Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

Well by now a lot of you know, I am not a big fan of snow. I know God is a great artist and he has good reasons for snow, and it is very pretty but I much prefer when he works in his green palette. This year in this part of Pennsylvania, we had very little snow, as a matter of fact we had quite a few days in February where it was near 70 degrees. It was awesome, but now… this…

We are in blizzard conditions, the snow is falling horizontally and piling up in huge drifts. It’s pretty wild out there right now. It seems like we were on a snow diet all winter long and now as we near Spring it’s time for a “snow binge.” It reminded me of an important concept for all of us. The concept of moderation.

So often, in our creative lives we have ebbs and flows, times where we’re blocked and times where we can’t create enough and in both those times, moderation is a key. I have a feeling the reason we get blocked is because we burn out in the times of inspiration. The thing is neither of these things is good. Creative block can be mentally and Spiritually agonizing, but those times of creative excess can be times when we don’t do our best stuff because we just feel so busy. We need moderation.

It’s this simple, your body and mind need rest. There seems to be this “make hay while the sun shines mentality that comes with creative booms. We have to create when we have the inspiration because we’ve all been through those inspiration famines and as soon as I thought of that term, I got the solution. In the Bible during times of famine, there was usually one option, starve and hope you make it through to the next bumper crop, but then we hear from a guy names Joseph. God showed him a famine was coming and told him what to do, and as a result, he not only went from a slave, to the second most powerful person in the most powerful nation on earth at the time, but he also saved many lives including the lives of God’s chosen people. The answer was simple. Save up in times of plenty so that you have something for the times of famine.

When you are in those times if inspiration plenty, what if you saved up some of that inspiration for times when inspiration is lacking? It’s fairly easy to do. You just need a notebook, a sketchbook or some kind of electronic device to store the ideas. Then when the ideas are sparse, you just refer back to them and keep right on going. This is really just good stewardship and faithfulness. After all maybe the reason you’re blocked is because you haven’t followed through on something God gave you.

The bottom line is if we work in moderation, we’ll be healthier and more creative, doing better quality work and we’ll (at least theoretically) never run out of ideas. Well out to shove up some of this snow. There’s more coming, but I don’t want to have to move it all at once. See that, I’m practicing moderation.


Okay let mer be the first to admit, I’m lousy at sports and almost as bad at sports analogies, but there is something about being almost done. You’re running the bases, coming up on this base and you have a decision to make. Do you stop at third and play it safe or do you go for it? You know the fielder has picked up the ball and the throw is coming. Can you beat it? Can you make it all the way home? Do you have what it takes? Ah, there’s the real question and so I round a corner of my own right into the real topic of this post—finishing well.

If you’ve been a creative for any length of time, sooner or later you have had a project that was almost done. A few more words, a few more lines and it will be ready to ship it—that is to share it with the world. It’s at this point that the self doubts come in. Is it good enough? Are you good enough? Now there’s nothing wrong with editing, as a matter of fact, editing is crucial to the process, but there comes a point in every project where we have to call it done and send it out. Sometimes though, it feels like it is easier and safer to play it safe. To keep tweaking it and massaging it and putting off the inevitable, because that’s easier than the possibility of rejection.

Let’s go back to baseball. Hitting a triple is a wonderful thing. It’s not easy and a lot of factors have to fall into place to make it all the way to third, but if you’re still on third when that third out happens, your effort is completely and utterly useless. No one scored, in other words there’s no point. It would have been better to risk it. It would have been better to have tried to reach the goal (okay, the plate, I told you I was bad at sports analogies) than to have stood there safe at third. While sports strategists may be able to tell me differently about baseball, no one can tell me any different about creating. Sooner or later you have to ship your creation and share it with the world.

I love the end of a project. I’m usually a little bored with it by the time I reach that point and I get this sudden adrenaline rush to get it done and get it out for the world to see. It’s great to have some people around you to help you edit, but don’t tweak it together. If you’re a believer, you know there is only One who can make a perfect creation. The rest of us do the best we can and share it with the world.

Are you rounding third? The time is now. Finish that thing and share it with the world. It may not be perfect, but hopefully it’s better than the last one, and the next one will be better still.

Anything is better than being stranded on third.

I’m in a phase of life right now that is really busy. Some of the things I have to do are great, others not so much. Will I get it all done? Most likely. Will I be stressed out and anxious in the process? Yes. I guess the real question is, is it worth it?

There will always be things in our lives that are thoroughly out of our control but most of the time what we really need is just to gain some control over the things we do actually control. When we overcommit, we are signing up and volunteering for stress.

And don’t tell me you work best under pressure. Recently, I was cutting it way too close on a deadline. So close that I worked an obscene amount of hours to get it done. As a result, the end result is less than flawless, which aggravates me to no end. “I work best under pressure” is nothing less than code for “I procrastinate and then rush something out just under the wire.” Maybe it’s just me but I doubt it, creativity is very rarely enhanced by stress.

As believing creatives, we’re on a mission and part of that mission is to create quality work. Maybe instead of trying to satisfy everyone and impress people by how busy we are by overcommitting, we should scale back and try instead to over deliver–
bringing our best to every project, every time.

Are you busy or fruitful, because it’s really hard to be both.