Creative Tension Can Make You More Productive

Creative Tension? Or Tension Stress?

A Time For Results Time Management Tip

Many executives and futurists are saying that the world is experiencing another paradigm shift. A paradigm is a mental model of how we see the world and view reality. A paradigm shift occurs when our basic view of our world’s perspective changes to a new, wider perspective, much like when the inhabitants of the earth realized that the earth rotates around the sun and is not the center of the universe or when masses of people comprehended that the world is round, not flat. Einstein proved all matter is energy and another paradigm was changed, bringing breakthroughs in technology that otherwise would have been impossible.

New breakthroughs in personal productivity can come if a simple paradigm shift is made, a shift from thinking the workday is full of tension stress to realizing that the workday is crammed with creative tension, a good kind of stress.

Tension Stress can be defined as mental, emotional and nervous strain.

Creative Tension is the process of finding new solutions, expanding current reality, and improving the work you produce.

Creative Tension is finding new solutions, expanding current reality and improving the work you produce~Karla Brandau.

To cram your day with creative tension, not tension stress, try this paradigm shift and observe its effect on your workday: Consciously change your paradigm of tension stress which is negative to creative tension which is positive. Creative tension permits stress to be a compelling force to move your work forward. It stretches your intellectual capabilities.

What would happen to your workday if you changed and used this paradigm of tension on even just a few tasks?

Workers who have tried this shift say they feel more relaxed and creative. In this frame of mind, they get more done.

Find tasks that require creative tension and enjoy them~Karla Brandau

By analyzing your work day and noting the times you felt stressed by the stock market, the financial report, the attitude of the director of marketing, a global competitor, or the new intern and then contrasting that to the times you felt stressed at writing the brief, describing the new product line, explaining the new benefits package, or defining your vision of the future, you will see the two kinds of stress are very different.

The first kind of stress is the normal stress we have felt for centuries and is often described in caveman terms: Harry Caveman meets Lenny, the Saber-toothed tiger and must fight or flee. This stress has you reaching for the Rolaids and needing a vacation.

The second kind of stress is the pulling, stretching, compelling tension felt when creating. It is the creative tension of looking for the right word, finding the right metaphor, using the right motivational language. This creative tension is an elating stress. It becomes a defining moment that makes the workday worthwhile and makes you feel self-actualized.

The problem with creative tension from a time management perspective is that it always takes more time then you probably have allotted in your schedule. If you see the extra time it takes to create a thought of excellence as a time waster, something that threw your schedule off, then you will feel tension stress. If, however, you allow time in your schedule to let your mind create, you will feel creative tension, the stress of moving forward and reaching a higher level of performance.Six predictable

Understand the six predictable stages of the creative process~Karla Brandau

The predictable stages in the creative process as summarized by S. Starker are:

Preparation. This involves identification of the problem, project, what you want to write, or accomplish.

Concentrated effort. This includes attempting all the alternative solutions, using your resources, experiencing trial and error.

Frustration. If no solution is found in the previous phase, this is the inevitable result of an expenditure of time and effort with no resolution.

Withdrawal. This includes putting it aside, removing it from the focus of attention. This often helps the unconscious processing.

Insight. Everyone loves the “aha!” moment that seems spontaneous but comes because you returned to the project with fresh perspectives.

Follow through. Nothing is accomplished until you follow through which is the implementation phase or translation of the idea into action.

Creative tension craves resolution, just like hunger and it often wins over hunger. That’s why you stay through lunch to “finish up” and feel a sense of calm and satisfaction when you dot the last “i” or put the last line on the engineering drawing.

Increase #productivity by using creative tension in your workday~Karla Brandau

As you travel through your day, take mental notes of tension stress and creative tension. Work to expand creative tension and decrease tension stress. As you do, you’ll experience the quality of your work improving and you’ll find yourself doing your life’s work and not just doing time.

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You may use this article in your company newsletter if you acknowledge it was written by Karla Brandau and include this byline: Karla Brandau is the CEO of Workplace Power Institute. She speaks and writes on topics that increase organizational and personal productivity. Karla is an expert in time management and can be reached at 770-923-0883 .

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