Friday, June 20, 2008

Fix and Flex Part 1

How do you create order and process if you are a creative/innovative person? This is one of those age old questions. We look at those creatives in our lives and many times they are tipified by the all-nighters, messy desks and ignored calendars. That is a stereotype of creative minds.

Mindy and I recently read an article that Dayna Garland, Creative Director at HCJB Global, gave us. It was entitled "How to Become an Early Riser" by Steve Pavlina. In this article he focuses on his journey to being an early riser. He did it because he saw that some of the most productive hours in the day were the early ones. I would highly recommend the read, but for this posting, I am only taking one of his core ideas and throwing it out there for a wider application.

His basic solution was what I am calling "Fix and Flex." In the article, he said that the way he was able to change his habits and become an early riser was to fix the morning time he would get up but flex the evening time based on how tired he was. Fix and Flex - sounds simple.

The beauty of this simple little concept is that it is the saving grace for all you creatives out there. Usually the answer to more discipline is a high amount of rigid restrictions. We see this in New Years Resolutions. In those high restrictions, compliance becomes very difficult. Usually, we fail and then give up.

The difference with fix and flex is that you fix one thing but you allow the more relaxed process of creativity to dictate the other. Let me give you another example. Lets say that my goal was to write in this blog three times a week. With this concept, I would fix the number of times I wanted to write but not when. That means that one week all three posts might come in the same night and the next week they would come on Monday Wednesday and Friday.

Are you seeing the applications? In the end, it is very simple. When we require that everything be fixed as a matter of discipline we are set up for failure because of circumstances, creative flow, etc. But when we allow for flexibility along with fixed goals, we create an environment where we can be much more innovative.

More to come in this in the next few days.


Andy Larsen said...

Makes a lot of sense. How can I get the article to which you referred?w

Jeff said...

This is really helpful. Thanks.

dadesignofohiollc said...

I have to agree, Jon – the morning hours (early morning, especially) are the most productive. A former lover of the night, I had to face the fact that I accomplished much more as a morning person than a night owl. Good stuff!

The Brown Family - Your World Missionaries said...

I found the article as well as a follow-up on Steve Pavlina's blog. You can find the original article at and the follow-up at

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...


Thanks for the comments and thanks to the Brown's for digging up the link. I will post it to the whole group soon.

This challenge of flexibility along with accountability is key to innovation. I hope that as we discuss it over the next few posts that God will give us some good insights.

Ty Stakes said...

Jon -- Cool. Sounds like being goal oriented. For me, that is a strong motivator...but what about other creative types that are not particularly goal oriented...who prefer to feel the flow. Any tips? Any tips for those to whom they would be accountable?