Consistency in developing habits for success creates space for creativity and innovation to thrive. Structures can help you to develop a flow to the work you do, giving you clarity of vision.
Todd Henry, in his book Accidental Creative, discusses how creativity is a natural rhythm
"but the creative process is naturally rhythmic. There are peaks and troughs of productivity, an ebb and flow to idea generation.
Working harder and staring more intently at the problem to achieve better ideas is like trying to control the weather by staring at the clouds.
Rather, you need to incorporate practices that instill a sense of structure, rhythm, and purpose into your life. You need to create space for your creative process to thrive rather than expect it to operate in the cracks of your frenetic schedule."
Teachers are some of the most creative people I know. They are also some of the greatest risk-takers when it comes to trying new things in their work. However, they are often perceived as being anti-change, seeking stability over risk-taking and innovation. This perception I believe, is because many people outside of teaching do not fully understand the complexity of the work of teachers. Because of this complexity, teachers are strategic in the changes they make and the risks they take knowing that when they do, the effects are felt by each of the students in their care. It’s this tension between taking-risks and innovating and stability that many people outside of education do not understand.
This is why I believe it’s important for teachers to develop daily habits, structures that support space for creativity. I also believe that these habits can be incorporated throughout the school day to allow for space for students’ creative adventures.
Todd Henry discusses how it’s important to be deliberate in how you use your time and energy. He describes this as:
"Prolific + Brilliant + Healthy = producing great work consistently and in a sustainable way"
When any of the three are out of balance, dissonance results, affecting your life and work. For teachers, some who are required to work another job just to make ends meet, this can seem like an impossible task. However developing a rhythm to the day and finding time to develop habits that help you thrive is possible.
As a father of 8 children, I know I didn’t think it was possible. How could I find time for this? Parenting, teaching, coaching - all these took up so much of my time. But because I didn’t take time to step back, reflect, clearly identify my destination, manage my time and energy, I eventually burned out.
While the overstressed, "gasping for air" worker is the celebrated hero of office folklore, for the creative, being one of these is simply not a realistic and sustainable way to do great work. Todd Henry
This is so true. But in stepping back and deciding on your destination, know that there will be hard decisions to make about how you use your energy and where you spend your time. You cannot compare your journey to that of others nor measure your successes based on others’ opinions. In an always on, hyper-connected social world, that isn’t easy. However, to move forward toward your destination, daily habits of reflection and determining actions can help you to remained focused on your path.
As I runner, I know that I have to focus on the path ahead of me. This is especially true when I am doing any sort of cross-country trek - my primary focus is on the path ahead. I take time to occasionally look around to see what is happening and where I am but these are short glances. I quickly return to the path ahead since one misstep could be pretty painful! I also know that I tend to go where I am looking so if I spend too much time looking left or right, I tend to begin to go in that direction.
It’s the same in other areas of our lives. Spending too much time looking at what others are doing, takes us away from our path. Comparing our path to theirs doesn’t help us move forward and, in many cases, can often limit us, keeping us from making progress because we are too busy wondering why they seem to be ahead of us.
When I run, I compete against myself, trying to improve my times or distance or both. I can’t worry about the person who just passed me and continues to pull away - it messes with my rhythm and often affects my running. Instead, I’ve learned to focus keeping my rhythm going, speeding up or slowing down as needed but always aware that I need to get back to my home when I’m done!
Consistently developing daily habits is key to making progress in all areas of our lives. Spending too much time focused on one area creates dissonance that will affect the others areas, sometimes in profound ways that take us far from our original destination. It also provides space for creativity and innovation. Structure does not have to be limiting. Disciplined actions can allow us to do deep work that often leads to creative breakthroughs and innovative ideas.
Consistency - Clarity - Vision.
Be creative - Be Innovative
Every day is a PD day