9 Ways to Be More Creative in 2019

Salvador Dali in Figueres, Spain, circa 1900. Photo by Kammerman/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

If your New Year’s resolutions include improving your fitness routine or diet, being more creative should be on your list, too. With advantages ranging from greater brain function and productivity to better mood and memory, creativity can help improve your life at work and home. Anyone can benefit from the nine exercises listed below, whether you’re seeking fresh inspiration for your art practice or just looking to improve your problem-solving skills in 2019.

Take a free online art class

It’s never been easier to take an art class. From your phone or computer, you can dive into lessons and videos covering everything from the basics of analog photography to the history of Egyptian art. Free online classes and MOOCs (massive open online courses)—which you can find through websites like Class Central, Skillshare, and Coursera—allow you to access weeks- or months-long courses in various creative fields. Many of these curricula allow you to work at your own pace, and some are even offered by prestigious universities.

Stop procrastinating

It’s a common misconception that all people who routinely put off their work are procrastinators—and that creative geniuses like

and

were famous for this type of behavior. However, if you leave an assignment until the last minute knowing full well that you’ll still be able to get your work done—and done well—your actions are more accurately described as “purposeful delaying.” True procrastinators, on the other hand, end up producing work that’s worse not just in quality, but in terms of creativity, as well.

Some helpful strategies for kicking your procrastination habits include working during the times of day when you’re naturally most productive, breaking down big assignments into more manageable tasks, and minimizing distractions while you’re working, like turning off your phone.

Start a drawing routine

Drawing is not only an accessible means of creative expression, it can also help you process emotions and enhance your memory—in fact, a new studyfound that drawing is more effective than writing for memory retention. Like anything, you’ll need to make it part of your routine in order to stick with it and improve your skills.
One way to start is to keep a sketchbook, which you may choose to fill with depictions of your surroundings, travels, friends, or simple

you can assemble from household items. The beauty of a sketchbook is that you don’t have to worry about making mistakes, and you can keep it to yourself, like a diary.

Meditate

Meditation has long been utilized as a means to tame anxiety and tap into creativity—and countless artists and other creatives have caught on. Take, for instance, filmmaker

, who is largely responsible for growing enthusiasm around Transcendental Meditation (TM), and performance artist

, who follows a form of focused-attention meditation (FA).

In its various forms, meditation has been found to improve skills that are key to creativity, including observation skills, divergent thinking (the ability to come up with many novel ideas or solutions to a problem), and convergent thinking (the ability to find connections between different things). If you don’t know where to begin, consider a meditation app, like Headspace or Calm.

Eat more fish and walnuts

Researchers believe that you can optimize your diet for greater creativity—and unsurprisingly, the recommended foods are staples of a healthy diet. They include fruits and vegetables, which contain creativity-boosting flavonoids; fish, walnuts, and other foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which heighten brain performance; as well as bananas, almonds, and seaweed, which contain tyrosine, an amino acid that’s been linked to convergent thinking. To be clear, this approach won’t work overnight, but rather through a long-term diet.

Broaden your dating pool

A recent research study found that the deep learning that occurs during a romantic relationship with someone from another country may contribute to creativity. For one experiment, researchers worked with a group of students enrolled in an international MBA program over the course of 10 months, and tested their creativity at the beginning and end of the program; those who had dated someone from another culture had “superior creative performance.” Other experiments supported these findings, showing that the depth of a relationship correlates with a person’s convergent and divergent thinking.

Sleep smarter

While some studies have found that creative people don’t sleep well, adequate sleep is recommended for boosting the cognitive functioning that creativity requires. Both a full night’s sleep and power naps have been shown to help with idea generation;

and Thomas Edison were known to regularly nap for this reason.

Getting enough sleep at night, however, is particularly important for creative problem-solving. A study published in June 2018 suggested that both REM and non-REM sleep play a role in enhancing a person’s creative thinking. A previous study found that when people had a full eight hours of sleep before trying to solve a problem, as opposed to staying awake, nearly triple the number of participants were able to solve the problem. One of the easiest ways to become a better sleeper is to develop “sleep stability,” meaning going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (even on weekends).

Take more museum trips

Researchers working at the intersection of arts and medicine have proven that the seemingly dissimilar fields are mutually beneficial—even when it comes to the simple act of viewing an artwork in person. This year, studies reported findings that patients stand to benefit from doctor-prescribed museum visits, and likewise, doctors can learn crucial observation skillsthrough carefully examining art. If you’re wary of a fatigue-inducing museum trip, make a plan to visit one exhibition or gallery, or even just one work of art—this approach is also a good one if you’re planning on seeing art with children.

