Finding Productivity, Losing the Muse
I have realized that ADHD organization and scheduling tools are helpful, but don’t allow a lot of room for spontaneity.
I’m using a new productivity tool to help me stay focused and get more work done. It’s working phenomenally well, except for one thing: I can’t schedule my creativity for Tuesday at 2:00. Not that something else is happening on Tuesday at 2:00. It’s just that creativity won’t adhere to a schedule. It comes and goes whenever it darn well pleases.
Week after week, Tuesday at 2:00 would roll around and it would be time to write a new blog post. I’d feel the pressure to produce. But nothing came to me. Surprise surprise. It got steadily worse as the clock ticked closer to my 3:00 deadline. And week after week, I came up with nothing.
It’s one thing to be disciplined. It’s quite another to be so regimented that you don’t allow the seeds of random thought to germinate. I know we’re only talking about a blog. But it takes creativity, among other things, to connect words into a cohesive, entertaining, informative piece. I never thought it was possible, but it seems that I have actually become too structured for my own good!
It used to be that an idea would knock on my door and keep pounding until I let it in. Excited to hear what it had to say, I would stop whatever I was doing and start writing. The idea would speak its mind and then leave as abruptly as it had arrived. Sometimes it took ten minutes, and sometimes it took three hours to get it all out. Didn’t matter. I always let it speak on its own terms. With my new schedule, I’d jot the idea down and come back to it at — you guessed it — Tuesday at 2:00. But by then the magic was gone. I have a whole pile of incoherent, abandoned drafts.
I have realized that the more I turn my creativity away, the less it will come to see me. It’s no different than a person. Nobody likes rejection. I’m hoping that by showing it some respect, by making time for it, it will visit me more often. This is not to say that I am abandoning my new productivity system. No way! It works too well. I’ll tell you about it another time. But, I do want to find a way for my productivity and my creativity to live in harmony.
I think what I need to do is write a new rule into my productivity system: When a good idea comes, I’m allowed to make room for it if at all possible. I’m certainly not going to skip a client session because of an unexpected visit from my muse. But fortunately, I do have some flexibility in my schedule. If I build time for writing into my week (as opposed to a specific hour), I can rearrange things and still get everything done. Fingers crossed!
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