Procrastination is all part of the creative process right?...
Procrastination and Creativity for me go hand in hand. Although the word procrastination is percieved by many to be time wasting. I have spent enough hours staring at a computer screen, forcing creativity to know that this just isn't the case!
The first time I fully appreciated the positive effects that taking time out had on my creativity and general well being was during a senior sales training programme.
I was selected from my area to join the other top sales people within the UK media group. I remember pulling up in the Taxi on my own, nervous because I didn't know anyone and frightened that I may not have all the answers.
I had my notepad and pen at the ready and I was prepared for my sales skills to be put to the test. My mind was full of irrational thoughts, I'd worked myself up so much that the entire lead up to the training was extremely stressful.
You could imagine my delight then, when we were asked to put our phones away and get our outdoor clothing on to go outside to play! I thought it was a joke at first, a test maybe. Had my boss really sent me away from a busy sales office to play with a bunch of other senior sales staff i'd never met before?
Of course the concept of play was resisted by some. The idea that they'd been taken out of the business to play for two days whilst they still had targets to make was absurd. I on the other hand was over-joyed, all of my anxiety that I'd previously had just dissipated. I love to play and solve problems in a fun and creative way, I'd just become so bogged down that i'd forgotten.
I came alive in an instant. We were all on a level playing field and encouraged to interact with people we didn't know. I found it far easier to let go and shine because I wasn't worried about being judged.
There was no forecasting, analysis of data or beating ourselves up over the troubled economy and stretched targets. Instead we solved the mission impossible through a series of team building exercises, including spider webs, maps, blindfolds and paper mache!
We bonded as a group almost instantly and we worked together to come up with solutions as if we had worked with each other for years. The buzz and the excitement that was radiating from each individual was exhilarating and I was feeling more self assured and motivated than I had for a very long time.
I'd been working for the company for over two years and not once had I been noticed for my work and then all of a sudden I was highlighted as a stand out performer among a group of Senior Managers.
I remember returning to the office and my colleagues looking at me as if I was mad, when I was telling them about how I'd tackled spider webs, zip wires and glass walks - meanwhile they were grinding away in the office. They joked; 'It sounds like you've been to a hippy convention not Senior Management Training.
I couldn't really argue with them as the last thing I felt I'd done was work. For the first time in a long time, I was forced to take some time out to reflect/let go and it was all OK and above board because it was my work that sent me there in the first place.
What I could never have prepared myself for was just how much this amazing experience would have changed my entire life, not just work. I felt revived and ready to take on the world.
Before this training I'd considered leaving the business because I thought it was going to be impossible to reach the targets that i'd been given during an economic downturn, however after the training my perception had completely changed and I started to look at problems differently, with more creativity, focus and control.
I was reminded of how much I loved being creative and inventive and I used my new found skills to develop new business. I not only hit targets that I once believed to be impossible, I smashed them! I got onto the first programme of excellence within Bauer Media along with the nine top Sales Managers within the UK. I then went on to win the Bauer Media Award for One to Watch, the following year.
Taking two days out to play and explore led to two years of creative flow and success for me. The word Procrastination unfortunately has negative connotations attached to it however I'm living proof that taking time out can help you to come up with your best work.
Two days out to play had life changing consequences for me so imagine what this could do for an entire workforce. It doesn't have to be two days, it could be as simple as going for a walk or a communal room where your employees can go to relax and play for 2o minutes. Click here to get some fun exercises your team can take part in within the office to help their creative flow.
If your team are de-motivated and not performing then I suspect they have been hitting their heads against the same brick wall for too long, so how about we help you to change things up a bit. Together we can knock the negativity out of the word Procrastination.
Here's 10 reasons as to why procrastination helps improve productivity in the workplace;
1. You create work that you are passionate about
2. You will feel less stressed
3. You will produce more (Quality over Quantity)
4. You will have higher self esteem
5. You will have more quality time with loved ones (happy home life makes for a happier work life)
6. It keeps things simple (We're conditioned to believe that the more we work ourselves into the ground and the more complicated we make something the better the outcome will be, I've yet to see any truth in this, how about you?
7. Your natural creativity will flow. (Forcing something can take you ten times as long and the work will be ten times less effective.)
8. You will take more time for yourself (working so much that you don't stop for lunch or take yourself away from a computer screen will not help your over-all health and your body will no longer be able to function at it's fullest potential.)
9. Creates strong team spirit. (By encouraging play and time outs within a team, your employees will form closer bonds and a greater understanding of the other people that they work with, which is difficult to do when your head is stuck under a mound of paperwork and chaos).
10. It can improve your sickness records. (many of us just keep going and going because we are made to believe that this is the definition of Hard Work however if you are running yourself into the ground, it is only a matter of time before you burn out and can't find your way back.)
If you are interested in incorporating experiential play and learning into your sales offices to improve performance, then click here to find out about our DeNA Bollocks in Business programme.