Spice up your cooking or baking rituals

If making art is not your cup of tea, perhaps you find food more accessible. Cooking invites just as much room for experimentation as art, and for many artists, like Olafur Eliasson, the ingredients, science, and ethics of food can spur fresh ideas and lead to fruitful, communal meals. While the alchemy of baking may seem to leave less room for improvisation, devotees of The Great British Bake Off and Instagram users will know well that there’s no shortage of innovative bakers and pastry chefs pushing confections into the realms of art.
[“source=artsy.net”]

GST rate cut: Refrigerators, washing machines, kitchen appliances to be cheaper from today

GST rate cut: Refrigerators, washing machines, kitchen appliances to be cheaper from today

Consumer appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, small screen TVs, vacuum cleaners and sundry kitchen essentials will now cost 7-8 per cent less, as companies prepare to pass on the benefits of the recent GST revisions. Last week the Modi government had announced the biggest GST rate cut since last November and slashed the levy on several white goods and commonly used kitchen appliances like mixer-grinders and juicers by 10 per cent – from the highest tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent. The new rate comes into effect today.

According to The Economic Times, with this development, the total taxation amount on several consumer electronic products is now lower than what it was during the earlier VAT regime, when it stood at around 26.5 per cent. Better still, industry insiders claim that prices will come down to nearly a two-year low.

“With the revision of GST rate on refrigerators and washing machines, there will be a reduction of price to the tune of 7-8 per cent for the end consumer. Godrej will pass on the entire benefit of GST reduction to the consumers,” said Godrej Appliances Business Head and Executive Vice President Kamal Nandi, adding that the rate cut will provide relief to the appliances industry.

“The revision will make refrigerators and washing machines more affordable which will accelerate the penetration of these appliances across India. This, in turn, will lead to a spur in demand which will lead to increase in production and, hence, have a positive impact on the GDP,” he explained.

Korean consumer durable majors LG has likewise committed to pass on the full benefit of the GST rate cut to the consumers. Citing sources in the know the daily added that the company has dropped prices by 8-9 per cent, while Samsung and Godrej will be reducing prices by more than 7.81 per cent across all products that got a tax cut. Panasonic’s net price cut is between 7-8 per cent.

The price cuts vary because some companies have passed on the complete benefit of the tax cut while keeping dealer prices intact but some brands have also reduced the dealer price, thus increasing the net price cut. The tax component is calculated on dealer price to arrive at the product’s maximum retail prices.

So LG has revised the price of its 335-litre frost-free refrigerator price from Rs 46,490 to Rs 42,840 – a price drop of 8.5 per cent – and a 6.2 kg top load washing machine is now 8.7 per cent cheaper at Rs 18,390. On the other hand, a Godrej 190-litre direct cool refrigerator is now priced 7.8 per cent lower at Rs 15,257, against Rs 16,550 earlier.

Godrej Appliances business head Kamal Nandi told the daily that for the stock already in trade, the manufacturers will supply new pricing labels to the retailers mentioning the new MRP, which they will stick on the product packaging. So if you are going shopping for one of the products that recently enjoyed a tax cut, check for reduced prices before you pay up.

The industry is optimistic that the tax cut will fuel demand and provide a new impetus for growth, especially ahead of the upcoming festive season. The Indian consumer, after all, has largely been holding back on discretionary spending since demonetisation in November 2016.

“The goods to benefit the most will be washing machines and refrigerators, where we expect growth to pick up substantially. The reduced taxes in television sets of up to 26 inches will ensure increased penetration and affordability in smaller parts of the country. We plan to pass on the complete benefits translating to around 7-8 per cent,” said Manish Sharma, president and CEO, Panasonic India and South Asia and President, CEAMA.

However, if you are planning to buy a larger-sized LED TV – 32 inches or more – you’d best do so in a hurry. Because the buzz is that their prices will go up next month.
[“source=indiatoday]

How to encourage your new hires to be creative

Image result for How to encourage your new hires to be creative

In today’s work environment, you need more from an employee than just strong technical skills. Sure, software engineers need to be familiar with the appropriate programming language, and data analysts need to know their way around a spreadsheet. But these things alone won’t make them effective. They need to know how to think outside the box.

But how do you cultivate creativity, and keep it growing among your new hires? After all, good ideas don’t just come out of thin air. Here are some practices that you might want to try.

1) Explain your thinking style

Not everyone will think the way you do–and when you work with people, you need to be clear about how everyone works. If you are a backward thinker, you begin at the end and work backward to the beginning. You define your goal clearly and you focus on that exact goal and move forward in well-defined steps.

If you are a forward thinker, on the other hand, you begin with a rough idea, and you move forward by reacting and correcting until you arrive with something concrete.

You’ll avoid frustration when you explain how you think. I once hired a talented young researcher. Every time she brought in her work, I responded by asking her to look at the problem another way. After her third presentation, she said to me, “I can’t work with you anymore. You don’t know what you want. I’m quitting.”

That was a wake-up call for me. From that point on, I make sure to explain my thinking style to everyone that I work with–and that meant going back and forth until we get there. When I do this, I create a platform for creative collaborations–by enabling others to work in a way that suits their thinking style, while making sure that they understand mine.

