Can productivity management techniques still be conducive to creative work?

At first glance, it can appear that the rules and routines of productivity management are simply not conducive to innovative work, but actually they are. You can accomplish more in less time if the job is well-organized. If you make several to-do lists, for instance, but never arrange the tasks properly, you will end up overwhelmed: just imagine how you will feel when faced with a desk plastered with different types and files.

You’ll do whatever non-essential tasks you can, such as responding to unimportant emails, just to get away from that desk, but these will just eat away at your time and energy, eventually making you less productive. However, you would not feel frustrated simply by arranging your job into a structure that places all your to-do activities in one location where you can keep track of them. Instead, without having to escape by doing other, less important things, you’ll feel in charge and willing to devote time to each task. Also, the more structured you are, the more imaginative you will have to be with the more time and psychic RAM available.

Creative work takes a lot of time, like any other work. So you’ll have less chances for creativity if your time is lost because of stressful working habits. Such bad habits often contribute to the filling up of non-essential knowledge in your psychic RAM, leaving no mental room for imagination. You can quickly complete certain tasks that you’re sure won’t take longer than two minutes to escape these obstacles. Doing this frees your mind and encourages you to spend time on items of greater value.

Getting organized can be highly helpful, as we’ve seen. It can, however, be counterproductive to handle each aspect of your life down to the smallest detail. While it’s definitely important to be coordinated, it’s also essential that you stay versatile. Why?

Firstly, instead of increasing your productivity, all the resources and time you need for the actual job will be absorbed by an unnecessarily elaborate method. When you concentrate on getting organized, you do not concentrate on the very job that such an organization is supposed to serve. Imagine, for example, that you want to become more active and balanced and so create a very thorough strategy to fit into your tight schedule a certain number of running and strength-building exercises.

If your system relies on meticulously tracking your heart rate and muscle mass increases, you can end up spending more time than exercising on updating and maintaining that training plan. Secondly, it can make you inflexible and hinder your imagination by attempting to tightly regulate and handle every aspect of your work and life. You will not be able to grab a great opportunity if your management structure is too comprehensive and rigid. For example, just because you have committed to a schedule that has no built-in flexibility to respond to unforeseen events, you could end up turning down an invitation to a conference that would be highly advantageous for your career.

Also, a rigid structure could destroy your creativity. For example, the practicalities of their work are arranged very strictly by some fiction authors. The consequence is that all their novels essentially conform to the same plot, with the only distinction being the character and setting details-for example, maybe one novel is set in Paris while the other is set in Prague.

Imagine an English teacher who has developed many fascinating characters for an intriguing story and has a brilliant idea. The act of translating these ideas into a book, however, seems much too ambitious a project, considering that there is just too little time: too many lessons to prepare, students to teach, and tasks to correct. A familiar sound?

There’s literally no time slot big enough in our regular schedules to support a big project. Writing the novel, for example, would take a tremendous amount of time, and there are several vital duties that must be tackled immediately during the regular workday of our teacher, such as answering parents’ phone calls, supervising students, and, of course, teaching classes. There will definitely not be enough time to compose the next Great American Novel, however several tiny moments of free time occur in the day between those activities and after the working day is over.

So how can anyone like our instructor accomplish their objective? The response is that it is easy to slot single “action steps” against the long-term objective into one’s schedule. Our English teacher might split her novel project down into action steps to get started, such as choosing a title, building a rough structure, or even writing only one page a day. – of these steps would take just a very short period of time, compared to attempting to tackle the entire project at once.

Our teacher will find that, suddenly, the work of writing her book blends snugly into the slivers of free time she has between teaching, grading and lesson planning, until she organizes her project and her time into manageable steps. And, finally, completing both of those manageable tasks will result in our teacher completing her magnum opus’ first draft!

A team should hopefully be much more effective than a group of independent workers. Teams often struggle to work productively, however. That is when it might help to be on the lookout for issues with communication. This is because fluent, reliable communication is essential to productive teamwork: in order to coordinate its activities effectively, a team must exchange information effectively. For example, team members should keep each other informed about when they’ll be able to complete their assigned tasks so that the team can plan ahead and distribute new assignments.

The working speed for the whole team can be slowed down if one or more team members do not interact efficiently. For example, if someone who works on an advertising campaign desperately needs his colleague’s information about the musical tastes of the customer to reach the agreed deadline, but it takes several days for his colleague to respond to his emails, the lack of contact would mean that the team is not working as productive as possible.

For such a squad, one remedy is to train participants in their individual roles of communication. Often, the detection of communication concerns in a team involves simply looking at each member’s email inboxes. This suggests that some representatives are attempting to make themselves heard because several emails are labeled “urgent” or “high priority.” This is typically a reaction to not getting a response within an appropriate period for their emails.

The best way to solve this issue is to make it clear to and member of the team how important the team as a whole is to have clear and timely contact. They should be made to recognize the importance of exchanging knowledge on when a certain task can be completed, or even if it can be performed at all. Then you have to plan yourself if you want to be more creative and effective in your personal or professional life. This includes the use of strategies to free up your “psychic RAM” and the creation of mental versatility to transfer your attention efficiently to whatever it is necessary at any given time.

And here are two tips. Put someone in charge in order to get things done in a team. In a team, no one person can feel like they are in charge if the responsibility for a project is spread evenly among team members. As a consequence, nothing can get done, at least not on schedule. But if you ensure that one team member is kept accountable for the outcome of the entire team, the likelihood of completing significant tasks will increase significantly.

Next, be structured but versatile. Don’t try to tackle every little part of your career, because it’s not going to make you more effective. Instead, so much of your precious time and energy, resources that are best available elsewhere, would be consumed. You do have to have an operational plan, of course, but it should be versatile at the same time.

Check out my related post: Is creativity messy?

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