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3 awesome creativity tools

I’ve been surprised by the amount of creativity Changing the World 101 has demanded over the past 1.5 years.

I kind of thought that I could make a few calls, throw up a website, and all the sudden I would have a successful social business and a jam-packed tour schedule.

Turns out that’s not how it went.

Instead, each day has presented new challenges – many have been engaging (like a student who recently asked for advice on how to tell her insular and forbidding parents that she will be volunteering in Sri Lanka this summer), some are frustrating (like the customer who loves calling me after hours) – and they all require focus and creativity.

By nature, I am easily distractable. Though I enjoy writing, I’ve never had a true knack for creativity. Consequently I have been searching high and low for inexpensive and awesome tools that help boost focus and creativity. I have found three outstanding ones that I use almost everyday. I have no affiliation with any of these companies – I just think they make cool creativity tools that any student, leader, entrepreneur, or 20-something would enjoy.

1) Freedom

Are you distracted by the internet? I am. An inbound email from a friend can throw me off for 20 minutes if it’s engaging or funny. A passing thought like “I wonder what restaurant has the best mojito in DC?” can lead me across the web, only to forget that I’m supposed to be rehearsing for tomorrow night’s speech.

Freedom solves this problem. It lets you disable your wireless card for a specific amount of time. This way you have full use of your computer – except for the internet.

Learn more: http://macfreedom.com/

2) WriteRoom

This program is like the zen of word processing. It makes your entire screen blank except for your cursor and the text you produce. All you can do is write. You can’t fiddle with the font, you can’t look at other programs on your screen, you can’t easily be distracted by other stuff on your computer.

It’s only you, and your words. All alone and personal.

Learn more: http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/writeroom

3) IdeaPaint

I’m a white board guy. If I have to produce or process something complicated and I don’t have a white board nearby I get jittery. I love being able to get the ideas out of my head, and in front of my eyes so I can see what’s really going on.  Bonus points are awarded if those ideas can be expressed in multiple colors with arrows pointing every which way.

Big white boards make that possible.

Idea Paint takes white boards to the next level. IdeaPaint is a special paint that you can paint onto just about anything – your wall, your desk, your baby brother (though I really don’t recommend doing that – hi Rob!), whatever, and it turns that surface into a functioning whiteboard.

One of the walls in my office has been covered with the stuff. I can now write all over my wall, see my ideas, and then erase it. It’s truly awesome. When you decide you don’t want a whiteboard there anymore, you just paint over it.

Learn more: http://www.ideapaint.com/

I used all three of these tools to write this entry.

Now go make something awesome!

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