I was recently discussing with another consultant that there is a perception that in order to be creative at your work, you need to focus on being expressive and free of the encumbrances of structure and habits. This consultant was of the strong view that he was not keen to focus on getting better at his time management, planning and prioritisation as he felt it would inhibit his ability to think big picture, innovate and add value.

This is a common perception I have noted with consultants and in my opinion, it is wrong. Wrong for the opposite rationale that the perception is based on. 

Positive proactive habits that focus on planning, time management and prioritisation create additional time. Time is a critical ingredient to innovation and creativity as without it, you cannot create anything of value.  Daily, weekly and monthly planning are all critical to ensuring you are focussing on what you need to.

 The other critical ingredients include the importance of delegating and ensuring you play to your strengths. Who in the team can undertake activities that free you up? The use of virtual assistants and outsourcing arrangements are two good resources that are cost effective and efficient.  Once you combine this with what planning and delegation does to your mindset in emptying your cup, you are well on your way to creating the space you need to be innovative.

The link to systemisation to this discussion is the ability this provides to also freeing up your time.  Those repetitive, transactional and time consuming tasks no longer take time and energy away to the same levels that they did in the past. You have taken the time to systemise, automate and outsource as much as you can to ensure that this frees you up as a consultant.

The space has now been created for innovation and creativity to thrive. Not by being free and easy but by consciously embedding habits, systems and planning to enable the additional time and energy to be made available to you to be innovative and drive value.

Don’t view structure, systems and habits as a dirty word. See it as an enabler or the key to unlocking the padlock that is the time and energy that is so critical for any innovation to thrive.