The Paradox of Productivity
Someone said something and one thing led to another as ideas flowed between you to create something bigger than either of you could have imagined.
Now I would like you to imagine when you were the most productive you have ever been. It was that time in college when you crammed two days straight for your impossible calculus test and aced the exam wasn’t it?
Or one of a million other scenarios, with the caveat being you were alone, isolated, free to work and do as you pleased.
ARE… “Two Minds are Better than One” ???
We have all heard this old adage many a time but what does it truly mean? And is it even right?
Well first we should start by defining productivity and creativity:
Productivity is being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.
Typically being productive is termed with getting things done and feeling a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Whether that is finishing the report for your boss, going for a run or just getting to inbox zero(ie doing the impossible).
Creativity is on the other hand being able to transcend traditional rules, ideas, or patterns to create new and meaningful ideas, forms, or interpretations.
So now we may proceed in the analysis of this common saying. Are two minds better than one? The short answer. Yes.
But the short answer is not really what we are looking for so here we go.
If you remember from the previous post, multi-tasking kills productivity by about 40%.
Well working with another individual is in fact multi-tasking. For example, if you have ever been at work hammering away at some big project when a co-worker came up to ask you a question you probably answer them and turned back to your work.
“Oh crap where was I?”
Well that distraction caused you to lose your place or train-of-thought or groove. And yes, THE ZONE is a real thing. People can get into super productive working frenzies where they are able to knock out tasks in record pace.
Because this surge of productivity is real, if two team members are not in sync, the productive one will suffer.
By merely separating the two co-workers however, each is able to be as productive as possible, leading to the conclusions that the work of employee A and B combined exceeds that of employee A. Two heads are better than one.
This is part of the appeal of remote workers and is causing the clamor from skilled workers everywhere.
In addition to the beauty of being able to work from home, the beach, or really wherever you desire digital nomads are able to achieve much higher levels of productivity by isolating themselves and knocking out tasks.
Now we come to creativity however.
What is the verdict for creativity? Well this is fairly obvious actually. Teams are almost always much more creative than individual members. This is called the mind meld effect.
The Mind Meld Effect is a useful strategy in entrepreneurship and designer circles is a bit like a game where individuals are able to bounce ideas of one another. Because ideas and words make individuals react differently the topic of conversation twists and turns so dramatically, that eventually you arrive at something none of you would have thought of or thought possible.
The spark of brilliance, often described by inventors, scientists, and artists often comes from different experiences striking a chord with them. It just…. Happens.
So what does this all mean for you as an entrepreneur?
Well really it depends on the needs to be accomplished. For brainstorming business ideas or strategies, the co-founders should all be meeting regularly for maximum creativity. If you need to finish a blog post or work on coding, this may be better suited for individual work.
Allowing members to work in separated, but close proximity environments allows you to reap the productivity benefits while still being able to have meetings for creativity.