Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Best of 2013: Top Tips, Insights, and Tricks

In 2013, you learned about egos, built the (scientifically) perfect workspace, and educated your clients. You might’ve even learned how to build habits that stick, dress the part, and avoid creativity killers. Just in case you missed any of our top posts from this year, we rounded up our most popular and shared articles, videos, and tweets. 2014 is just around the bend; here’s what you need to start it off full-tilt.

1.)  The Smart Creative’s Guide to Dressing for Work 


Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think.

There is a large amount of evidence showing the profound effect clothing has on our thinking style, how we feel, and on the way others perceive us. Use clothing and props to improve your work performance.


2.)  The 5 Most Dangerous Creativity Killers 


The “what the hell!” effect and other ways we can short circuit our creativity.

When it comes to doing creative work, it’s important to not only look for ways to let our creativity thrive, but to also be mindful of insidious “creativity killers” that can sneak up and strangle our ability to come up with our best ideas. 


3.)  The Key to Getting Motivated: Give Up 


Motivation advice for people who can’t stand positive thinking. 

Trying to “get motivated” can often make matters worse. The real problem isn’t that you don’t feel like taking action. Rather, it’s the underlying assumption that you need to feel like taking action before you can act.


4.)  Get Over Yourself: How Your Ego Sabotages Your Creativity 


An inflated ego can surface in the most subtle ways. Know the difference between confidence and arrogance so you can do your best creative work.

When many people hear the word “ego,” they immediately think of the know-it-all manager charging into the room and insisting that everyone bend their life and work around his every whim. This is certainly one exhibition of ego, but there are less obvious types that we must be careful to avoid if we want to do our best creative work consistently.

5.)  7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity 


How love fuels creativity and 6 other ways to free your mind to do its best work.

Creativity can seem innate, but like many things, it is actually a delicate balance of nature and nurture. In other words, creative thinking can be enhanced by external forces, and isn’t necessarily reliant on “good genes” or natural ability.

6.)  Understanding How to Frame Your Creative Expertise 


You don’t need to be all-knowing to make a meaningful contribution to your team.

You are likely one of these four types of expert, when it comes to the work you most want to do. As you read, identify which type (or types) of expertise you could bring to the projects you are currently pursuing as well as those that you want to pursue.

7.)  The Perfect Workspace (According to Science) 


When it comes to building your workspace you can aim for the trendy look and flick through some interior design mags, or you can let science guide the way.

The spaces we occupy shape who we are and how we behave. This has serious consequences for our psychological well-being and creative performance. Given that many of us spend years working in the same room, or even at the same desk, it makes sense to organize and optimize that space in the most beneficial ways possible.

8.)  9 Facts Every Creative Needs to Know About Collaborative Teams 


The mere presence of other people can boost your performance, and 8 other research-backed findings about collaboration and teamwork.

The most productive creative teams are those that strike the perfect balance between “exploration” and “engagement” – sourcing new ideas from outside the team and integrating ideas within the team.

9.)  Amateurs Get Angry with Clients. Professionals Educate Them. 


You can’t pick your family, but you can certainly pick your clients. With a little bit of work up front you can get the clients — and work — that you love. 

The truth is, we deserve the clients we get. Bad clients aren’t the result of some cosmic force working against us, they’re more likely the result of our own actions.

10.) 5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick 

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Eliminate “ah-screw-its” and other ways to make that new habit last for the long haul.

In our day-to-day lives, habits can often be tough to build, as there are plenty of distractions that can lead us off the “straight and narrow” and right back to our old ways. To alleviate some of those troubles we can examine some academic research on motivation, discipline, and habit building, and break down their findings into actionable steps that any aspiring habit-builder can put into place. 


The Most Popular Videos:

Rilla Alexander: Without the Doing, Dreaming is Useless


Keith Yamashita: The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams 


Brené Brown: Why Your Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count


Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last


Jane ni Dhulchaointigh: The Magic is in the Process


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Sasha VanHoven

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Sasha is the Associate Editor of 99U. You can watch her tweet here.
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