The greatest thief of productivity is a negative mindset which leads to a becoming uninspired. This may seem obvious and you may have heard solutions from various sources of how to re-ignite your creative side but what I’m trying to convey is slightly different. I’m trying to tackle the root cause of the corroding inspiration most of us possess and figure out what is corroding it.
If your business is based on your creative skills or if you run a business of staff who are required to be creative then the importance of this topic can not be stressed enough. Creativity is the engine your business runs on and allowing a problem like this to fester will lead you to a breakdown, regardless of how awesome you think the rest of your business plan is.
Is Inspiration Linked to Productivity?
So before we do tackle the problem we need to understand the root cause of the problem. Allow me to illustrate the lack of inspiration brewing in our businesses.
Not everyone who is uninspired in life will describe it exactly as a “lack of inspiration”, instead one may say they feel neglected, unsatisfied with work, not feel they have enough incentives to work or feel dull and inactive in the pursuit of their goals.
The results of a survey found that 70% of employees said that they spent some of their office hours indulging in completely unproductive and non-work related activities. These people were asked the question:
“Why do you waste time at work?”
The results were staggering. 46% were dissatisfied with their job, 34% felt they were underpaid for their skills and 24% felt they had no incentive to work hard. 19% felt their hours were too long and 18% were distracted by others.
Being unsatisfied with work or life, feeling your skills are undervalued, a lack of incentives and lengthy hours are all related to inspiration.This is drastic for your business especially if your skills are based on your creativity. Your counter-productivity could be placing unnecessary strain on your business’ finances, your own health, relationships and other aspects of your life.
The Underlying Problem Dragging You Down
Creativity is the product of having positive and inspirational thoughts.
i.e. Creativity comes from positivity
Positivity and inspiration are achieved through activities we perceive as positive experience.
i.e. Positivity comes from Positive experience
A positive experience is one in which you chose to look at the pros as opposed to the cons
i.e. Positive experiences come from Perception
Looking at cons for pros as opposed to the cons can only be achieved by altering the way you think.
i.e. Perception comes from your mind!
Allow me to illustrate this with an example. For the purpose of this example, let us say that ‘Jack’ is a freelance designer who works from home.
Jack’s To-Do list for today:
- Finish project A
- Finish project B
- Clean the garage
- Jack Jr’s vaccination
- Dinner with parents
How NOT to approach this
Let’s take a look at “unproductive” Jack’s journal entry:
My wife asked me to clean out the garage before getting down to work. She became increasingly upset when I explained I have a lot of work to do and would do the trivial housework later. We argued and so I quickly cleaned the garage in a hurry, leaving most things for later.
When I tried to head back to work I felt so frustrated that I had to do this laborious task that I felt I needed some inspiration so I headed off to check some blogs which ought to give me that boost I need eventually I ended up on 9Gag and Facebook.
After lunch, I eventually started working on the projects. As the day drew to an end it was time to take my son to the vaccination. I was running late and lost my temper and so Jack Jr cried all the way there and back.
When I got back I cancelled dinner with parents because I had a headache and the deadlines were looming. Mum had a depressive tone and said that she had prepared a lot of food for us, my wife also felt let down.
I felt depressed and frustrated at not having a supportive family so I decided to calm myself by watching a few YouTube videos and surfing the net.
I fell asleep while doing so and when I woke I started on my projects again. I finished project A at 3.a.m and asked for an extension on project B. The client is annoyed but I’m going to be super-productive tomorrow and kill it off with project C and D. I hope my wife did the shopping so I don’t have to otherwise that will totally distract me tomorrow.
How to approach this
Let’s take a look at “productive” Jack’s journal entry:
My wife asked me to clean out the garage and I sensed that this was really important to her and that she would get upset if I didn’t I decided it was best to use the time to spend quality time with my wife before I got down to work. Otherwise if she was upset and I was stressed it could boil into an ugly argument which would distract me from my work.
Cleaning the garage with her gave me a sense of completion and some valuable time with her – I felt great. I went straight to work because I felt that sense of completion within me. I finished just in time for Jr’s vaccination, we went there and on the way back he was crying so we decided to take him to the park before going to see my parent’s. Mum had made some really exquisite food which made me feel loved and happy.
I felt great so I prepared everything for tomorrow’s work at night and went to sleep early with a smile.
What was the point of that boring story?
I know I went over the top in exaggerating in order to illustrate certain points, but I hope it illustrated less dramatic parallels in your life.
If there is a task which you must be done, then you only have two choices:
- Do it happily, looking for the pros over the cons
- Moan about it and become frustrated
You may feel that you don’t have a choice and that frustration is an emotion within your mind which you can’t control. But this is exactly where the control begins. In essence you are making the choice of which approach to take.
When faced with a frustrating situation, look for the pros and you will have overcome any emotions in your mind.
Choosing the negative approach will put you into a downward spiral of negativity.
- When you take the negative approach, you leave things for later and the frustration will make you procrastinate.
- Procrastination is always deeper than just not wanting to do something and is usually due to some negativity.
- When we’re frustrated, we tend to exhibit this openly and onto others.
- This reinforces our own frustration causing us to procrastinate and eventually end up upsetting those we love, not completing the tasks at hand, feeling undervalued and unsatisfied with life.
This will kill creativity.
And the key to unlocking this lies with you and no one but yourself. The solution is in the problem. Just saying “yes” may get rid of all those feeling as they did with fictional Jack when he actually went to the meal with his parents.
Saying you’ll do something tomorrow is a nicer way of saying you won’t do it. If you have an inability to complete the task now, the chances of a miracle cure to your procrastination is unlikely – so start now!
Saying that you will “crush it” or “kill it” is also counter-productive. A human can’t be totally fueled and pumped to work all the time, so a sustainable method of “doing it” as opposed to “crushing it” would be better.
This is why I disagree with approaches by entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk who advises budding entrepreneurs to give their business their all, all the time – an approach which only works for some. You’re more likely to burn out heavily at one point, and who knows what happens from there.
Changing your thinking to search for the good in what you do leads to positive and inspiring thoughts and ultimately a healthy, creative mind. It really is that simple.
Agree or Disagree? Share your knowledge and experiences below.