As marketing and sales people, we live in a world where we have access to email, phone, social media and cloud based work applications on a 24×7 basis. Even with these tools, there are demands for increased productivity, and the drive for us to do more.
But few of us have positions or jobs that are simply task-based. Doing more activities or tasks is a tough way to increase your personal productivity.
We can also think of productivity as being dependent on creativity. Figure out a new way to do something, and productivity can increase. But here’s the problem. You can’t be creative by answering email and being on call 24×7. You’ll never win that race. You will never out compete your colleagues and suddenly be recognized by the CEO or the board for your diligence. This doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard. But if you want to succeed, stop hitting your head against the wall and try being creative. Easy prescription, but how?
The Greek, Archimedes of Syracuse (circa 287 BC to circa 212 BC), was a brilliant scientist and mathematician. Some of his inventions are still used today. There is the story of him and the golden crown. He was faced with the difficult problem of figuring out if a gold crown was pure gold or an amalgam. He was not allowed to scratch or assay the crown. The more he thought about it, the more he thought the problem might be impossible. But one day, as he was relaxing and stepping into his bath, he absently noted that the water rose as his foot went into the bath. He had discovered the principal of displacement. He realized that he could calculate the volume of the crown through displacement, and if he knew its weight, he could calculate the density, and thus tell if it was pure gold or not. When he realized this, the story goes, he was so excited, that he ran naked into the street yelling “Eureka!” (I’ve found it.)
One key to creativity is letting your mind be occupied by something else. We need down time and relaxation for our brains to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems. Even simple ones. Have you ever noticed that when you are trying to remember a name, or the artist for a song and can’t, that as soon as you stop trying, it comes to you.
Next time you’re faced with a tough marketing or sales problem, step away from the email. Let it go. Plan some down time. Try doing something that occupies your head in a mindless way. One irony of creativity is that the more you try to generate it, the more elusive it becomes. Creativity is the Chinese handcuffs of thinking. So go take a bath. But stay out of the street.
Do Great Things!