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I was fortunate to have a corporate job where I could bring all the analytical, creative, research nerdy, music-loving, reflective, and outgoing parts of me into my work duties doing strategic planning and marketing communications. Being able to extinguish the work/personal life boundary so many people have to maintain was fantastic. There were very strong lines, however, between my corporate job and all the blogging and speaking already going on as Brainzooming, even though the two separate activities fed each other in a healthy way.

For as much as I’ve tried to have even fewer boundaries since leaving my corporate job, however, I’m surprisingly discovering renewed appreciation for the importance of boundaries.

Photo by: soundboy | Source: photocase.com

Good Fences Make Good Creativity

Working from a home office much of the time, there are now almost no boundaries between The Brainzooming Group and the rest of my life. Pretty much everything revolves around the business, which now includes both strategy and innovation work for clients and all the blogging and speaking that used to be what Brainzooming solely represented.

Interestingly enough, that’s now a challenge.

The few boundaries I did have between work and Brainzooming (which was more of a creative writing outlet) previously made both better. Now, the lack of boundaries between work and writing is having detrimental impacts, especially on blog writing. Blogging time used to be Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning, then it was over for the week. It was hardly ever an issue to get five (and for a long time, ten) blog posts done during this time window because I knew there would be no blog writing opportunities during the workweek.

Now, blogging can happen any time, and it’s constantly a mental struggle between time spent blogging and responsibilities for client project work, business development, and all the other things for running a business.

Not only has this boundary-less work and creative situation made it more difficult to invest time in writing, the geography and tools of work and blog writing are now blurred in a negative way. The office environment that used to be new and fresh for Friday night blogging is the same place I’ve been working since 5:15 a.m. It’s made writing difficult for the first time in a VERY long time.

No particular answers yet, other than a new respect for healthy, creativity-inducing boundaries and a commitment to figure out how to re-establish some helpful boundaries.

Finding New Places for Good Creativity

Have you dealt with a similar creative challenge in the absence of positive creative boundaries around your work? What changes have you made to address it? – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6 Responses to “The Importance of Creative Boundaries – Good Fences Make Good Creativity”

  1. Alex says:

    I’ve developed a pretty strict rule that unless I’m on a client project that requires it as part of my scope of work, my home office closes at 6 p.m. That time is for my daughter, wife and personal interests. I’m very lucky to have carved that out and still made a great living. Of course, the desire to write a new blog post about every other hour or two is a struggle! Good luck.

    • Mike Brown says:

      It’s interesting Alex that most of the responses here and on FB have focused on protecting time. That’s part of it, but a big part of the challenge is that my work environment (which included creativity) and my creative environment (which included some work) are now one and the same. 

      • Michael says:

        I’m a creative thinker, artist, inventor and business manager who has worked from home for over twenty years.

        I’m rarely creative when I’m trying to be, or when I most need to be. It can be difficult to be creative while staring at a blank canvas. I’ve discovered that exposure to fresh, new stimuli is a key ingredient to the creative process.

        When my creative arteries get clogged, I like to go to my local book store, order a coffee and start browsing through magazines on interesting topics. Sometimes I will choose nonfiction books on subjects of interest, but magazines, being a more condensed format, enables me to browse-read more quickly. Also, magazines are heavily illustrated, which helps to spark new ideas through visual stimuli.

        Expect creativity to strike unexpectedly at any time and any place, and always be prepared to record notes for later use. I carry a small note pad everywhere I go, and keep one beside my bed. Some of my best ideas have come to me while lying in bed when it’s too early to get up, but my brain is too active to go back to sleep. One thing for sure- if I get a good idea and think I’ll remember it for later development, if I don’t make a note right away, I’ll almost certainly forget about it forever.

        Good blog/website Mike!     

  2. Dave Wellman says:

    I am also aware of the difficulties that working from home can bring. I have subdivided my day and have informed my clients of my new “office hours.” The hard part is to not allow circumstances to keep my day correctly divided.

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