write only when inspired“I have to be spontaneous. Structure saps all of my creativity. Routine is boring.”

I hear this all the time from creative types, but the thinking is flawed.  You can boost productivity and creativity by utilizing structure. Established routines serve two important functions:

  1. Routines allow you to do certain tasks without expending too much brain power. Doing specific things at certain times of the day, following processes, even adhering to checklists means you think less about when and how to do those activities. Thinking less about routine tasks frees up brain power for more creative tasks.
  2. Successful creative people follow routines.  A famous quote, (attributed to many writers with no definitive ownership) says it perfectly.  “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

What can you turn into a routine in order to free up your brain for tasks that will truly benefit from a more creative approach?

  • Your routine when you get into the office
  • Your routine before you leave the office
  • Preparation for a recurring meeting
  • Networking follow-up
  • How you handle e-mail
  • Monthly accounting tasks
  • Interacting on social media
  • The day of the week and time of day you write and publish blog posts

When you find yourself doing the same task every day or every week, think about how you can turn that into a routine, process or checklist.  You’ll get those things done faster, which is your boost in productivity. Your brain will be freed up to develop original, creative, successful solutions, which is the boost to your creativity.

2 Comments

  1. Reina on March 23, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I have to agree with you. Routine doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For me, my routine and my schedule consists of tasks and breaks. Breaks are also included because helps me motivate myself to work if there is a break time in between of those tasks. Making my mind rest is very important so that it could work better even by the end of the day.
    What also helps me improve my productivity is a time tracking tool called Time Doctor ( http://www.timedoctor.com/ ). It makes me focus on work and avoid distractions.



  2. Mary Kutheis on March 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    That’s a great resource! Thanks for sharing. It’s usually an eye-opener when people see how they are REALLY spending their time.