woman creating

I have to admit being a bit of a Productivity Nerd. I have numerous cross-platform to-do apps on my computer, including Microsoft To Do, Things, and OmniFocus. (Currently, Things 3 is my favorite.) I’ve read all of David Allen’s books, track with my friend Michael Hyatt, and follow the guys over at Asian Efficiency. In my role as CEO, managing our team at Cooke Media Group, and working with our clients, productivity matters. It helps me keep track of what needs to be done, and keeps me on point to make it happen.

When you’re working with clients, if you can’t deliver, you’re out of business.

As David Allen says, half of our stress is knowing that there are things out there we need to do, but we can’t remember them all. Getting them down into a list, and then organizing and prioritizing that list lowers our stress, and helps us reach our goals.

However, when it comes to my creative work, productivity is far less important.  Creativity is hard work, but it’s also about inspiration, timing, and flow. When it comes to original ideas, you can’t just check off boxes and move on. Creativity is about blocking off times where you can think, read, and wander. It might be about taking a walk, shooting baskets, or doing nothing at all. You can learn far more about these secrets in my book “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking.”

The bottom line is that if you want to maximize your creativity (and who doesn’t?), learn to find that balance between productive time and creative time. After all, as much as I like checking off boxes of finished tasks, some of my most significant time is spent just staring out windows. Sometimes you have to schedule times just to reflect and do nothing in order to spark those creative moments.

How about you? How have you found the balance between productive time and creative time?


Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Their Credibility and How We Get It Back.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com.


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