/photos/guiniveretoo/1573049301/
  100. (2) Lay prone http://www.flickr.com/photos/snazzy54/4581347651/
  101. (3) Daydream http://www.flickr.com/photos/fuzzylittlemanpeach/4633972431/
  102. (4) Takes a shower http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/3761878381/
  103. (5) Get physical http://www.flickr.com/photos/miguel77/2728104156/
  104. “When your brain is supposedly doing nothing, it’s really doing a tremendous amount.” – Marcus Raichle, Neurologist
  105. Exercise Discipline http://www.flickr.com/photos/bizz0k0/3432638748/
  106. Manage habits http://www.flickr.com/photos/deathtogutenberg/2976274920/
  107. Clean-up habit fields http://www.flickr.com/photos/risager/3452272176/
  108. Habit what? http://alistapart.com/article/habit-fields
  109. Practice: Habit field reboot Clean up your work habit field by following the suggestions in the article “Habit Fields” by Jack Cheng. Create your equivalent of a “distraction chair” and move to it when you feel like you are inclined to surf the web, email, Tweet, Facebook, or engage in any other computer-related distraction. When you are ready to work again, come back to your desk. Rinse and repeat until your work habit field is clear again and no longer fuzzy.
  110. Manage time http://www.flickr.com/photos/paolocampioni/2168286027/
  111. Practice: To Don’t List To do more of what you love and less of what you dislike, start writing To Don’t Lists (aka “Stop Doing” Lists).   Pick a partner, and write a list of 3-5 items that you commit to stop doing within the next 30 days. Date the list. Share the list with your partner and get ideas on how to eliminate these items from your life either by stopping them or delegating/outsourcing the tasks.   Review your list in 30 days to see what you need to continue to stop doing so that your time is spent on what you value and want to cultivate. Create another list for the upcoming 30 days.
  112. Say NO to Distractions http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideon/6582069/
  113. RescueTime.com
  114. GetConcentrating.com
  115. Further Resources Firefox extension: LeechBlock: http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html Firefox extension: Idderall: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/ idderall/ Google Chrome extension: Strict Workflow: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/strictworkflow/ Google Chrome extension: StayFocusd: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ stayfocusd/
  116. Single-task http://www.flickr.com/photos/33498942@N04/6009639079/
  117. Pomodoro Technique http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucamascaro/4975166968/
  118. Airplane mode http://www.flickr.com/photos/pieterouwerkerk/699475144/
  119. Practice: Pomodoro 2.0 Practice the Pomodoro technique. Do a 30 minute sprint where you turn off all distractions and work for 25 minutes. Before you start your sprint, write down the objective of the sprint. Do the sprint, and at the end of it, take a moment to jot down any challenges encountered, and your end results from the sprint. For your 5 minute break, activate your Alpha brainwaves by either laying down on the floor with your eyes closed, or look at clouds shifting in the sky.
  120. 3 Invite & Allow
  121. “Sometimes dabbling in mysticism can be a fun way to understand and solve a problem.” - Carl King, So You’re a Creative Genius, Now What?
  122. A little help from (imaginary) friends
  123. Your subconscious http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Themuse.jpg
  124. The spirit of the idea
  125. Ideas use us (not vise-versa)
  126. Practice: Converse with the Spirit of the Idea Instead of treating an idea as something that comes from inside of your head, treat it as an external entity that has chosen you to bring it into the world. Take some time to converse with the idea as an entity with its own goals and objectives and vision for itself, and find out how you can help the entity get itself into the world the way it wants to be.
