February 28, 2021

Flexibility for Creative Productivity

Creative productivity is different from traditional productivity. When looking at a blank canvas we aren’t supported by the structure of a to-do list or obvious next steps. This lack of structure can be daunting.

However, this lack of structure is also the superpower of productivity in creative environments. Productivity in this space requires constant shifts from broad focus to narrow focus. In the process of creative exploration, we find connections between ideas and concepts and have to decide when to be playful with experimentation and when to be critical of small details in our work1

In order for us to thrive in this type of work, our environment has to match this way of working. Our organizations have to build a process that allows for unstructured thinking and connection-building. When the process is too structured we lose the freedom we need to be creatively productive.

Over time, the expertise we build as creative workers teaches us when to go broad, when to go deep, and when to leave the structure of good” work behind to pursue great ideas.


  1. Ahrens, Sönke. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking: For Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2017.↩︎


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Prefontaine “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”