How To Be More Productive By Working Less

ProductiveWe are often overwhelmed by how much there is to do and often think that we can push through and get it all done by working more hours. While there may be a time for that, for the most part the old saying is true: “work smarter, not harder”. When you do, not only will you get your time back but you will be more productive.

Slow Down And Brainstorm

Sometimes the best thing you can do to be more productive is to slow down, back off, ease up and do a little brainstorming. You may feel you don’t have time to brainstorm and dream, truth is you don’t have time to not brainstorm and dream.

Here’s something I do away from the canvas. When facing a problem, I’ll prayerfully discipline myself to write out up to 25 solutions before I consider making a decision: the greater the problem, the higher my total of potential solutions. Often, many of my ideas are ridiculous, unaffordable, and improbable; however, that sort of creative discipline always paves the way to creative solutions that work. I’ll also brainstorm with people who have tapped into their God-given creativity. My wife Kathy is one of the most creative thinkers I know. In any brainstorm session, she will come up with creative ideas I never considered. My staff is always looking for creative solutions to any problem. I love to sit with them and brainstorm ideas and possibilities. The key to having successful brainstorming sessions is to realize there are no stupid ideas. It’s alright to put whatever comes to mind on the table, regardless how “out of this world” it may be. Often someone throws out a crazy idea that stimulates a new idea in another person in the room. Together, we are then able to develop the ideas to a creative practical solution and put with it a strategy that’s doable. The more time you spend brainstorming, the more productive you’ll be.

Discipline Your Creative Energy

Creativity requires patience. God is disciplined and part of His characteristics for you is self-discipline. A masterpiece is not created in haste. It’s birthed from the creative, thoughtful patience of a skilled artist. A great symphony is written through the diligence and discipline of a composer. I’m often asked by other artists how I can paint so many paintings so quickly (I paint about 12-15 paintings each month). My answer is simple: I paint. What I mean is I don’t wait to feel inspired; if I waited for inspiration, I would rarely paint. I’ve learned from the coaching of masters that the more I choose to paint from an attitude of discipline, the more creative I am and the more inspired I become. Creativity is nurtured through discipline.

Pray And Meditate

Be sure to also take time to pray, read the Bible, and ask God to show you creative solutions through His Word. As you pray and meditate try to choose those in your inner circle carefully. You’ve probably been with a group of people where someone came up with a great idea, only to have it shot down by a person who was negative or always looking at the downside. Part of the discipline of being productive is guarding who you allow to influence your life.

Life Palette blog is adapted from my book Life Palette: “God created a masterpiece…and it’s you!”

Next Step

Which of the three sub titles listed above can you put into action today to be more productive?


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