Floral June 2020 Calendar: -every great leader must face his or her demons in order to overcome them. I’ve always known this, but I wasn’t aware of any immediate problems. But these days the demons are more insidious; they’re the everyday annoyances, the little things that suck away our potential to do big things. I’ve spent much of my career promoting strong business practices in the creative industry. Throughout my travels for Behance and in researching my book, Making Ideas Happen, I have spoken with countless creative people and teams about their projects and careers. With designers, writers, and entrepreneurs of all kinds, I have tried to advocate for the roll-up-your-sleeves productivity and management skills required to push ideas to fruition. My mantra has always been, “It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.” Frequently I am asked to speak at conferences and companies about “creativity.” I always respond with the preliminary question, “Do you have ideas?” The answer is almost always “Yes, but…” followed by a series of obstacles like: “We work in a big company and it’s hard to pursue new ideas,” “We get overwhelmed with the day-to-day stuff and struggle to make progress on new stuff,” or “Our leadership asks for innovation but keeps getting in the way.” Alas, when folks want to talk creativity, what they’re really seeking is help with execution, ways to take action more effectively. Once the true problem becomes clear, the blame quickly shifts to the ecosystem. The company is either too big or too small. The management is screwing things up. Or it’s the “process” that gets in the way.
Floral June 2020 Calendar
It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility. While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal. Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen. Often I’ll ask a great team about the last time they had a meeting to discuss how they work. Aside from the occasional mention of an annual off-site, I usually get a null response. Why? Everyone’s too busy doing stuff to take a pause and make some changes to how they do stuff. I’ve never seen a team sport without a huddle, yet we’ll continue working for months—if not years—with clients and colleagues without ever taking a step back, taking stock, and making improvements to our systems.
As individuals we’re even worse off; we never have off-sites with ourselves. Seldom do we stop doing what we’re
doing to think about (and rework) how we’re doing it. The biggest problem with any routine is that you do it without realizing it. Bad habits creep in, especially as we naturally acclimate to a changing work environment, and we end up working at the mercy of our surroundings. The biggest problem we face today is “reactionary workflow.” We have started to live a life pecking away at the many inboxes around us, trying to stay afloat by responding and reacting to the latest thing: e-mails, text messages, tweets, and so on. Through our constant connectivity to each other, we have become increasingly reactive to what comes to us rather than being proactive about what matters most to us. Being informed and connected becomes a disadvantage when the deluge supplants your space to think and act. As you’ll see in the discussions ahead, the shortcuts and modern marvels of work don’t come without a cost. Thriving in the new era of work requires us to question the norms and so-called efficiencies that have edged their way into our day-to-day. We need to rethink our workflow from the ground up.
Paradoxically, you hold both the problem and the solution to your day-to-day challenges. No matter where you
work or what horrible top-down systems plague your work, your mind and energy are yours and yours alone. You can surrender your day-to-day and the potential of your work to the burdens that surround you. Or, you can audit the way you work and own the responsibility of fixing it. This book offers many deep and powerful insights into optimizing your day-to-day rhythms. You’ll likely find that your work habits have drifted to accommodate your surroundings rather than to meet your preferences. Use this book as an opportunity to reassess. Take a rare pause from your incessant doing to rethink how you do what you do. Only by taking charge of your day-to-day can you truly make an impact in what matters most to you. I urge you to build a better routine by stepping outside of it, find your focus by rising above the constant cacophony and sharpen your creative prowess by analyzing what really matters most when it comes to making your ideas happen.
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