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.
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Drawing by Hugh.