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Productivity & Creativity

Putting these two words together may at the outset appear to be a contradiction, as the word productivity conjures up images of the rigidity and inflexibility of schedules, and the blandness of routines and procedures.

Some would be of the thinking that creativity will flow only when the boundaries and restrictions of everyday life are eliminated from the equation. That only a mind free from plans, schedules, worries and thoughts can produce inspiration, beauty and truth.

But without the boundaries set by efficient plans and structures can creativity flourish? My belief is that productivity is a boon to creativity. I believe that even if you live on Paradise island and can wander the beaches from morning to evening looking for inspiration, your shelter, food and water needs to be organized before the creative juices will flow.

We can liken it to Maslow’s theory of motivation, only when the lower levels of motivation are satisfied can self actualization occur. If you go out in search of personal fulfillment then you better be sure the food is in the cupboard and the rent has been paid before you start.

In simple terms, we need to get the stuff done first before we sit down and allow creativity to come. The ironic thing is that if you look up the word Productive in an English Thesaurus the first result is Creative!

Here is my view on what needs to be done for creativity to flow

Clear the clutter

Clear your desk, your house, your office, your shed and your mind of all that does not need to be there. Organization Expert Barbara Hemphill describes clutter as postponed decisions. A lot of the time we collect clutter because we either don’t know what to do with it, or we have nowhere to put it. Throw out what you haven’t used recently and eliminate everything else in your life that is not necessary. In short; Simplify. There are hundreds of tasks we busy ourselves with daily that ultimately are unnecessary or superfluous to our happiness or success.

Do a mind dump

Make a list of all the things that you need to do, all the things that usually float around in your head. This list can include anything from a project in work to an idea for a birthday gift. Write it all down; get it out of your head and to the next step into a system.

Implement a system

I use GTD (Getting Things Done), regardless of whether you use a workflow system or not just make sure everything is in your calendar or diary and task list. Schedule anything that needs to be done and make sure everything else is in your task/to do list.

Meditate

Meditation helps to relax the mind and stop the chatter of must, should and could. It helps us to be present, It assists us to focus and be fruitful, meditation promotes mental alertness and clarity of mind.

And lastly my number one productivity tip

Get up early

Getting up early not only gives us the extra time we may need in the day to get things done. Rising early and organizing the day can help you to feel calm, more in control at the same time reducing the stress caused by having too much to do and having too little time.

So my advice is to get it done, then go and blow their minds with your creativity. Do you think productivity stifles creativity or do you agree that it necessary to clear the space for creativity by getting things done first?

Would love to hear what you think.

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2 Responses to “Productivity & Creativity”

  1. Hi Ciara. I really like your post and I agree with what you are saying. I implemented GTD myself about a year ago and I haven’t looked back. Of course I am always perfecting the application, but I have found that GTD has given me the opportunity to find time to be creative by simply staying on top of all the commitments I’ve made and getting the things I need to do, out of my head.

    Thanks for the great content.

  2. Ciara says:

    Thanks Frank, Yes it’s amazing how powerful the mind dump can be, but the trick is having the system to look after everything once it is out of your head! What I love about GTD is that there is a place for everything and it works for everyone, you don’t have start tweaking and looking for extra solutions or systems.
    Thanks for your input and have a great day

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