What initially caught my attention with this book was the introductory premise. Whether we tend to see ourselves as ‘traditional creatives’ eg designers, writers, artists or ‘non traditional creatives’ eg managers, strategists, consultants etc., both are facing an evermore demanding expectation from their workplaces to ‘turn it on’ and as Todd Henry puts it ‘be brilliant’ at a moments notice.
So as time pressures mount, and we are being asked to problem solve quickly , what tends to happen is that patterns that have worked so far, start not to work.
I think many of us can relate to this, sometimes we say we’re blocked or for many I’ve worked with, we just tired and don’t seem to be able to come up with novel ideas. So that was enough for me to want to read more and while this book was first published in 2011, the models and strategies presented still have resonance.
Primarily Henry writes about noticing your practices and realigning these into a creative rhythm. The checkpoints are
- Focus- zeroing on what’s critical;
- Relationships- working together in teams and families;
- Energy-exploring how our energy levels affect our ability to be creative;
- Stimuli-noticing where you get your inputs from and how to stay curious, and finally
- Hours- not just common-sense time management, but making time for ‘unnecessary creating’ and for creativity inducing practices.
He ends with a phase that ended up becoming the title of another book “… don’t go to the grave with your best work still inside you. Die empty.”
I’m a big advocate of using your days effectively and efficiency. This is not about working harder, its about being creative on the things that matter and being focussed to enable more time, energy and strategies to do this.