Your computer can support both sides of this equation. It can be a solitary meditation room, an artist's garret, a silent retreat or even the red carpet entrance to the party of your dreams—where your best friend, favorite musician and newfound mentor gather to offer help and cheer you on.

Here are some of the ways you can plug into inspiration on your solitary desktop or on the social Web:

Create an Inspiration Playlist
Use iTunes or your favorite MP3 manager to create a playlist of songs that inspire you. Since I'm a big Broadway nerd (yes, in addition to being a tech nerd), my playlist is full of my favorite inspiring show tunes like "No One Is Alone" (Into the Woods) and "What I Did for Love" (A Chorus Line). I listen to it when I'm working on a creative project, going for a run or just need a boost. Burn your playlist to a CD so you can have copies in your car and at work: Nobody needs to know that you wrote that terrific report while listening to "Wind Beneath My Wings."

Create an Inspiration Feed
As fascinating as it is to read about the Fruit Loops my best friend is eating for breakfast, sometimes I want a little more fiber in my Facebook or Twitter feeds. So I've created a group of people to follow on Twitter strictly for their inspiration value. It includes the latest tweets from the likes of David Badash (a prolific, funny and thoughtful gay rights activist and writer), Tricycle magazine (a Buddhist publication) and Angela Raincatcher (an artist). I peek at the latest tweets from my "inspire" group throughout the day; these words of inspiration are a great counterweight to the gossip and links that otherwise overwhelm my online experience. You can do the same thing on Facebook by creating a list of your most inspiring friends and clicking on the name of that list when you're viewing your Facebook homepage.

Inspire Your Password
Using your dog's birthday as your email password may help you remember to pick up an extra juicy soup bone when the big day rolls around, but it's not doing anything for your inspiration-starved soul. Take those passwords you punch in day after day after day—your email password, your Facebook log-in, even your bank PIN—and turn them into pick-me-ups. Try a password like B3Y0urs3lf or JustD01t or Trust1nU, mixing letters with numbers (4 for A, zero instead of O, 1 instead of L or I) for extra security.

3 more ways to turn distraction into inspiration


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