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Why Planning for Creativity Does Not Work

When to let go of the schedule and allow creativity to dictate the terms

· Personal Growth

When I try to overschedule or overprescribe myself to things, I fall into a space of losing my creativity. Whereas some days words and thoughts pour freely out of me, on the days I try to “manage my creativity” I am at a complete loss for what to say, or how to express.

I always try to work in systems. I love organization I love spreadsheets. I truly enjoy getting a new online tool and spending hours figuring it out (have you tried AirTable??). I find this to also be super creative, and meditative. But the moment I reach that “AHA!” and think I can say “I will be creative 4 hours a week on Tuesday afternoons” it literally never ever works. It means that guaranteed Tuesday afternoon I will not only NOT be creative, but I have basically doomed myself to be in a creative purgatory for the following 7 days.

I love rules and structure when it helps me to “figure things out”. I finally get my plan in place and love it hard. But once I’ve got a plan, I am certain I won’t follow it. And those same rules and structure break my flow.

In fact – in a recent study I read, they found that the more automation takes place in companies, the higher employee turnover is. This makes perfect sense to me. The moment you figure out exactly how to efficiently and productively manage tasks is the moment the creativity and spark are gone.

So how, in the beautiful mind of Steven Pressfield can you sit down and do your work each and every day, knowing that some days the creativity will flow and some days it will not.

When I block time to write, I am guaranteed to be blocked. When I have a million things to do and am meeting new people and learning new and exciting things, I could sit down and push out 2 weeks worth of writing in just a matter of hours.

So the search for balance continues. The balance between structure and freedom, the balance between creative expression and planning for creativity, and the balance between what gives me energy and drives me forward and the things that must be done but don’t feed my soul.

I'm curious to hear how you manage your creativity and if you work in bursts or plan time to “be creative”.

Amanda is a leadership coach and animal lover on a mission to humanize the workplace. She empowers people clarify their vision and unlock their potential to make transformational change.

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