At first glance, structure and creativity seem to be like fire and water, enemies that can’t co-exist. But my experience on the football pitch has taught me something completely different.
“For me, planning ahead on the training field and beyond the sidelines is the key to creating space for my creativity.”
My experience on the pitch shaped my entire personality and especially my attitude towards business life.
Structure: an athlete’s attitude
My favorite to-do list has always been my football training plan, which I created only for myself. Ticking these boxes was as important as my school homework. I always wanted to be the best on the pitch, especially because I played against boys. To stand out, I observed my football idols and practiced their tricks in the backyard of my parents’ house. But the most important points on my football to-do list were the ‘boring’ basics, like endurance runs, sprints, coordination exercises, ball control, passing and shooting.
“The advance planning enabled me to fully concentrate on the pending training task in each session.”
On the pitch I could focus on solving the game situation rather than dealing with a lack of skills. I let my creativity flow and played the unexpected pass or a smart assist. Obviously I wasn’t loved by my male opponents. They could never deal with getting nutmegged by a girl.
If you want to shine on the pitch you have to do the donkey work first.
How to nutmeg every business challenge by having a plan
I’ve learned from my football passion that a firm and reliable baseline is the key for making room for creativity and using it in a meaningful, effective way. Being structured is an essential principle in business life.
“By perfecting the basics I create room in my head for ideas, and my thoughts can fly out of the box.”
I don’t have to waste my energy on essential skills, because they are there, I trust them and can rely on them. The second learning I took away from my sport is that to-do lists help you to stay focused. By noting down your tasks and giving them priorities, you are able to remove them from your consciousness. You can concentrate fully on new tasks with more energy and space to allow you to make up your mind and find the perfect solution.
Finding balance between different work streams and deadlines can be tough sometimes. Free yourself by developing a meaningful structure.
Don’t get lost in the crowd
A logical result of working with such a structure is that you feel less busy and more relaxed when dealing with complex tasks or with many tasks at one and the same time. A clear route or gameplan can improve performance and avoid you getting lost in a disarray of tasks, topics and to-dos.
Making to-do-lists in a fun way will help you find your perfect workflow.
Creating a structure is not rocket science: you should be your own boss when it comes to your individual project plan, working structure or to-do list. Some people like to use apps or software to manage their tasks, others match them with their corresponding deadlines in a calendar or they just take a piece of paper and a pencil and write them down.
“Whatever your plan looks like, it needs to feel comfortable and be part of your everyday life. Then you’ll have found your perfect structure style!”