When it’s your job to produce great work on-demand every day, it can sometimes feel like you’re expected to be a creativity-cranking, efficiency-obsessed machine. It is soul-shattering to fully pour yourself into a project only to be met with another one just over the next hill.
But you are not a machine, so you cannot expect yourself to produce like one. Machines are predictable and boring. You are not. You are capable of incredible acts of intuition, emotion and insight. You can create exponential value with very few resources at your disposal. But in order to do this, you must avoid the temptation to fall into the rote, unimaginative way of working that is more about efficiency than effectiveness. (That’s why I wrote The Accidental Creative – to help creatives establish practices that make them effective when the overwhelming cry of many organizations is efficiency.)
Purpose and meaning are found in the way you engage your work, not just in the end product. That’s what separates a machine from a person. Machines can’t choose how they engage, and their output is predictable, not generative. You, however, have the capacity to take little and turn it into much.
Are you just treating yourself like a creative-cranking machine? You may be leaving your best work on the table.