mnmlist: the creativity of constraints

On this site, I embrace a 400-word limit (unless it doesn’t make sense). It forces me to be concise, to focus on smaller topics, to choose the important, to be creative.

Yes: constraints force us to be creative.

Often, constraints, limitations, are seen as a negative, but to me they’re a feature. They might restrict freedom and force sacrifices, sure, but they also force us to choose. And to work within and around the constraints.

When we must work within limits, we have to figure out how to make those work. This forces us to think outside our normal mode of thinking, to think of new ways to make things work.


  • When we have a small home, we must find new ways of living within that small space, instead of being lazy and doing whatever we want with lots of space.
  • When we must use fewer words, we must choose them wisely, instead of spilling them out carelessly.
  • When we eat fewer calories, we must choose more nutritious and yet tasteful foods, to make them count.
  • When we have less storage space, we must choose only the most important things, and make do with less.
  • When we limit ourselves to four sentences per email, we must say the essential, creatively.

I could go on all day, but that would be contrary to my point. What constraints can you place on yourself, and how can you work creatively with them?