Productivity vs creativity and the creative’s problem
We need to get things done. And there was a point in my life 2 years ago when the book, Getting Things Done literally saved my life.
I want to break down the 5 pillars of productivity in preparation for a seminar I’m given on this on Sunday at The River Church. (If you’re in the neighbourhood, you are welcome to come – 2:30pm this Sunday.)
Before we begin: productivity vs creativity and the creative’s problem
Ahead of discussing the 5 pillars, I want to make an observation on the problem that we are trying to solve. Most of us have too much on our plate. We are inundated with ‘stuff’ and struggle on a daily, weekly and yearly basis with getting the things done that we need to and/or want to.
Of course, in the end, most stuff comes about right. But I wonder whether we reach anywhere near the potential that we could if we were more organised.
Further more, whilst everything might be alright in the end, the stress levels that we are living at with the weight of responsibility that most of us have crushes and paralyzes us. So whilst we might get to the end of the year with the stuff done that we needed to, it is with the price of exhaustion and the neutering of our creativity.
Yesterday Esko Kilpi challenged me that we should not use the word productivity for humans, but rather the word creativity. My good friend Robin Dickinson also talks about developing a strong NO and not filling out time with so much that we aren’t focussed on the present. Both of them would say that productivity – trying to squeeze more and more out of your day – is a foolish and inhuman pursuit and we should rather seek to have creative whitespace in our days.
Whilst I certainly don’t fall into the other side of the ditch – working 18 hours a day is not working smart – I am working in an environment where I have a lot to do and oversee and my days are on the fuller side as opposed to the free side.
Furthermore, anyone who is ‘creative’ knows that creativity requires discipline. And productivity requires creativity. The two are intrinsically linked and I wonder if it isn’t just a semantic game playing them off against each other.
The 3 values of this balanced life
Thus my premise for productivity, revolves around some core values that are a healthy balance of creativity but also reality:
- Integrity. That you become a reliable person, to others and to yourself, and that you do what you say you will do.
- Efficiently effective. That you become efficient, giving the time to tasks that they require in order to give you time for creativity, and that your creativity and thinking time is effective. This also denotes control and mastery of what of you do.
- Healthy. That you have balance between work and play (not just work, not just play), between enjoying rights and managing responsibilities, and that you enjoy a clear mind. This is freedom.
I think that whether we call it productivity or creativity, these three are good qualities that span all spectrums.