A buddy of mine had a big presentation earlier this week. As a joke, he sent his boss what he claimed was his presentation for her approval. The presentation was only three slides long ... including a title slide and an the-end slide. Not at all humored, she simply replied, "Can you go into more detail?" Still having fun he sent a second presentation that was MUCH larger. The first slide began, "In 1776 ..."
We might all be tempted to think, I wonder how much work he could get done if he didn't play around all the time. Shockingly, the answer is probably, "A lot less."
You see, this friend of mine pretty much works alone. He has a large office, and most of the time he's the only one in it. He has absolutely no one with whom he can collaborate—no one with whom he can communicate creativity. This does not change his need for creative expression, so it has to come out through pranks and antics. This might get on the nerves of some employers, but I think his boss understands an important principle:
Creativity fuels work.
Creativity is the fuel for more than innovation. It is the fuel for work itself. Why? Because it gives the mind an outlet; it gives the mind inspiration, and it gives the mind a break. Some might claim this is not true for work such as manual labor or jobs on an assembly line. I will stand by the statement nonetheless. I have worked on an assembly line; I have worked manual labor in more than one capacity. I can tell you that even swinging a hammer, one needs a creative outlet. However, this outlet can be achieved without "wasting time on the job."
How? With creative collaboration. I was reminded of that this week because Kristen was out of town. I sat here in this office, doing my own thing, desperately needing to communicate (not merely express) ideas of creativity. The fizzing bottle of creativity exploded on my dad when he asked me a simple question via email. A few words would have satisfied his question, but I sent him a lengthy dissertation on the subject. Sorry, Dad.
So, if you find yourself needing motivation at work and don't want to get in trouble for taping a picture of your face on your co-worker's family photos, get up and find a way to communicate some creativity. Stop by your boss's (or employee's) office and run and idea by her. Hang out at the water cooler for a little bit and catch up on the scuttle butt. Or (here's an idea) start a blog and communicate your creativity to 1,000s (or even 10s) of people. Afterall, this is all to fuel your work, right?