In my second post on building creative surplus – the time and energy we need to invest in creative thinking – I describe the OOOOOO, an approach for overcoming organisational overwhelm and takes away our creative time,

As I set out yesterday, creative surplus is the product of time and attention. Today we are beginning the journey of reclaiming the time we need for creative thinking.

I hear many people talking about us being in a crisis of attention or under a deluge of information. “I have too many things to do.” “I have too many inputs.” While I find these observations may ring true, they have a disempowering spin on them: these are things that happen to us.

Reframing overwhelm, use the OOOOOO

Instead, I have found two observations that help me frame this situational overwhelm in a more actionable, systemic way. I call them the OOOOOO, or Oliver’s Observations on Overcoming Organisational Overwhelm.

Every input we receive is as a result of a choice that we have made.

There are simply too many things to get done.

Oliver’s Observations On Overcoming Organisational Overwhelm

I took inspiration for the first observation from Mark Forster’s ‘Secrets of Productive People’. Every input that I receive is as result of a decision I have made. If I want to have to have fewer inputs then I need to make different choices.

The second observation comes from diligently following the David Allen‘s Getting Things Done method for many years. While I like the approach in general, I found my to-do lists getting longer and longer. It is not possible to get everything done. I find tasks on a to-do list can be like the heads of Hydra: get rid of one and two more pop up. Rather than getting everything done, we can focus on getting the important things done – like creative thinking – and accepting that the other things may not get done.

I think these two observations have the potential to put us back in control of whether or not we feel overwhelmed. But to put theory into practice you need a bit of time – Chief Creative Officer time. That will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.