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“Creativity needs freedom while productivity needs discipline. If you don’t have freedom, you can’t be creative, and if you don’t have discipline, you can’t be productive. So, life is a balance of both – creativity and productivity” - Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


For this week’s discussion, I want to think of a time that we felt truly satisfied with the work we produced in the moment. And conversely, I want to think of a time that we felt stifled or burdened by our work[load], either in process, result, or pattern.

My answer:

Performing a work that has had just enough thought and polish.

Being stretched too thin, saying yes too often. 

Thoughts and Actions:

I’d argue that they (P+C) work together when they are in balance. Certainly, you can be burdened by ‘over producing’ (too many deadlines, too much distraction, etc) But there also IS a freedom in “making lots of work”. Similarly, discipline is needed for creativity. For example, you need to carve out the time to work. AND of course necessity is the mother of invention, so that “workload” can often turn into some creative moments.

Artists need to habituate creative thinking. You can produce LOTS of work without being creative. “copy/paste”

In conjunction creative thinking, creating a habit of experimentation is also key to driving productivity. Creativity embraces the potential for failure that comes with experimentation. Some might think that experimentation is the antithesis of productivity, however, creative exploration is a necessary counterbalance to the constraints of traditionally labeled productivity.

Let’s look at an example: I need to train this “insert skill” until it is noticeably better. It may be hard to be “productive” if we hit a roadblock in our training, but if we take the time to be creative in our approach, we often find not only amazing solutions but totally new ideas. 

As we have discussed before, productivity is the cornerstone of a successful artistic career. (Student analogy) The best artists are always working, always trying and often failing.

Productivity is one of the buckets of happiness.

But, productivity can also become “toxic”.

Toxic productivity is the drive to be productive all the time. Signs of toxic productivity include feeling guilty for taking breaks and prioritizing your to-do list over your health and relationships.

This becomes apparent when we feel guilty for not training every day, taking a rest week, or saying NO to a project because while we COULD fit it in… we are already busy enough.

The fine line you walk with productivity and creativity is while it generally can feed your creative impulse, when it becomes a toxic burden it stifles your creative voice.

Tips to strike the balance:

  1. Maintain focus

  2. Set Goals

  3. Set boundaries

  4. Remember quality too - which is more important quality or quantity? YES! BOTH!

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