I know that finding time to do the stuff you’re most passionate about is hard.
In these times, it’s hard to ignore the shifting cultural causes that call you to act.
As creative thinkers conventional planners and time management systems don’t cut it. Neither do random sticky notes plastered on your computer.
In light of this fact, I created a productivity tool and time management system designed for professionals, thought leaders, business owners, and creatives called the Mind Rooms Guide. It’s been developed based on the psychology of creative thinking and productivity.
Here are some thoughts on how to boost creativity and Shape Time to Act.
1. REMEMBER THE DEAD LINE.
In 1944, Miklos Radnoti knew the Nazis would shoot him and the other Jews marching across Hungary any day, any hour. When his wife later had his body exhumed from a mass grave, they would find a notebook of poems tucked in his field jacket’s pocket. Somehow, he stealthed out a pen, the sound of gunfire rattling like bones, and wrote a series of poems.
Radnoti’s persistence is a haunting reminder of my mortality, of this odyssey’s limited time.
The pressure of time, the fact of mortality, the real dead line, compels me to create, and to create with awareness and intention.
2. TANGO WITH TIME.
All of us creatives tango with time. Most creatives cannot wait until their kids go off to college or until retirement or until divorce or until they quit a job to begin their real work. Gratified creatives with packed lives create before the family gets up or in “pockets of time” – on the subway or in the forty-eight minutes between when their children have fallen asleep and before they themselves fall asleep.
One way or another, we’d be wise to make peace with time, stop fighting it, and avoid bemoaning its scarcity. There’s plenty of time to be had, it turns out, and if we can’t change the way chronological time works, then we can change the way we work with it.
Instead of managing time like some begrudged worker, we can shape it. Think of yourself as a potter more than a manager.
To show up and shape time as a creative has less to do with calendars and more to do with loving the mind. And the body.
Creativity is not about waiting for the muse – despite Elizabeth Gilbert’s charming spin on the Greek muse.
Creativity is about showing up and shaping time for the muse. Read more
We business artists are blessed and cursed with a generative mind – the ability to come up with lots of ideas.
You may be feeling the effect of shifting cultural causes calling you to act. How do you find the time in an already profoundly packed schedule for your deep creative work?
Sunni Brown, named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, nailed the problem this way: “Discerning which opportunities to pursue has been a bogeyman in my creative work for years. I just couldn’t settle on the criteria for choosing.”
Finding time to do your most creative work is hard.
An optimal work-and-create flow is an extended period of time in which your mind and body are performing at their best when engaged in high-thinking and high-imagining tasks and projects. You sustain focus, your body’s fire stays stoked, your attitude flourishes, your imagination hangs from the monkey bars.
It’s pretty typical to get overwhelmed by obligations and tasks that don’t leave much time for the projects that light us up.
In light of today’s cultural causes, now more than ever you may be feeling called to act.
But most of us know that pulling all-nighters and pumping our bodies with caffeine does not an optimal work-and-create flow make. Read more
Research assistance from TW Team research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros.
Periodically Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros and I will curate some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence via branding, storytelling, and innovation.
– Jeffrey, Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder
Connecting with People and Branding Comes Naturally
from The Times of India
In a media landscape of inauthentic messages, authentic branding will always rise above the noise, says Shubham Nagdeve. “Branding comes automatically when you connect with people,” Naresh Jakhotia reminds The Times of India. It’s through connection that a brand earns trust and defines its meaning. Small and large brands alike can benefit from genuinely connecting with clients to contribute value. Read more
Selling well doesn’t come naturally to most people with good ideas. To most, it feels gimmicky and inauthentic and manipulative. But it doesn’t have to follow the usual big-loud-buzz formula. In fact, the secret to selling is all about your customer. In the piece below, I share the secret to sales as shown to me by the example of my father, a successful radio advertising salesman and marketer.
