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James Altucher


My 10 Tips on Maintaining a Streak

Responding to a challenge about this. And I think the challenge was created, in part, because I am thinking of giving a "write a book in 30 days" course (see idea list about this) and that I would offer discounts to those who have 100 day idea list streaks. That said, maybe I'll just change that to "number of idea lists".

BUT...the value in maintaining an idea list streak is that it forms a habit. It tells your brain, "Every day I am going to be creative. SO BE READY!"

It's like "The Honda Effect." After you buy a Honda, you start seeing more Hondas on the road. When you start writing ideas down every day, you start seeing ideas everywhere you look. And ideas are the DNA of making money, writing books, forming relationships, mastering a passion, and so much else.

    1. First off, some technical notes on idea streaks on NotePD

    Let's say you did an idea list yesterday (and you now have a streak of 1 day) and then the next day you forget and it's 12:01 am. Is it too late?


    There's a six hour grace period and we are changing that to a 12 hour grace period.

    NotePD also recognizes what time zone you are in so adjusts accordingly.

    2. An Idea List does not have to be labeled as "Public" for you to continue your streak.

    It can be "Unlisted" - which means it's not on the feed but anyone with the URL can see it.

    It can be "Private" which means it can only be seen by you and any collaborators you put on the list.

    3. Why do Private vs Public lists

    Maybe you are making ideas for a friend. Or ideas for your current business. And you don't want it searchable or everyone to see it.

    Or you are making your "People I am grateful for " list and for whatever reason it's personal. Or maybe with your Public idea lists you have a different standard of quality and you just want to make a quick idea list without a million people reading it - then make a Private list.

    I did a Private list yesterday which was a list of ideas for a friend of mine who is a Twitch streamer and I came up with ideas that I think would make his stream more popular.

    4. Learning Idea Lists

    An idea list doesn't always have to be 10 Ideas for XYZ Business. Or 10 Ideas for Inventions. Or 10 Ideas for Books I can write.

    You can also do, as many here have done, "10 things I learned from ABC Book" or "10 things I learned from HJK podcast", etc.

    5. Sharing Knowledge Lists

    I always refer to @younes' list on different Japanese philosophical concepts that help with self-mastery.

    Why is this an "idea list"? Because when you share knowledge then:

    A) other people can have "idea sex" with that knowledge? e.g. What happens when you combine Stoicism with the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai?

    B) In order to explain something well, you have to understand it well - so an idea list where you explain some interesting knowledge forces you to understand well these concepts. And the process of writing it out may lead to later ideas.


    6. "How To" lists

    This is similar to number five but is a "how to". For instance, the most recent list posted is

    "10 ways to handle emotions better."

    These are great idea lists because the process of coming up with these lists may lead you to developing new steps and nuances that you haven't thought of before.

    Another great example of this is @paolo 's idea list about how he made the "AI Cookbook" using NotePD.

    Here's an idea list I wrote on "Basic Concepts in Poker". I wrote that idea list because I was going to play in a poker tournament the next day (I came in third) and I wanted to remind myself of these concepts.

    7. Idea Lists used to make a book or a course

    I currently have two books that I am writing via NotePD.

    Sometimes I make them public lists and sometimes private.

    But basically, what is a book? It's a list of chapters.

    What's a chapter? It's a list of stories, examples, and explanations.

    What's a story? It's a list of events.

    Here is an example of a chapter on Meta-Thinking I am writing for "My 60 Memorable Losses".

    And here is an idea list describing the course I am thinking of doing on writing a book in 30 days..

    8. Of course, "10 ideas for Google" or

    "10 ideas for NotePD" or "10 book ideas" are always great ways to exercise the idea muscle.

    9. Pure Creative Lists

    I am always impressed by the creativity I see on the site.

    Here is @sqadir 's "10 Mysteries I'd Like to See Solved".

    Katie's @Skwiglez "Random Dates in History"

    @randomroger 's "Lists of Lists with the theme of orthogonality"

    And many many more.

    In fact, I've been blown away by the creativity on the site. It's really inspired me to be more creative in my own lists.


    10. Responses to Challenges

    I find it's often easier making an idea list that is a response to a challenge, which is another thing that surprised me about the site. That I enjoy responding to challenges. I've been writing idea lists for 20 years now. This month, in fact, in 2002.

    When it was just me and my waiter's pad there were no challenges. But now I love them.

    Here's @sheeraz 's "What Premium Idea Lists Would You Like on NotePD?"

    And @BillBergeman 's list of "10 Side Topics That Interest Me".

    11. An idea list doesn't have to be 10 ideas

    Sometimes cut yourself a break. Write three ideas. Or use AI to fill in the rest of the ideas. Writing any ideas at all is better for "the idea muscle" than writing no ideas.

    12. I'm sure there are categories I didn't think of here.

    There are many ways to continue the idea list streak. And don't sweat it if you break the streak. But I will say that turning the streak into a habit has helped me so much I really try not to break it.

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