  127. Listen http://www.flickr.com/photos/theory/3193684688/
  128. Converse http://www.flickr.com/photos/tojosan/181249465/
  129. Embrace disruption Photo: Denise Jacobs
  130. Capture ideas http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosengrant/3637839874/
  131. Write them down http://www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/2826079915/
  132. Sketch them out http://www.flickr.com/photos/eoze04/4890376021/
  133. Talk them out (& record it) http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/3641402489/
  134. Gather and curate your ideas http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmanviz/3181410714/
  135. Tools to do so Evernote Pinterest.com Delicious.com Flickr.com Zootool.com Gimmebar.com Diigo Dropr.com Tumblr Scrnshots.com Vi.sualize.us Emberapp.com Trello.com Asana.com
  136. 4 Connect & Flow
  137. Do it with others http://www.flickr.com/photos/u-suke/5668302030/
  138. Mo’ people, mo’ ideas http://www.flickr.com/photos/seretuaccidente/147686396/
  139. Avoid sameness http://www.flickr.com/photos/dahlstroms/3774973833/
  140. Immerse yourself in diverse environments http://www.flickr.com/photos/shirinwiniger/3680885289/
  141. Don’t keep them to yourself http://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8127201319/
  142. Share ideas http://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/4278466639/
  143. Share mistakes http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilt/26322670/
  144. Be the locus where ideas can mix & mingle http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/7496803638/
  145. Expands, does not contract http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5752191246/
  146. Amplify the ideas of others http://www.flickr.com/photos/roland/54381130/
  147. Improv http://www.flickr.com/photos/roel1943/5740295789/
  148. Plus it http://www.flickr.com/photos/66568868@N00/6032481145/
  149. The structure
  150. Make your partner look good http://www.flickr.com/photos/31246066@N04/4597640798/
  151. The stage is set for Flow http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgeithner/5290115839/
  152. Flow?
  153. The previous steps lead you here: •  Concept in mind: know what you want to achieve and what it looks like •  Practice in place •  Cleared space •  Time carved out and distractions eliminated •  Necessary materials on hand
  154. Free & Clear
  155. Before http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_g_travels/860951845/
  156. After http://www.flickr.com/photos/visualdoubts/4087935894/
  157. Stepping through them more easily http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/4269399012/
  158. (Re)Gain Creative Confidence http://www.flickr.com/photos/44085287@N05/4055807492/
  159. …which is “…the confidence that, when given a difficult problem, we have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before.” - David Kelley of Ideo
  160. Ideas are on and poppin’! http://www.flickr.com/photos/7730492@N03/4957946157/
  161. Work becomes Play http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5392982007/
  162. Reclaim our power http://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8216666102/
  163. Value yourself, ideas, and process http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait/2847866615/
  164. Moving forward http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/6005503875/
  165. “Creativity makes day to day experiences more vivid, more enjoyable, more rewarding. When we live creatively, boredom is banished and every moment holds the promise of a fresh discovery.” - Mihali Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity
  166. To strive to http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5319988695/
  167. And continue to http://www.flickr.com/photos/boojee/2781415869/
  168. The End…? http://www.flickr.com/photos/imuttoo/232100469/
  169. Resources! delicious.com/denisejacobs/getunblocked delicious.com/denisejacobs/unfoldyourbrain delicious.com/denisejacobs/creativityhabit delicious.com/denisejacobs/brainoncreativity Always being updated as I find new relevant articles! “Great Resources” almost daily: @denisejacobs on Twitter
  170. My articles for further reading! netmagazine.com/features/ four-secrets-enhancingcreative-productivity alistapart.com/articles/ reigniting-your-creative-spark/ alistapart.com/articles/ banishing-your-inner-critic/
  171. Cover art thanks to Americo Morales AmericoMorales.com
  172. How to find me DeniseJacobs.com denise@denisejacobs.com Twitter.com/denisejacobs Facebook.com/denisejacobsdotcom Slideshare.net/denisejacobs Photo used with permission: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aarronwalter/4629078087/
  173. Want More? Sign up for news on my upcoming book, projects, other announcements and whatnot at the brandspankin’ new DeniseJacobs.com
  174. Thank you http://www.flickr.com/photos/theredproject/3302110152/
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