Bob Lieberman's Blog

Tools For Initiating and Managing Change

Driven Late At Night

One thing I noticed tonight is how compelling "work" is when you let the shifting winds of the creative process guide you. Today, I've been refining my creativity process model and associated web pages and documents. I thought I'd be done by six and now it's 11. Here's how it happened...

I had some good ideas over the last few days, which came to me unbidden. Just ten or twenty minutes of describing the creativity process to a few people at a networking event gave me so much feedback. But I wasn't aware of its impact until today. So exploration is not always conscious or intentional. Today I started experimenting with the ideas in concrete terms. I made a copy of some images and documents and made the exploratory changes to see if I liked them.

Here's where the process took over! I reached a point where I liked the exploration enough that I wanted the change to happen right away! So I followed through with all the affected documents and images, and sat back to think about it in its complete form. You might have thought I was resting, but my unconscious was bubbling up issues for me to check out. I kept getting up, checking out, going back to lunch (at 2PM), and so on. Eventually I realized I liked the result and I wanted the change made. Just that act of commitment gave me ten reasons why I wanted the change done tonight rather than next week. So for people worried that a balanced creative project doesn't drive to completion, I want to testify to the exact opposite. I was driven because I let the natural process do its work.

So at 3PM, I just couldn't leave the project alone. I did production work until 11PM with time out for dinner. And I like the result now. Good thing, because I'm tired so I need to rest anyway. I can assure you that if I'd left things there, when I next picked them up I would have had all kinds of new changes to make. Because after sleeping I'd have been ready for more exploration. Good thing that didn't happen. Instead, I'm done now and I like the result a lot.

And I feel totally fulfilled. Proud of the accomplishment and satisfied that it does what I want.

Now I'm definitely going to sleep! Goodnight!

Creating In Fits & Starts

Do you imagine that the pace of your creativity will be steady?

Today I had another reminder of how wrong that can be.

I've been working lately to bring my cultivating creativity practice to more people. Part of that work has found me formalizing my ideas and presentation, as in my web page and its accompanying documents. The other part has been and will be accumulating leads to people or organizations that might be interested in sharing ideas on the subject.

My process, in general, involves collecting little bits of information about thing "A" while I'm working on thing "B". I start collecting long before I need to use the information, because I've found it takes a long time collecting to gather a critical mass. Also, for those of you who buy Christmas or birthday presents for loved ones, have you ever wished you had bought that thing when you saw it six months ago. Because now you can't remember where you saw it and it would be perfect and maybe you do remember but they're out of stock with a week left to shop. But I digress.

So I'm relaxing Saturday morning after really getting all my content and presentation ducks in a row over the last two months. I was exhausted, so I rested. And I didn't see this new wave coming. But yesterday afternoon I used the rest period to start entertaining that gnawing thought that I would have to manage and use all my new contact information now that I'd be gathering and contacting a lot more of the time. If you've ever done serious networking, you'll know that the volume of information and what you did and didn't say to whom can overwhelm you very quickly. I had ten spreadsheets going already, and I could see that I had reached the end of that road.

Entertaining that realization was like pulling one little thread on a sweater. Next thing I know it's Monday night. Well almost -- I did sleep. Anyway, to mix metaphors, when I came up for air an hour ago, I had put together a very functional contact and opportunity management system and moved all the spreadsheet data into it. Now that I'm resting from that, I'm enjoying the surprising observation that the need for this task (and then the desire to complete it) came on me like a whirlwind. It just strikes me how beneficial and fulfilling it can be to let the world have some elbow room and to let things happen at their own pace.

I didn't plan to hunker down for two straight days, but I did have the flexibility to do it. And I could have put it off for something more important that I might have had scheduled. But my schedule was clear. So instead, I was extremely productive. Of course, I could easily have been bored to tears, but the space provided by my taking that chance was the elbow room the world required.

I think the lesson here is that so-called "idle" time is only seems wasteful when we see it through the windshield, coming at us. When we're actually in it, it can feel like anything from rest and possibly boredom to the opposite -- my experience this weekend. And I've had it both ways. But most of the time, once we can see the time in the rear view mirror, we realize it had its benefit.

So don't go jumping to fill all the time slots in your organizer!

Is this similar or different from your experiences? Let me know by posting a comment.

P.S. In my experience, boredom leads more often to ingenuity and satisfaction than to waste. Or at least it does if we let it.