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Are Deadlines Good or Bad for Creativity?

What's the Latest?

New surveys conducted by the Harvard Business School suggest a more complicated picture of deadlines, and understudying their nuanced relationship to creativity can help you do your best work--on time! While participants of the survey were giving evidence of less creative thinking on time-pressured days, they reported feeling more creative on those days. Richard Boyatzis, a scholar of organizational behavior and cognitive science, said: "You show me somebody who says, ‘I’m an adrenaline junkie, I perform my best under stress,’ and I’ll show you an idiot."

What's the Big Idea?

The closer a deadline is, the less open we are to outside ideas, which are the lifeblood of creativity, say researchers. Still, deadlines do confer some benefits, like giving us a strong reason to prioritize the task at hand and not worry about smaller matters. "A deadline allows you to clear away other stuff," says Boyatzis. "Psychologically, you make a deal with yourself that you’re not going to worry that the washing machine may need replacing." You focus on just this one problem. "That’s where it helps."

Read more at Fast Company

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