The Done List

The trouble with to-lists we don’t always complete them.  We do half the list and then the rest gets transferred to the next day’s list. 

A long to-do list means we’ve got a lot to do it doesn’t mean we do a lot.

At the end of each day, why not think about what you’ve achieved that day rather than what you’ve got to do tomorrow.

That’s why you need a ‘Done’ list.

The to-do list is about goals, Done Lists are about achievements.

Here’s my idea: buy a new diary, and at the end of every day write in it what you’ve achieved.

The important thing to remember is, this is just for you. You make the rules on what is worthy of going on your Done List. It could be business or personal, or it could be both. It could be winning a major piece of business, it could be spending an hour’s quality time with your child or it could just be finding some time to read a book.

What matters is; taking time at the end of every day to think about what has brought you satisfaction, then make a note of it.

At the end of the week or month or year, you can look back at your Done List diary and see what you’ve achieved.

They say ‘history will be the judge’. Now your history will be there for you to judge.

You can't unleash creativity

Imagine you’re in your own brain and you suddenly find a hidden door. You open that door and it leads to a dark, dusty corridor. You brush away the cobwebs and come to a rickety staircase leading to a little attic room. As you make your way slowly up the creaking staircase you can see golden light coming from underneath the attic door. You hear a child’s laughter coming from the room. You get to the top step and excitedly turn the door handle and……

So many books, blogs and articles talk about ‘finding your inner child’ or ‘unleashing you creativity’, as if there’s some secret ‘creative’ compartment in your brain waiting to be discovered.

It’s both wrong and dangerous. When people go looking for this source of creativity and can’t find it, they think they weren’t blessed with the gift of being creative.

A creative mind is made by being open and curious as well as being prepared to put in the hard work to find an answer to whatever problem you’re trying to solve.

Of course, there is a secret compartment that makes us creative, but it’s an area none of us can access: our unconscious mind.  All we can do is feed it and wait for it to offer us its gems of wisdom.

You don’t unleash your creativity you create the conditions for creativity to happen.

There is no 'I' in team, but there is in brainstorm.

The brainstorm hasn’t really changed since it was first introduced in the 1950’s. A group of people get together to find a solution to a problem. They say whatever they want, however silly it may seem and any analytical judgement is reserved for later.

But recently there has been growing criticism of the brainstorm as a method for coming up with fresh and innovative ideas.

The problem is with the way brainstorms are used. They should only ever be part of the creative process. People spouting off the first thing that comes into their head, can reveal how imaginative they are, but it doesn’t show creativity.

All really great creative ideas require the involvement of the unconscious and a group can’t think unconsciously. This is where the ‘I’ in brainstorm comes in.

The brainstorm needs an individual element. One way of getting this is to have less people involved and longer brainstorms.

A perfect example is the writing/creative team. Television scriptwriters often work in teams of two, so do advertising creatives.

They’ll sit together all day trying to think of a great idea.  Of course, they won’t be coming up with ideas all the time. But that’s what many people don’t realise; it’s those parts of the day when they get stuck and start to chat about rubbish or make endless cups of tea, that are an important parts of the creative process. That’s when your unconscious is getting to work on the problem.

I would split the creative process into five stages:

1.     Information

2.     Imagination

3.     Incubation

4.     Illumination

5.     Implementation

Stages 3 and 4 are the unconscious stages of the creative process and can only ever come out of one person’s head. But brainstorms can be of great value for the other stages.

Here’s how they can be used to great effect:

1.     Information: To get great ideas don’t think about the solution, think about the problem. Everyone can bring as much information as they can regarding the problem. Pooling this information will make everyone’s ideas stronger. Give people time to think about the problem individually before getting back together as a group.

2.     Imagination: Let people come up with as many ideas as they can without judging them. Now this is how the majority of brainstorms are used now. But the whole point of this stage is to feed the various individuals’ unconscious minds. Those crazy ideas should never be expected to be the solution. There just fodder for your unconscious to do its stuff.

5.     Implementation: This is the final stage, when someone’s had a great idea, but it needs knocking into shape. This is when a supportive group can nuture the idea and make it as strong as it can be.

For better ideas, always make sure there's an ‘I’ in your brainstorm.