Something I think about a lot is creative energy.
It sounds like some mystical, hippy concept, but it’s real. Creative energy is the capacity for an individual to do original, imaginative work. It’s a finite resource, and the ratio of creative energy to overall energy is tiny.
The limits of creative energy
In a day, the amount of creative work I can do is probably about 4 hours. With physical work I could do double that, maybe even triple. When the body is physically tired, you can still get the job done but it might take a little longer. When you’re mentally tired and you have to do creative work, it’s much harder, maybe even impossible.
I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve been stuck on a problem, and went to bed and then solved it instantly the following morning. Creative energy and productivity don’t obey the same rules as traditional work - if you work more, you can actually get less done.
Preserving creative energy
If creative energy is so precious, how do you preserve it? Or furthermore, how do you increase it?
- get enough sleep
- get inspired by lots of different sources
- regular breaks
- a healthy body
- a good work environment
- find meaning in your work
- push your skills
- experiment with new ideas and ways of working
- don’t work too much
A lot of jobs now are all about optimising creative energy. It’s fundamental to the success of many people, companies, and even countries which are betting on innovation to drive economic growth. So better get it right, hey?