Accidental Creative

Creative workers are paid for the value they create

The Key is mapping out your entire life (work and home together).

Focus: a clear and concrete understanding of objectives
Relationships: a source of creative inspiration and rejuvenation
Energy: establish practices around energy management
Stimuli: quality of output = quality of input
Hours: time is the currency of productivity

It is going to take time, and short-term results may vary. You own your growth.

The idea of the book: be purposeful in approaching the creative process, and you will improve your ability to generate good ideas consistently.

It would be best if you had regular conversations about expectations to ensure everyone understands what is expected.

Do you know what is expected of you? Top 3 priorities?

What expectations do you have of me, and am I meeting them?

Creative work is judged subjectively and by someone other than us.

Success depends on persistence. Dissonance, fears and expectation escalation are problems. You need to ask: is this really the best way?
Systems pile on systems.

  • Q. Are there complex systems in your life and work right now? Are there ways you can simplify them?
  • Q. Ask the five Ws when you have a problem.
  • Q. Are there systems that are ineffective and you are still using as a matter of habit?
  • Q. Is fear of failure causing you to curtail your creative engagement? What perceived consequences are holding you back

Maintain focus on the basics as the foundation of everything you do.

Assumptions are disastrous because they limit how we look at problems.

Q. Are there assumptions in your current projects that are imitating your options? List them.

Drifter: task constantly switching with no plan.
Driver: focused on outcomes. Driven by checklists and carrying tons of extra data around.
Developer: purposefully approach each task of a project as an opportunity to develop new connections or potential ideas.
Developers lock into the heart of the problem (define), establish a game plan and center activities on priorities (refine) and organize their work to minimize distractions (cluster).

  • At the start of a project, you should establish challenges. 4-6 questions.
  • Make a list of all your projects (work and home), which require a breakthrough to move forward. Of these, which are the three most pressing. These are your 3 big questions.
  • Once you experience a key insight you were looking for, cross it off your list, and add something else.
  • When working, cluster similar tasks to be more effective. Limit shifts, and improve flow.
  • Try it by setting aside one hour for strategic thinking and planning projects. Set a dedicated time for email and other correspondence.
  • Separate creative time for task time.
  • Creative work is about abundance and generosity. Fill everyone else's bucket.
  • Find out what influences the creativity of others.

Whom can you trust to speak the truth to you?

We rise to the level of our competition. Visionaries push you and challenge you to think uncomfortable and challenging thoughts. Surround yourself with bright, motivated people. Redirect their energy into your own work. Be strategic about the work you are doing and how you are doing it.

When planning your life, you need to account for every commitment you make in your life. When filling your calendar, plan out invigorating and draining activities evenly. Use buffer activities to help maintain energy. Be strategic about energy management to make sure there is enough when you need it.

Pruning is effective. Creativity craves structure.

Ask yourself:

  • Could this be deferred?
  • Am I unhappy with the current results?
  • Do I have a nagging sense of need for a new direction?

There is lots of info out there. Decide which inputs are relevant to our work and which are noise. Monitor the quality of what you absorb as it affects your creative process.

  • Read great works, not derivatives.
  • Take notes and review your notes.
  • Find stimulating and even purposefully uncomfortable situations, so our minds see the world in new ways. Insecurity about time causes reactions. One effective hour is better than five hours of frenetic activity. Structure your time with an effective mindset (versus an efficient one).
  • Dedicate time just to generating ideas, then spend it on the Big 3.
  • Find uninterrupted time.
  • Make morning pages write out pages of pure stream of consciousness, an act of unnecessary creating.

What do you do for yourself?
Start a project queue.
Set time on the calendar.
Weekly checkpoint: 20 mins.

    * look or create a comprehensive list of projects. Does each have challenges? If not, make a list.
    * What are the big 3 priorities? Write challenges for each of the 3?
    * Cluster - put similar tasks together for a week
    * when is personal study time
    * anything to prune
    * do you have a purposeful experience on your calendar
    * idea time? plan for creativity

Monthly checkpoint: 1 hr/month
Quarterly checkpoint: examine focus, put items on is that seem beyond your reach.

What is your vocation? What is the underlying theme in everything you do? When have you felt the most engaged, focused and brilliant?

Write a seven-word bio. It can be your mission statement to guide your daily activity.

Be motivated by the very process of doing your work each day. How you define greatness defines us.

"You will be known for what you do so get busy doing what you want to be known for."

Bibliographical Information

The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant At A Moment's Notice

ISBN 978-1-59184-401-3
2011, Penguin Group, Toronto
by Todd Henry