How to do nothing and be more productive

#14 in my 30 Creativity Quotes from 30 Creative Minds series: Michael Bungay Stanier

Welcome to this week’s creativity quote and to make up for my absence, this one’s a three-fer!

First up, a line from a John Lennon song that I used to sing to my own Beautiful Boys:

“Life is what happens to you
while you’re busy making other plans.”

My plans for weekly additions to this series had to be shelved when more pressing matters arose at home.

Thankfully all is well again (or getting there…), but my involuntary sabbatical did highlight the need for flexibility in the creative process.

As fun as it is to plan our big dreams and creative schemes, life happens.

And it’s not always in line with the brief.

But one advantage of exploring the creative life is that we can extend our blossoming skills beyond the studio or writing room.

When life throws down an unexpected gauntlet – we can get creative.

The same skills that serve us so well in our work; curiosity, flexibility, courage, vision and initiative, can also help us cope with the ultimate creative project:


So, now that I’m back to sharing inspiring words from the world’s most creative thinkers, here’s another tip for coping with both life and art (that served me very well during my hiatus):

 how to do nothing be more productive bulldog puppy michael bungay stanier quote

How to be more productive: Do nothing

There’s a vital part of the creative process that involves no creation at all – pause and reflection.

Downing tools for a while can actually be highly productive. 

Whether voluntary or enforced, a little respite can be a fertile activity, creating space for much-needed perspective and fresh insights.

The world keeps turning as we’re busy working on our projects, so it can help to look up every so often to ensure we haven’t drifted off track.

And to back up my claim, I’ll leave you with these sage words from a certain 80s Teen Hero;

how to do nothing be more productive ferris bueller quote
Till next week!

danielle raine creativity coach

PS The above quote is from Do More Great Work, a fun workbook that guides you through a series of maps to help you find your own Great Work.

It’s written by the brilliant Michael Bungay Stanier, the founder of Box of Crayons and if you haven’t seen their video, The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun, I highly recommend it as an inspiring diversion when you next need some creative downtime. 

do more great work book michael bungay stanier be more productive blog

Hi! I'm Danielle.

creative coach danielle raine

creative coach danielle raine l



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