and how to strike one to achieve your goals.
Let’s face it, we all have great ideas, whether they dawn on us under a shower, while driving or simply pretending to listen to a colleague at work while mind wanders away (please tell me that is not only me…). Then, depending on our judgement, we action it in some way (even if it is just to note it down) or let it slip (one should, really, note every single one down). That is, however, not where the creativity part finishes and productivity begins. When we decide to go ahead with the idea in question, it is crucial that we strike the balance between creativity and productivity to get to the finish line.
At first it may seem that creativity and productivity are complete opposites of each other. Where productivity relies heavily on discipline, schedules, deadlines and in some way might resemble a gelled hair white collar worker, creativity is the messy French painter who have not showered in days and misplaced his glasses somewhere between the laundry and stack with old canvases. The two ends, however opposite, belong to the same stick. Something that in philosophy is often referred to as Unity of Opposites and what we can notice in our daily lives, too. In the same way that we cannot experience light without darkness, there cannot be an inside of the box without existence of the outside there cannot be productivity without creative input or creativity without production to make the idea happen.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
Imagine a person who is hundred percent creativity, bursting with innovative ideas like the sewage pipe in the Shawshank Redemption (if you haven’t read the book then please do) and barely keeping up with his own thinking process. I can only think of a very static person without any action being taken to bring any of the ideas to life. No. Good.
Now think of a person who is all about being productive. Without creative input being there first there isn’t really a direction to move towards to. What good is all that productivity when it leads to nowhere? A hyped up Duracell Bunny on a Nascar track… No. Good. Either.
It is sort of like a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other. Balance will keep them both happy and will get you best results.
So how would one keep the balance between creativity and productivity? There’s few things that could keep you on the right track.
While noting down an idea, note few actionable steps as well, something that can maybe happen the same day. Once you’ve got that, work out a one week plan that will include the timeline required for the entire project. Tip: leave room for some idea brainstorming each week (like one hour every Monday).
Make room for changes. You see, the best thing about plans (yes, best) is that they change. It is up to you whether they will change for the better but after you get started on something you will realise that certain things will need amendments and won’t happen as originally planned. That’s a good thing, that is where the creativity part comes along again and a sign that you are not solely relying on your productive part.
Make it a collaboration. Or if it is a one person project, tell you friends about it and make commitment to them. We used to do that with Marcin. Every day we would list two things that we intended to do that day to bring us closer to our goal and report on it the next day. That is the productivity part that will keep you in check to commit to your goals.