On the surface, when we talk about creativity and productivity it would seem these two practices are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Business leaders are constantly striving for increased productivity as this keeps the wheels of industry turning. Creativity is seen as the spark of a new idea or concept whereas productivity is more the day-to-day execution of processes to keep your business flourishing. Can they co-exist and work simultaneously? The answer is yes. Channelling creativity to positively impact productivity is both constructive and complementary to achieving your personal and professional goals.
Allow yourself to get lost in your thoughts
As children, we were chastised for daydreaming at school, and it may have conditioned us to believe that allowing our minds to wander was a waste of time. Whilst it’s true that some tasks require complete focus and attention to detail, it is equally important for critical thinking to take place, to allow thoughts and ideas to freely flow through your mind. In this way, you are most likely to discover a solution to a problem, think of a new strategy or concept or tap into that creative process to elevate your business.
Going for a walk, starting your day with meditation, or taking up more rigorous exercise are all excellent ways to zone into creative thinking. By distancing yourself from your office or laptop you’re creating mental space for that new spark to ignite, and form into something tangible. The very act of taking a mental break from the larger task at hand can be hugely beneficial in increasing output and achieving the desired outcome.
Foster creative tendencies
Being creative in small ways can lead to greater creativity. Simple techniques such as mind-maps or making notes in different colour pens can boost productivity by visually clarifying different areas and streamlining processes.
In addition, creativity has the added benefit of alleviating stress. A small amount of stress can be motivating and great for immediate results, as the adrenalin surges through our bodies and the fight or flight reflex kicks in, forcing us into action. Over the long term, however, stress can take a toll on our overall wellbeing and even dampen creativity. By adopting creative techniques, you’re investing in your future self and allowing for a time out. In short, those individuals whose focus is mainly on business with typical right–brain behaviours can benefit the most from adopting left-brain exercises.
Similarly, flexibility towards your employees builds confidence which in turn allows for innovation. No one wants to feel like another cog in the wheel, voiceless and without value. By being open to suggestions and ideas you’re letting your employees know you value their input and this, in turn, generates an emotional buy-in from them to be motivated and align with your business. This would further support creativity as a useful tool in engaging productivity.
Google is a prime example of this. Permitting their engineers to factor in 20% of their working week on projects that interest them, allows them the opportunity to tap into their unique talents which is hugely beneficial for morale and innovation.
So how can you get more creative when there’s just so much to do?
It’s all good and well to be told to just think outside of the box, go for a walk and clear your head, or take up yoga. Creativity isn’t as simple as an on/off switch. The reality is that for many people, there just isn’t enough time in the day to get through their to-do list, never mind embarking on a creative thinking exercise. Creative thinking is often seen as a luxury, and until it is more widely accepted, it will need to become an intentional exercise where it adds commercial value, just as a financial audit does, to clarify the current health of your business.
Outsourcing is just one worthwhile way to accommodate that need for creative thinking. Often with a wide range of skills at their disposal, virtual assistants offer diverse business solutions for any business leader to utilise. Two, or more minds are better than one, and tapping into that resource is money well spent. The cost–benefit of a virtual assistant compared to a traditional office–based assistant is significant. You aren’t covering their equipment, additional office space and other sundry expenses for example. Furthermore, as businesses have evolved remote working has become the norm.
You can discover a wealth of human resources at your fingertips at AVirtual and welcome the rewards that the additional creativity will add to your business and positively impact productivity.