Guest Post by Britt Bravo, Premium Consultant at Tracking Wonder
Note: Britt Bravo helps our clients shape their ideas into story-based brands and broadcast their message to the right audiences. Her local paper named her the “best podcaster and blogger most dedicated to social change.” She’s also mentoring a few people in our ArtMark™ Brand Story & Strategy program. I’m thrilled to have her on board the team and serving the TW Community. Find out more here: ArtMark™. – Jeffrey
I’ve never had a mentor to guide me on my career path. If you’re a woman, and haven’t had a mentor either, you’re not alone. According to a 2011 LinkedIn survey of almost 1,000 female professionals in the U.S., nearly one in five women have never had a mentor.
It’s not surprising to me that so many women haven’t been mentored. Few role models exist in American culture of women having mentors, and even fewer of women being mentors. Neo has Morpheus in The Matrix, Daniel has Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, and Luke has Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, but few heroines in American culture are depicted having mentors, especially female ones. Read more
If your frame of a leader is an ambitious extrovert driven by power and domination and big audacious change, then, you might not view yourself as a leader.
But Howard Gardner’s research and conclusions suggest that even if you’re more introverted and creatively driven by the craft of a good story you may have the makings of a leader and you might already be leading.
Howard Gardner is Co-Director of Project Zero (devoted to advancing arts learning as a serious cognitive activity) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education – and is best known as a thought leader in multiple intelligences. Gardner changed the way I thought about intelligence and education back in the ‘90s with his books on multiple intelligences, the mind, and creativity. In his book Intelligence Reframed (Basic Books 1999), Gardner sums up his studies of creators and his studies of leaders. What surprised him was how much they have in common.
Leaders change the way numerous people think and act. That’s what influence is – that fundamental change. The most effective and wise leaders, Gardner notes, effect change via story in a two-fold way. Read more
We each see the world through our heritage of personality, experience, expertise, and values.
A software programmer develops her expertise. A doctor of integrated medicine develops his. A marketing specialist see the world and how to solve its problems through her lens, and an educator, through his.
Imagine they each are on the same interdisciplinary team of a big startup venture. It’s not an unfamiliar scenario.
How do they speak the same language in order to communicate, solve problems, and collaborate with momentum? What happens when their blossoming vision meets the reality of execution and market need?
I work and speak with accomplished professionals who fear standing out with their own ideas and who fear their own influence.
In these times especially, we need intelligent, dedicated, creative people – business artists of all stripes – to name and claim their influential ideas and contribute lasting value through their businesses and the conversations they lead.
Business artists matter. They need to stand up and stand out.
If you’ve worked for organizations, companies, or groups for many years, you might have met with great accomplishment. You also likely have a degree or two or three. A training certification or two or three. Now you want to test out your own ideas. What holds you back?
I suspect you’ve learned the value of going along and of doing a good job by others’ standards. You’ve learned the rules, followed them, exceeded expectations. You’re knowledgable, personable, hard-working, even-tempered. You’re respected. You’ve blended in.
With your experience and expertise, it’s even possible that you’ve ventured out as an independent consultant or professional. Again, you’ve learned the rules, exceeded expectations, gained accomplishments. Even on your own, though, maybe you’re playing it safe. And you’re keeping your ideas to yourself. Read more
I cry more often than you might think. It usually comes from feeling someone in pain more than admitting my own. Conversations and relationships plus music, art, film, books, and, yes, commercial videos turn on the tears for me.
My crying reflects back to me what I care about, what I stand for, what drives me.
My 7-year-old girl cries often, too. One January night last year, I gave her a brief overview of Martin (Michael) Luther King, Jr.’s life. As is par for her, the death fixated her curiosity. “Now why did he die? How did he die? Why did the man shoot him? That’s ridiculous. That’s just ridiculous to hate someone because of how they look.”
And then before bed she cried because of how MLK had died.
When I’m really honest with myself these days it’s both the knowledge of suffering and the conviction for something better for our world and, frankly, for my two girls that drives me. I do want to add my small verse to a world where we grown-ups can wonder and remember what is true, real, and beautiful.
I suspect something similar privately and deeply drives you, too.
Because here’s the deal, as I see it:
One view of our world in 2017 is that we as a species are becoming more and more hostile and divided, driven to distraction and despair.
Another view is that many of us are creating change – in big and small, large and quiet ways – in how we relate to each other, driven by conviction and ideals. Read more