In my experience, it’s much more likely that corporate executives would describe themselves as “productive” than “creative.” While I firmly believe that we are all creative, this article is going to take a slightly different tack. Instead of thinking of productivity and creativity as being at odds, let’s consider the likelihood that as an executive, you can leverage your well-developed productive abilities to rekindle your innate creativity. To that end, I’ve thought of three (there are many more) ways that productivity makes creativity easier.
1. Discipline Enables Creativity
One of the hallmark characteristics of productive people is their iron-clad discipline. It takes discipline to keep the machinery of business moving in the right direction. What you might not have considered however is that creativity requires an equal amount of discipline. Enhancing your creative ability takes focus and the will to bring attention and intention to whatever creative endeavor you choose to undertake. Inspiration, for example, is not something that working creatives can afford to wait for but, rather, something that they actively pursue. On top of that, when exploring your creativity feels daunting, it’s your discipline that prevents you from walking away or giving up. The conscious pursuit of creativity and creative ideas is a direct function of applying your discipline.
2. Organization Makes Room For Creativity
The image of the stereotypical creative is someone surrounded by chaos and disorder from which their amazing new ideas and products arise. However, while creativity does make room for chaos, creatives need to make room for creativity. There is only one way I know to have a meaningful creative practice and that involves making room both physically and emotionally for creativity to happen. This takes organization. Given that organization is one of the cornerstones of productivity, why not use that organizational ability to carve out time and an actual space for creativity. Then, within that safe space, be a little brave and allow chaos and disorder to roam free for a little while.
3. Consistency Sharpens Creativity
Not only does it take discipline and organization to nurture creativity, it also takes consistency. This is yet another natural skill for most productive types. Being creative isn’t a one-off dramatic event, it’s the cumulative effect of dozens or even hundreds of small creative efforts that when combined over time can have dramatic results. By introducing a 5-minute “haiku writing break” into your day, every day, you’ll have amassed three hundred and sixty-five poems by the end of a year. This is only one example of countless ways to tap into your creativity consistently which, in time, will strengthen your creative muscles much more than taking a full day to “be creative” which, incidentally, rarely works.
Discipline, organization and consistency are qualities that successful productive people have in abundance. By simply applying those well-developed productivity skills to your creative practice, you’ll find that creativity does, indeed, become easier.
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