I work in an environment where everyone desires to innovate. So we have innovation programs and projects in place and people can set aside time to work on their initiatives. Yet everyone still feels we can do more, and we fail to have an innovative culture. I think it is because although we have all the preconditions, client projects always get priority, and it is literally at the end of our day that we find the time to work on our innovation initiatives, if at all.
The solution is time management, although I rather speak about energy management. But it is different from the traditional definition. Recently I spoke with a colleague who is creative and innovative, has a great desire to do cool stuff, but does not get to it. We reviewed his average day to see why he would not get to it. So we made a schedule. He would start his day at 9AM working on client projects; if time left he would support the business development function, if then was time left he would work on another company initiative, and if then if any time was left, he may work on an innovation initiative. By then it would be 6PM or past, and his energy level was on a low.
I advised him to identify his personal “moment of energy” in the day, and spend it on something he really wants to accomplish, e.g., the innovation initiative. That’s my advice to anyone who wants to get accomplished something that she or he really wants: claim that hour or so in your day at which your creative energy is at a peak, and do what you really want to do. Use that time slot to have your creative juices flow, and make sure that you have the means with you to have them materialize and document them.
The moment of energy is probably different for every person. Mine is in the early morning, and I may spend it at the kitchen table or at Starbucks, writing and drawing, just before I come into the office to do my daily job. Your moment of energy may be different, for example in the evening or night. The thing is to recognize it and claim it as yours. When you enjoy your moment of energy like this, I am sure that the rest of your day will also be more gratifying and productive.