Posted by: Doug Geiger | 2012/04/15

Never give your all (…to just one project)

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Image from here

As a creative person–and believe me, project management, business consulting and business process reengineering, is creative work–I can totally relate to this post by a graphic artist. So much ink is spilled espousing the benefits of focus, but creativity is non-linear and the human mind sees connections behind the scenes we can’t see with our analytical mind. I’ve likened the habit of lateral work to building a mulch pile. That’s why I read blogs by graphic designers, in fact.

Needless to say, that compulsion was what led me to become a graphic designer. Some people specialize in ideas, constantly scheming, iterating, finessing. I prefer doing. I don’t know what makes me want to make, but often the impulse strikes without warning. If I don’t satiate it immediately, it becomes a dull ache that lingers all day.

You’d think this would be a non-issue—after all, I’m lucky enough to be paid a salary to design all day. But increasingly I’ve realized that for people like me, one creative outlet isn’t enough. The most interesting, creative people I know express themselves in a variety of ways. I call this practice informing practice, and I used to do it myself. Back before I made money from being creative, I was involved in up to five different creative outlets at a time. Now that my work consumes my life, that number has dwindled to one, and I can feel my non-design creative muscles twitching.

To the those paid to think: don’t give it “your all” give enough to kick ass but leave some of “your all” to get inspired, to allow for lateral thoughts, to maintain perspective. The most poisonous projects I’ve been involved in had everyone working without breaks, without perspective and without relief.

To those paid to manage: provide oxygen to your team in the form of creative outlet (it will likely make you money someday!). Also, remember that nothing healthy in nature operates at 100% for long without failing.

I highly recommend you read the whole post by Trevor Burks here:

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