Thinking as an entrepreneur or creative, we continually want to advance our best work. But there may be a danger in becoming so attached to productivity that we miss a core part of the creative process.
Where is the balance between getting stuff done and dreaming stuff up?
This was a topic of conversation from Season 1 of the Tracking Wonder Podcast with Charlie Gilkey and Ishita Gupta.
We each have different creative processes and temperaments.
It’s my contention that you need to understand your own temperament and even your own creative process on a continuous basis, in order to finesse your ability to get stuff done versus just dream stuff up.
There are others who argue that dreamers wallow in dreaming and never get their work done.
In our upcoming roundtable discussion, we’ll explore the contention that coming up with ideas isn’t what matters but rather moving from idea to done is what is important.
Even Scott Belsky the founder of Behance, a site for creatives to showcase their work, promotes a productivity-driven approach in his book, Making Ideas Happen.
This is a worthwhile point of view for people who can get stuck in analysis paralysis. It’s a driven mindset helpful in kickstarting people into action. Taking this approach can help overcome the emotional and psychological resistances hold them back.
On the other hand when we’re perpetuating a culture and society that focuses on productivity and getting stuff done, we risk forsaking vast parts of what makes us human and the parts that make us effective as creatives, entrepreneurs, and change makers.
We are by nature, dreamers.
The cognitive quality of dreaming – the actual cognitive state of dreaming which includes daydreaming – is when your awareness is just on the cusp of the conscious and unconscious. It’s a state that Einstein, Edison, and a slew of other innovators cultivated in order to incubate their ideas, and access part of their awareness that a “get-stuff-done” mentality alone will not achieve.
In the field of psychology, there is a focus mode and diffuse mode.
Focus mode is the ability to exclude all other stimuli. Like when you’re in a crowded cafe and you can tune out all the sound and every distraction – you’re in focus mode.
Diffuse mode is being in a relaxed state of awareness, like being aware of the distant hum of water flowing as you walk through the woods, or the call of a crow, an airplane passing overhead, the coolness of the air on your face. This mode allows you to take in more sensory stimuli and can be effective in helping to solve problems.
So as we advance our best work in the next year, how do we each learn about our own temperaments and continuously fashion our best work rhythms and creative rhythms to continue to get stuff done and to dream stuff up?