2) Make sure to challenge different creative muscles

In Lateral Thinking—a book about unleashing creativity–physician and psychologist Edward De Bono likened creativity to pouring hot wax into a block of wax. The first time you pour, you create a new hole–the second time you pour, your wax goes into the same hole, only deeper.

Sometimes it takes experimentation to elicit creativity, and that means pouring new holes into the wax. Don’t just ask your new hires to come up with three versions of a marketing plan. Ask for a strategic roadmap or ideas on making your website user-friendly. This gives your new hires a chance to exercise a different creative muscle, and they can learn what it takes for them to come up with a great idea.

3) Focus on what’s missing, not what’s wrong

When you watch yourself on video, you will most likely fixate on a particular flaw. You may obsess about how your smile seems crooked, how often you blink, how many “ahs” and “ers” you say in a minute. So what happens as a result of this kind of analysis? You pause, you clamp your jaws, you pop your eyes open, you have long, empty pauses. Focusing on flaws doesn’t work.

You have to look instead at what’s missing. If you speak with too many “ahs” and “ers” what’s missing is a connection between your speaking and your breathing, not that you’re stopping too much. You need to adopt the same kind of mind-set with your team’s creativity. Don’t focus on what they’re doing wrong. Instead, give them ideas on what they can do.

Whether you’re giving feedback or delivering a message, you have to approach it in a more–not less– perspective. As one of my clients explained, “When my boss asked us how we were going to cut costs, my colleagues presented their cost-cutting plans. I told him how I was going to sell more.” That client is one of his company’s top sales leaders.

4) Give feedback at a concept level

When you’re giving feedback to a new hire, you have to leave room for them to solve the problem. For example, suppose you walked into a room that had a fireplace at one end and two chairs against the back wall. When you say, “That’s ridiculous. Why don’t you move your chairs closer to the fire?” you’re jumping into solution mode.

Supposing instead you said, “I’d like you to consider how to optimize the experience of being in this room.” Now you’re challenging someone to think about what to do, and empowering them to come up with their own solutions. Your team might find the answers from the get-go, and you might need to tell them so. That’s okay, as long as you give them the space to be creators and problem solvers, not just doers.

5) Expect mistakes

Years ago, I was working with a leader from Toyota. He was talking about a discussion he’d had with a visitor from Ford, “I told him we have a system when employees notice a problem, they stop the line. We had 47 stops last month.” The Ford leader was impressed with the Andon process and adopted it right away. Then he came back a month later and proudly announced to my client, “We only had seven problems last month.”

My Toyota client explained that he’d missed the point. When you focus too much on avoiding mistakes, you’re actually blocking your creativity because you operate from the position of fear. You need to think of mistakes as a chance to fine-tune and improve the process. After all, creativity often comes from trial and error and you need to give your team the psychological space to do that.

Creativity doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. Often times, it requires trying different things before landing on something that works. Expect the same when it comes to your new hires. Be patient with the process, and you might just end up with something amazing.

[“source=medicalnewstoday]

Mobile apps may or may not be collecting your child’s data—but here’s why you should assume they are

This week two democratic senators are calling on federal regulators to investigate if children’s apps are tracking their data.

Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter on Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission, writing they are concerned that numerous apps are potentially violating the law.

Without explicit parental consent, it is illegal to collect data on children under the age of 13 according to the Children Online Privacy Protection Act, which went into effect in 2000.

This comes after last month when the New Mexico Attorney Generalsued the maker of app Fun Kid Racing, as well as the online ad businesses run by Google, Twitter and three other companies.

The suit accused the companies of violating the law, and that Google misled parents by allowing apps to remain in its Google Play store children’s section after it was notified by researchers that thousands of apps may be tracking young children.

“The problem is this – we don’t know where the onus lies,” New York Times reporter Edmund Lee told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview.

Lee says the law isn’t clear on whether it should be the platform such as Google or Apple to make sure the apps in their stores are complying with the law, whether it’s up to the game developer or if it should be up to the third party data firm tracking the data.

“So there’s a whole system in place that everyone keeps passing the buck and there’s no case law yet,” says Lee. “Even the legislation – it’s not entirely clear who is ultimately responsible.”

Fortnite

So what should a parent do if they are concerned their child is being tracked?

Lee says, “You should just assume it’s going to happen you should assume you’re going to be tracked.”

“Right now it’s the ‘Wild West’ there are very few protections, few sort of places of enforcement around it, and that’s why it’s hard as a parent and as a kid to navigate,” he added.

However, Lee notes most of these are harmless games, and the tracking data is used for advertising purposes, which is how these companies make money.

For parents worried about their child’s privacy – Lee says he tells his own daughter to keep her communication online only with people she knows.

“You’re not going to be able to look and know every single piece of data that’s being floated out there until there’s legislation and case law in place. But in the meantime make sure you know who your kid is talking to and it shouldn’t be strangers and it shouldn’t be someone they just met online.”

[“source=businessinsider”]