Advertising
Advertising

What Charlie Chaplin Taught Me About Creativity

What Charlie Chaplin Taught Me About Creativity

Charlie Chaplin’s brand of creativity is stunning. His career began when he was only 14.  His career lasted for well over seven decades. He became beloved in American theaters for his portrayal of “The Little Tramp.” Chaplin was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1971. Of his award the Academy noted, “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”. He was given an unprecedented 12 minute standing ovation. Sir Charles “Charlie” Spencer Chaplin died of a stroke, at the age of 88 in his adopted home in Switzerland on December 25, 1977.

Laughter

A day without laughter is a day wasted. -Chaplin

tumblr_mpo3y54Ajg1r1mr1po1_500

    Chaplin built his career around making people laugh. To him it was a serious business, indeed. Making boots out of a pair of loaves with forks for legs, is only a scratch on the surface. He made millions laugh with almost all of his work. My lesson learned is to not take myself so seriously.

    Carry On

    Nothing is permanent in this wicked world not even our troubles~Chaplin

    Advertising

    tumblr_medlb99Wl21qlk2ulo1_500

      Chaplin certainly had his fair share of difficulties. One such problem was in the 1940’s he was accused of impregnating Ms. Joan Barry. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI got involved accusing Chaplin of violating federal laws. The FBI involvement would later lead to banning Chaplin from the United States. My lesson learned is to keep going despite indifference, and even when I feel discouraged with my work.

      Stand Up For What You Believe In

      Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form the headless monster, a great brutish idiot that goes where prodded~Chaplin

      giphy

        The Great Dictator was a 1940’s film that mocked Hitler and his ‘glorious’ Third Reich. It was in this film that fans first heard Chaplin speak. While the movie was commercially successful, it garnered a great deal of negative attention.This was due largely to the fact that Chaplin used six minutes in the film to express his political views. My lesson learned is to be passionate about my work, despite criticism.

        Don’t Give Up

        Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind to indifference.~Chaplin

        Advertising

        tumblr_mbc54bfZWH1rpuizno1_500

          From his famous portrayal as the “Little Tramp” to his controversial political views; Chaplin’s entire career could be defined by the words to never give up. My lesson learned is to have the same dedication in my creative career.

          Work With What You’ve Got

          All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.~Chaplin

          tumblr_mix4vfAP381rm4d6ao1_500

            Chaplin

            managed to be hilarious in the simplest of ways. He could make millions laugh at almost any predicament, he as the tramp found himself in. The chase sequences are nothing short of brilliant and funny.  My lesson learned is to use the skills and talents I already have in my creative career.

            Tell Your Truth

            I went into the business for the money, and the art grew out of it. If people are disillusioned by that remark, I can’t help it. It’s the truth.~Chaplin

            Advertising

            tumblr_m8rg3hSSKN1qg39ewo1_500

              Charlie Chaplin

              could be, if nothing else, brutally honest. His aim was to make money and that is exactly what he did with his art. However, no one can say or even intimate that Chaplin did not work hard for his fame and fortune. He continued to work on films up to the age of 87, about a year before his death. My lesson learned here is that, creativity can lead to money, but it doesn’t always.

              Know What You Want

              I don’t believe that the public knows what it wants; this is the conclusion that I have drawn from my career.~Chaplin

              tumblr_mv34h8kSqU1sykc1to1_500

                In being a creative mastermind, Chaplin did not so much live a charmed existence, in so much as he created the very world he wanted to inhabit. Charlie Chaplin did not only invite criticism about his work, but about his personal life as well. He was married four times and often to women who were half his age. A behavior that was scandalous to say the least especially in the budding of Hollywood, in the early twentieth century.  The lesson for me here is to consider what I want from my creative work.

                Know Your Passion

                What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning.~Chaplin

                Advertising

                tumblr_m7vbnpr0vZ1ru2p8po1_500

                  Of all the work that Chaplin did, perhaps his work with Jackie Coogan, in The Kid is one of his most memorable works. It combines drama and comedy into a spell-binding account between an orphaned child and Chaplin’s ‘Tramp‘. To me this  means to ‘do what you love’, to your fullest ability.

                  Give Your All

                  I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.~Chaplin

                  tumblr_luggo2ay5f1qbgyx2o1_250

                    In every performance, whether writer, director, producer, and/or the star of the show, Chaplin gave his all to his work. Simply nothing less would do. To me the lesson learned here is that creativity must be a part of who you are as a person.

                    Know Your Art

                    I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician~Chaplin

                    giphy

                      If nothing else, arrogant perhaps, Charlie Chaplin knew his art very well. For 75 years, Chaplin gave his all to every aspect of the film-making business. To me this means to know my art as well as Sir Chaplin did his own.

                      More by this author

                      20 Awesome DIY Office Organization Ideas That Boost Efficiency 25 Simple And Creative Ways To Cheer Someone Up 25 Bathroom Hacks You’ll Want to Share With Everyone The Best Answers to the 7 Worst Interview Questions 10 Benefits of Bitter Melon That Makes It Even More Worth Eating

                      Trending in Productivity

                      1 How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work 2 Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress 3 How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money 4 7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It 5 How to Concentrate and Train Your Brain to Focus Better

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Published on January 16, 2019

                      How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                      How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                      We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

                      You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

                      You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

                      That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

                      Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

                      1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

                      Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

                      We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

                      To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

                      At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

                      The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

                      2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

                      Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

                      The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

                      In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

                      It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

                      It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

                      Advertising

                      So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

                      • Are you a great strategist?
                      • Are you an effective planner?
                      • Is Project Management your strength?
                      • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
                      • Are you the ideas person?
                      • Is Implementation your strength?

                      Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

                      3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

                      One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

                      Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

                      Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

                      Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

                      4. Take Time for Planning

                      “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

                      One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

                      You can take the time to think about:

                      • What’s the purpose of the project?
                      • How Important is it?
                      • When does it need to be delivered by?
                      • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
                      • What are the KPIs?
                      • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
                      • Who is working on this project?
                      • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
                      • What tolerances can I add in?
                      • What are the review stages?
                      • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

                      Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

                      5. Focus on Priorities

                      Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

                      Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

                      One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

                      1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
                      2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
                      3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
                      4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

                      James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

                      Advertising

                        The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

                        If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

                        If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

                        6. Take Time Out

                        To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

                        If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

                        Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

                        In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

                        Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

                        7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

                        Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

                        I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

                        Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

                        If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

                        8. Stop Multitasking

                        Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

                        So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

                        When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

                        Advertising

                        If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

                        9. Work in Blocks of Time

                        To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

                        I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

                        Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

                        Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

                        Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

                        Then take another 10-minute break.

                        Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

                        By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

                        10. Get Rid of Distractions

                        Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

                        “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

                        Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

                        If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

                        11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

                        You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

                        Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

                        Advertising

                        Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

                        12. Take a Time Audit

                        Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

                        Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

                        You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

                        Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

                        Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

                        At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

                        If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

                        13. Protect Your Confidence

                        It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

                        When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

                        Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

                        When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

                        Final Words

                        A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

                        The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

                        If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

                        Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        Read Next