Imagine you walk into the new office of a booming creative agency or tech company.…
How to Work Fast, Rather Than Slow – Find Your Creative Flow
Whenever I come across a beautiful piece of art, whether it be a piece of literature, music, architecture or a movie, I like to do a bit of research and learn about their creative flow and the process behind it.
Many of the masterpieces I love took a very long time to create, which is not really surprising. But I’ve also heard that several outstanding works were produced extremely quickly. Some of my favourite movies were shot in a couple of weeks, novels written in days, and songs composed and recorded in just minutes. For example, John Lennon composed Imagine, one of the most timeless and influential songs in modern history, in one brief session.
What I find particularly interesting, however, is the fact that many creative works have turned out special for the very reason that they were produced fast. The artists either didn’t have the time or chose not to overthink what they created, which allowed their work to be more fresh, authentic and unique.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something we could learn from these artists, especially, because I believe that being a business owner is an art in itself.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could somehow find the recipe for creating great things really fast?
Well, I don’t think that science will ever crack the code; there’s something magical about the ways creativity strikes. But I can’t help trying to find out as much about this secret as I can, and so I keep learning, observing and experimenting.
As I’ve learned from John Cleese, there’s never any guarantee that we’ll be able to get into a fertile state of mind and produce something creative whenever we want to. But, we can create the conditions that make it more likely that we’ll succeed.
Here are a few hacks I find useful:
Perhaps you’ll want to test these to see if they work for you too. In my article, 4 Places That Press People’s ‘Genius Button’, that I wrote for Key Person of Influence, I shared a few other ideas if you would like to read more on this.
First of all, if you want to do creative work fast, you should ideally pick a subject that is still fresh in your mind but is ready to be expressed, perhaps through words, pictures or sounds, without further research. Having to collect information or checking facts will slow you down significantly. But most importantly, when you’re immersed in grounded analytical thinking, you can’t simultaneously run with an idea and articulate it in creative ways.
For similar reasons, you should be detached from the outcome of your session and be prepared to make mistakes. You can always fix obvious errors later, while other small mistakes might make your work more relatable and endearing. But the very essence of riding a creative wave is maintaining momentum and looking forward rather than backward. So forget about your critics, including your inner one, and express your thoughts without inhibitions, allowing your personality to shine.
Of course, blocking out distracting and stressful thoughts is not always easy. If possible, leave your office or any other place where you usually deal with the day-to-day issues of your business and try working in different places, and in different ways. New environments and new experiences will help you switch your focus from routines and constraints to new possibilities, and could also provide a source of inspiration for your ideas.
Producing original, creative output is a conundrum. You need to consume information from different domains of life that you can later draw from in your work. But you also need to switch off at times and allow your mind to process what you’ve learnt, in its own mysterious ways.
So don’t feel the need to fill every day, and every minute of your day, doing something ‘useful’. I promise that those minutes, hours, or even days that you may spend relaxing, or wandering in the world unplugged, with open eyes and a peaceful mind, will not be wasted.
Don’t be surprised when you find yourself in your creative flow at times when you expect it the least; while enjoying the present moment, not trying to create or solve anything. When this happens, your challenge is to find a way to ride that wave, even in the most unusual situations (like the artist who wrote poetry in the rain while he was accidentally locked outside a building).
You may want to have a notebook, a sketchbook, a recording device or whatever kinds of tools you use in your creation, handy wherever you go. And you need to be willing to change plans and start nurturing that brain-child of yours when you happen to be in the right headspace.
I find the feeling of creative flow both beautiful and addictive; however, this doesn’t mean that the process itself is easy and comfortable. Becoming invested in an unfinished piece of work, without knowing exactly where it is heading, or if it’s indeed going to turn out successful, can trigger feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.
You might be questioning yourself whether you’re doing the right thing, but this should not be a reason to change or drop what you do. Stay focused and resist the temptation to procrastinate, but take breaks and recharge when you need to.
If creating your masterpiece turns out to be more time-consuming than you were initially hoping for, please don’t beat yourself up. Perhaps it was meant to be done that way. The popular saying, ‘quality work takes time’, must have some truth in it.
Either way, I hope you will enjoy experimenting with different ways of creating great things and will find some tricks that can help you unlock your brilliance and fly with your ideas.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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