Finding time to create # 1: Why it matters

Stopwatch
Image by wwarby via Flickr

You want to increase the impact of your work but it’s almost impossible most of the time to raise your game. You believe you should be more creative in your work but can’t find the time to sit down and think. You must start a new project but you don’t want to outline your thoughts at your desk because it just doesn’t feel creative. You try to find the time to get started but you just can’t.

What’s going on here? What’s preventing you from being more creative in your work? Do you need to be more disciplined? Is it because you haven’t established a routine and you are all over the place? Could it be a psychological block? Is it really about not having time?

It’s got harder to find the time to be creative because of the growing number of distractions in the workplace. Some studies say we get interrupted at work every eight minutes. Distractions make it much harder to focus and concentrate on important work, the work you get recognised and rewarded for and which gives you the greatest satisfaction. It’s a lot easier to turn to lighter tasks and amusements. No matter how much you convince yourself that social media will be significant in the future, your important work remains the core of your value to yourself and the marketplace.

So where do we look? Time management. This could be the panacea we’ve been looking for. But wait. We remember all those times we tried time management programmes and what happened? We found that it’s almost impossible to control our time despite keeping detailed time-planners when so many other things demand our attention – e-mails, follow-up work on projects, proposals, projects, people calling us on our landlines and then on our cell phones when our landlines are engaged, sms’s, BlackBerry messages and even tweets to get our attention. Do we really control our time or do interruptions control us?

We know we are smart – we can get a grip on this time thing and take charge of our lives. Our next search takes us into the whole personal qualities trap. We are out of control because we need more self-discipline. We’ll work ourselves out of our trap with better personal qualities. Soon we begin to realise that self-discipline is not enough. The onslaught of distractions, the demands, the deadlines, keep coming. We begin to feel overwhelmed. There must be a better way, we say to ourselves.

If you doubt the need for creativity just consider the challenges of modern living and working. Creative thinking is required more than ever in the past. Economic decline and stagnation means the need for better products and services, more cost-effective marketing with better results. Natural resources under threat requires new thinking for cars, homes, architectural design, consumer appliances and industrial processes. Sustainable products need to be made with less and be functionally superior. Design becomes far more important in a marketplace with many similar products vying for attention. Media and entertainment requires innovation to new forms of pleasurable distraction such as computer games, social media, downloading music, podcasts and videos.

In the next blog post, part of a series on “The secret to finding time to create”, we will further explore what prevents us from making the creative process part of our personal and work lives.

Idea prompt

Below are some questions that may help you to understand better your existing beliefs, processes and habits. Think through the questions that intrigue you and write down the answer to the question that most affects your life right now:

  • What associations do you have with being creative? Does the word “creative” disturb you?
  • What does being creative mean to you – wild thoughts and ideas or coming up with something fresh and amazing that can be put to use?
  • How important is it to you to be more creative in your personal and business life?
  • Where and when do you come up with your best ideas?
  • Where could you benefit most from being creative in your personal and professional life?
  • How well do you control distractions?
  • What controls your time?
Related articles

Creative Distractions (lisarivero.com)

The Prisoner’s Dilemma: The Key to Creativity (blogs.forbes.com)

How to Lose Yourself in Your Writing (lisarivero.com)

Successful time management. (xemion.com)

4 Creative ways to Start Your Day (leadershipfreak.wordpress.com)

How To Enhance Creativity Part 2: Unlocking The Secrets Of The Unconscious (entrepreneurs-journey.com)

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