Are you obsessed by “productivity?”
I think I might be.
To me, productivity is not about being a workaholic. It is about getting the most out of every second of every minute in the day. That way I can get my work done more quickly and have time for fun (as I wonder if I will ever see a live baseball game again).
Many of us want to be as productive as we can. But we also want to be creative, right? A recent article* in Harvard Business Review shows us that a “productivity” mindset can be the enemy of creativity. Here’s how.
The “go-go” mindset of productivity is the opposite of what we need in order to be creative – unstructured, unfocused, free time. If we want to be creative then this makes the case for actually scheduling in free time a various points in our schedules each week.
It also makes a case for vacations – for example, Lin Manuel Miranda got his idea for the musical, Hamilton, while on vacation on a beach in Mexico.
And for regular workouts – many of us can think of times that ideas came to us while on a long run; or in the shower afterwards! Exercise is good for our health and our creativity.
Creativity does not come when it is forced, which is why it is good to schedule multiple brainstorming times with your team when looking for a creative breakthrough.
Using these insights, we can have both our productivity and our creativity so long as we schedule our time appropriately for both – set scheduled time for our to do lists and unstructured time for our imaginations to freely explore. In this way we can maximize our overall performance and Mission Impact.
*Daisly, B. “Don’t Let Your Obsessions With Productivity Kill Your Creativity,” Harvard Business Review online, March 10, 2020.