Why the Most Creative People are Also Usually the Most Productive

Don’t wait for inspiration to strike; steal these secrets to build a productive life where creativity flows naturally.

Does creativity depend on productivity?

Or does productivity require a bit of creativity?

The truth is, you often can’t be successful at one without the other. Creativity gives you the idea, but it’s productivity that determines what you’ll do with it.

So can you increase creativity by simply being more productive?

Creativity and Productivity are Intertwined

People may be born with different degrees of creativity, but everyone has the power to be more creative.

You may not be painting landscapes like Bob Ross, but you still need creativity to:

  • Create content
  • Write persuasive sales copy and calls to action
  • Brainstorm new marketing campaigns
  • Reach out to customers on social media
  • Develop a portfolio to outshine your competition

Since jobs in design, social media, marketing, and more all require an endless stream of creativity, you can’t wait around for inspiration to strike.

The only problem is creativity tends to disappear when people aren’t productive.

Without productivity, or the physical act of producing something, all your ideas and everything inspiring you to connect with others, will simply stay in your head.

And if your brain’s not rewarded for coming up with interesting ideas, you’ll stop having them.

That’s why you must not only find a way to boost your creativity, you also need to create a follow-up plan to transform it into a tangible product.

The good news is besides sharing your idea, content, or masterpiece with people who need it, an Adobe study says creators earn 13% more than non-creators[*].

And you know what’s even better?

You can boost creativity and productivity at the same time.

Secrets to Greater Creativity and Productivity

You don’t need separate to-do lists to spur your creativity or kick your butt into being more productive.

These tips will allow for greater productivity and higher creative thinking to enter your life simultaneously:

Carve Out an Uncluttered Space to Thrive

An artist doesn’t begin painting with bills, to-do lists, and cat toys hanging on their easel. So you shouldn’t let your workspace become a giant mound of mess either.

Clutter is the enemy of creativity and productivity and[*]:

  • Bombards your brain with excessive stimuli
  • Drains your attention
  • Makes it impossible to relax physically or mentally
  • Causes anxiety and creates guilty feelings
  • Tells your brain your work is out of control/never done

That’s why you need a clean, open space to brainstorm your ideas and solve problems.

It should be free of distractions, filled with inspiration (like motivating quotes, happy pictures, or a window to look out of), and closed off from loud, busy areas.

Free up this space and you’ll also free up space in your brain for creative ideas and questions.

Ask More Questions

Creative people are inherently curious. They’re interested in everything — and find everything interesting.

Science says creative people use both sides of their brain when analyzing the new experiences they have, a skill most people don’t practice often enough[*].

To cultivate this ability, expose yourself to new places, people, and things, and ask lots of questions about them — as often as you can.

Simply thinking more about what or who you encounter will feed your brain and spark inspiration, which can then fuel your creative train of ideas.

So when you’re stuck on a project, ask yourself a series of questions to let creativity unblock you, such as:

  • What’s the ultimate goal?
  • What’s the first step I need to take? And the second? And so forth.
  • What makes this unique or interesting?
  • Why is this important?

With these answers in tow, you’re sure to find greater clarity and inspiration to get your work accomplished. It also creates a mini checklist of steps you need to get done to further increase your productivity.

If you’re stuck here, your way of thinking may need an adjustment.

Practice Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking, a term coined by Edward de Bono in 1967, is the practice of “moving sideways” to solve a problem rather than tackling it head-on[*].

In De Bono’s system of Six Thinking Hats, he encourages people to use different ways of thinking as a checklist for solving a problem[*]:

  • Blue for managing and identifying what you have
  • White for using facts and information
  • Red for using emotions, intuition, and gut reactions
  • Black for the downsides associated with the idea
  • Yellow for the positives associated with the idea
  • Green for out-of-the-box alternatives

While you may think this approach seems counterintuitive to productivity, it actually stimulates your creative thinking and forces you to see situations from multiple angles.

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