Myth: "Creativity needs room to blossom."
Marketers, and especially designers, are creative by nature. So there is a tendency to want to remove the restraints of structure or "process" because "creativity needs freedom." Creatives worry that organization and process are constraining and take away from time that could be spent creating.
But without work processes in place, you lose more time than you gain.
Up-front planning, with clear objectives to achieve a strategic goal, doesn't just add "one more thing to do and update." Rather, it helps streamline work and avoid potential errors.
And errors are the true culprit that eats up time that could be better spent on creative endeavors.
Jed Simms, founder and co-creator of TOP (Totally Optimized Projects), notes that on average 30-35% of project time is spent on rework, including revising reports, revisiting decisions, redoing work, correcting errors, checking again, and repeating steps. Simms also points out that reducing the need for rework releases 15-20% of project time and effort for more productive work.
With the right structures in place—for example, standardized work requests, templates for repetitive work, complete campaign plans, and a clear approval process—you can save time various ways. You get the feedback you need at the right time and from the right people, reducing the amount of time you spend waiting on approvals, doing repetitive tasks, and reworking projects, thus giving you more time to spend in the right side of your brain.
In short, structure creates time for creativity.
Bryan Nielson is the CMO and work management evangelist at AtTask, maker of cloud-based enterprise work management solutions. He is the author of the e-book The Five Most Dangerous Marketing Productivity Myths: BUSTED!
LinkedIn: Bryan Nielson