We all work a little differently depending on our personality, and that goes for creative work, too. Knowing your habits, behaviours and weaknesses can help you optimise your creativity. Photo by Shane Adams.
A study from the Journal of Creative Behaviour proposed that there are three main personality factors that dictate how we work:
Plasticity: High openness, extraversion, energy and inspiration.
Divergence: Low agreeableness and conscientiousness, high non-conformity and impulsivity
Convergence: High ambition, precision, persistence, and critical sense
It helps to know which one of those describes you best when diving into the next part of the study: finding your creative process. Over at the Canva blog, writer Adrienne Branson explains:
...according to these two process types as identified in the study:
Generation, which involves coming up with new ideas (quantity — someone who has lots of ideas); and,
Selection, which involves narrowing down your ideas to their best version (quality — someone who has a few good ideas).
So, are you a generator or a selector?
The study found that those with high levels of plasticity and divergence, with their drive for new experiences, favour the generation process. They are very good at coming up with lots and lots of new ideas, but they might not all be the best ideas.
Conversely, the study found that those with high levels of convergence favour the selection process. They may not be the best at coming up with lots of new ideas, but they excel at spending time perfecting the few that they do come up with.
It's hard to fit everyone into one of two boxes, but chances are, you can relate to one of those more than the other, and that's the important part. Once you identify the creative process that describes you best, you know which one doesn't fit, so you can focus on improving that "weakness" to optimise your workflow.
For example, if you're a generator who needs to be a better selector, you might focus on clocking your hours and sticking to your idea using something like the Pomodoro Method.
You might already have a hunch of where your weaknesses lie, but labelling them can help you understand and manage them better. Branson offers a number of additional tips at the link below.