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Creative teams thrive on flexibility, turning out some of their best work when given the freedom to explore, experiment, and push boundaries.

But are there times when too much of a good thing can be, well, too much?

In many circumstances, a laissez-faire, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach can actually become an obstacle to creativity, and certainly to productivity.

Disorganization and lack of structure can be paralyzing, causing even the best teams to become overtaken by chaos. A lack of clear direction, continual rework, too many meetings, and not enough uninterrupted creative time to get work done all curtail creativity, prohibit productivity, and sap team members' enthusiasm and energy.

More than one-third of workers cite lack of "standard" processes for workflow and poor prioritization as two primary obstacles that get in the way of work. Worse yet, most employees spend less than half of their workday actually doing work. The rest is wasted on email, busywork, and meetings.

On the other hand, teams that are well-organized, with a clear focus, and which eliminate clutter and distractions, are much more creative, effective, and productive, and they even have time for those urgent, fire-drill projects that inevitably pop up.

Although some creatives balk at the notion of structure and organization, the reality is that every team needs some amount of structure to maintain sanity and to be truly effective.

The secret to maintaining a healthy balance is to add the ideal amount of process and systems to keep everyone organized, without allowing the structure itself to get in the way. You can have the best of both worlds. Here's how.

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image of Joe Staples

Joe Staples is chief marketing officer of Workfront, a Cloud-based enterprise work automation solution that helps marketing, IT, and other teams avoid excessive email, redundant status meetings, and disconnected tools.

LinkedIn: Joe Staples

Twitter: @jstaples21