Inspiration Stimulates Productivity and Engagement

(Image Credit: Doug Buckley of http://hyperactive.to)

I saw this on Facebook earlier today:

Jeannette Maw loved this from Jason Fried’s Rework: “When you’re high on inspiration, you can get two weeks of work done in 24 hours. Inspiration is a time machine that way. Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. But it won’t wait for you. Inspiration is a now thing. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.”

“Yeah, exactly!” echoed the little voice in my head. Inspiration is, hands down, the best way to increase productivity.

I know this because I have experienced it. For example, yesterday, I wasn’t inspired at all. I got about a quarter to a half of the work done that I ordinarily could expect to do in a day. The December before last, I was completely inspired and wrote a 200 page book in 10 days. When it catches you, your job is to identify what’s just happened, make use of it, and then enjoy the brilliant time warp it thrusts you into, allowing you to accomplish superhuman knowledge work in compressed amounts of time.

But inspiration is sensitive to environmental conditions. I can’t be inspired when I’m tired. I can’t be inspired when I’m distracted by other things, like reading blog posts on the web or checking for text messages or new tweets on my Droid. I can’t be inspired when I have a cold, and I just want to curl up under a comforter and read. I can’t be inspired when I’m too hot, too cold, or too irritated by a friend or coworker’s antics.

So why, I thought, aren’t we promoting inspiration more in our organizations? Why aren’t we providing programs and environments where people can tap into that natural inspiration and become ultimately productive? And then I realized – we are – sort of. But we call it engagement.

When we are engaged, we are inspired. We tap into that natural flow where we become focused, and directed, and amazingly productive. When we are not engaged, we harbor low productivity, high absenteeism, and contribute to high turnover in our organizations (see, for example, “Great Britain’s Workforce Lacks Inspiration”).

However, I’d also like to propose that engagement is a symptom – a consequence of feeling good and having a high quality consciousness!

Let’s work on the root causes, and focus less on the symptoms.  The root causes of quality consciousness – Awareness, Alignment and Attention – combined with the positive well-being that fuels them, can (and should) be used to cultivate greater engagement in our organizations.

6 replies »

  1. Awesome. I tend to have short bursts of super high productivity (1-4 hours) which seems me to be more of an extreme FOCUS time for me. Then I get interrupted person, phone call, email, meeting or just mentally tire. Like you state, the key is getting into these zones more often and extending them if possible. I know that IF I can shut out distractions I can extend, so I shutdown email, move my iPhone out of visual range and I have some great earphones that shuts the world off and listen to some upbeat music or sometimes more contemplative music.

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