Reining in Creativity

What comes after a quiet period is the creative one. I guess most people in creative professions (including scientists!) can agree with this. What is challenging, however, is dealing with bursts of energy and focusing them to the right cause.

After months of job searching and head scratching I’ve recovered to my usual self. But with more challenges than ever. There was good news and there was bad. Funding not likely to come through on the one hand, and a brand new consulting assignment on the other. A real downer vs. absolutely brilliant!

In the past couple of months I’ve been actively doing PE (physical exercise) in the usual forms of yoga and ballet, which gives me much needed energy. I’ve also conned our household course to sustainable practices through hiring help. We have now an excellent cleaner and a babysitter (on call) on board. This will allow me to respond with more flexibility to evening meetings / networking / seminars .. which are plenty! At the same time buddy is feeling more pressure at work from deadlines and assignments and only barely makes it home for dinner during the week.

Little miss sunshine is being a little more sunshiny again this past week. I’ve now started hard-core potty training and got the nursery on board. Hard-core here means simply Off with the nappies! After all, our half a year long attempts to let her slowly “get it” were producing little or no results. Cold turkey it is. Otherwise she is great, helps me regularly cook the evening meal and bake at weekends. Participation is the word, and it keeps her within eyesight and away from harm!

To get back to the title topic, creativity takes thus many guises. In my case it means also juggling with family and household requirements. After the recent measures this departments seems to be more or less under control. Then I can concentrate on picking my brain for other types of creativity! Only yesterday I had a 2-hour lunch meeting with a colleague at the British museum, conjuring up a new piece of research on Primary education, opportunity costs and MDGs (Millenium Development Goals). We are in data gathering stage now, and will proceed to a draft phase in no time.

Other creative outreaches include getting back to all old & new contacts to ensure any and every possible joint venture is given a chance. What I still need this spring, is to place many new bids for funding, and find new areas to conquer in terms of promising research terrain. Start small and then advance further with the most promising pieces of research. Also, since best productivity will come from fruitful collaboration, it is time to sample all these new relationships and grab possible opportunities. A bit like finding a partner or a new friend, on certain levels you need to “click” with collaborative partners as well. Whether you do or not, you will only find out by meeting face-to-face and sharing ideas. Who ever said research need be lonely? It’s just a lot of hard work skimming through the opaque networks of scholars..

Moreover, what belongs to an active start of the year and energizing climate is travel. Next up are Brussels and the Netherlands, on two consecutive weekends, and during the latter trip we will hopefully be able to pick up our visas for Iran! Very excited about the prospect of making that trip later on in the spring. In between Amos will come visit with Ville, with a lot of excellent exhibitions and peaceful time at home with good food planned for then.

What  motivated me to think about time & project management was this recent FT article: Managing the clever but lazy. Focusing creativity and being a good project manager when under a lot of uncertainty is the name of the game in the following months. But the challenge makes it all worth it now doesn’t it? ;)

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