December 24, 2020

What separates the productive from the prolific


The creative process, because it’s a distinctly and fundamentally human activity, can be ridiculously difficult to figure out.

Mostly because people are complicated. And not just that, they’re uniquely complicated. Each individual rests at the nexus of a vast number of interwoven causes and conditions that influence their behavior.

There are no two people whose mental, emotional and existential contexts are the same.

And so, each creative professional, in addition to making art, and in addition to making the opportunity to make art, must also learn how to troubleshoot their issues around art.

It’s totally a pain in the ass, but apparently tracing and correcting your own faults along the creative process is part of the job description.

The challenge is making sure it’s not your entire job description. Learning how to solve your creative problems efficiently so you can get back to the real work of making things.

My friend, a talented graphic artist, struggles with this balance. Bless her heart, but the woman is so bloody neurotic, unfocused and ambivalent about her work, that she burns most of her calories trying to solve her creative problems, rather than actually creating product.

She hasn’t figured out how to free up her mental capacity to allocate attention to more meaningful tasks.

This was precisely the individual I had in mind when developing Prolific. The whole purpose in launching the first Personal Creativity Management system was to give people a technology based way to troubleshoot these very issues. A real time toolkit to help them think about their problems in a different way.

Once you understand the context behind the problem, see the experiences of others who have had the same problem, and visualize potential tools to prevent that problem from reoccurring in the future, you become unstoppable. You can free up your mental capacity to allocate attention to more meaningful tasks.

Like actually doing your work.

This metacognitive skill, aka, thinking about thinking, aka, becoming aware of your awareness, is what separates the productive from the prolific. Once the creative professional learns to notice, name, tame and reframe their own issues, ideally in a technology based way, then there’s no telling what kind of innovative work they will be able to produce.

What will free up your mental capacity so you can allocate attention to more meaningful tasks?

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