Processing time vs. creative time

It is a trap we all fall into: getting sucked into processing time, when you should be doing creative time.

First, some definitions:

Processing time: managing To Do lists, processing and responding to emails, sorting inboxes, updating notes, cleaning off the desk, sorting papers to keep verses tossing, working IN the business…

Creative time: writing, doing your actual client work, deep thinking on coming up with solutions (for customers AND prospects), working ON the business…

Funny thing is, I love my processing time. I feel good updating, filing, sorting, getting the inbox to zero, checking things off, cleaning up and organizing. This is great fun for me, and as an anal retentive minimalist, this process is very important to my well being.

But it doesn’t put food on the table.

The creative time is what makes champions, closes big deals, wows customers, attracts the opposite sex. Whatever, you get my point.

And too many of us get trapped into the processing side of things, feel good about progress, and don’t focus or make time for the creative work.

This is why the end of the week comes, and you hear the magic words:

“Wow, I busted my ass all week, but I didn’t get my work done. How’s that possible?”

Now you know.

Look, don’t feel bad. We all do it. Me included. I caught myself in a near endless processing loop this morning, realized what I was doing, stopped, and sat down to create. Create what? This post you are reading.

Here’s the other important thing: the processing time is important. It does matter. But we aren’t dedicating enough time to the creative work. This work matters more.

It just does. Trust me. And there’s no magic app, book, tool, software, hardware, or hack that magically shifts you into creative mode.

You just have to do it. For yourself. Discipline here is key.

In closing, one thought:

Processing time: reading a book about someone else doing great work.
Creative time: writing the book about your great work.

Any questions?


You should JOIN THE LIST HERE to learn other sales, marketing, and life hacks!

Drawing by Hugh.

  • Dr. Rae

    Bravo Todd…
    Glad to be reading your gentle reminder today!
    With appreciation, and gratitude… Rae xo

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks Dr. Rae! appreciate hearing from you, as always. thanks for reading!

  • Clint Wilson

    Good read Todd and I have used Gmail Meter to gain insight into my email routine so I can get alerted when is the best time to use those creative spirits:)


  • Todd Schnick

    way cool. and yeah, sometimes you have to hard schedule into your day. thanks for reading!

  • Dr. Rae

    My pleasure Todd! Always enjoy your gentle reminders ;)
    Your message came at a time when I decided to stop “processing” and get on with creating…
    My first love!!! ~Rae xo

  • Todd Schnick

    i think we ALL do that every day, you know?

  • Ryan Kulp

    Hey Clint,

    I’m Ryan from the Gmail Meter team. Thanks for the shout! Let us know if you ever need anything.

  • Todd Schnick

    hey ryan, thanks for taking the time to comment here. much appreciated…..

  • Ryan Kulp

    Sure thing!

  • Clint Wilson

    Your Blog gets me thru my week:)


  • Clint Wilson

    Thanks Ryan and we are going to push this out to all our members soon in an ad like fashion as we have on SyncApps so sure email me offline if you want more details.


  • Ryan Kulp

    That works! Emailing you now. :)

  • Pingback: The Friday Five, Blogs That Matter – October 4, 2013 | The Transformational Leadership Strategist

  • Pingback: Reach Your Potential With These Online Business Ideas «

  • Pingback: Productivity or bust in 2014: tips from the experts