Lia Prins On Balancing Creativity And Productivity

Lia Prins on balancing creativity and productivity

This week I sat down for a part two with Lia Prins. Lia and I discussed in more depth how being an introvert influences her work and relationships. She offers a lot of insights on balancing creativity with work and side projects.

Check out part one of my interview with Lia here.

How does being an introvert influence your work and relationships?

I like being by myself a lot. After going to the Grand Canyon, I thought I could live there and work remotely, but I do want to work with people.

Just hanging out outside of work never appealed to me. If I do hangout, I would rather be working on a project or something. To be honest though, I don’t think I have a good system for balancing socializing and alone time.

Why do you feel you need to work with people?

I think it’s not a binary thing being an introvert or an extrovert. While I’m a total introvert or hermit, I also don’t like other people’s structures.

When I have ideas, I want to be able to work on them. Slicing my day up a specific way that’s dictated by the job is not always productive. Mornings are the best times to work on my ideas. If someone interrupts that, I can get irritated. If I’m just dealing with people all day at work, then I get really exhausted.

I never worry about hoarding my creative energies… I could be working really hard on a complex work problem, but I would have just as much energy to devote to my side projects afterwards.

What are your ideas on balancing creativity, inspiration, and productivity?

I don’t believe you have to wait around for ideas. You can work on little or even tedious design things.

It’s like working out. The more you make things and solve problems, the more you can just be creative. You learn that about yourself. At first you may start feeling overwhelmed, but then you build your confidence with practice. Creativity is like a muscle.

At this point, I could be working really hard on a complex work problem, but I would have just as much energy to devote to my side projects afterwards. I never worry about hoarding my creative energies.

What is your approach to starting, completing, or quitting side projects?

If I don’t want to do them, then I stop for a while. I don’t have a problem with stopping if I feel it’s not fun. Sometimes I just take a few months if I’m not into it. I might miss it, and I’ll go back to it. For example, the project that we talked about it last time (the blog and CMS), it got insane because it took so much of my free time. It wasn’t enjoyable when I forced a timeline on it. It was taking longer than I thought. So, I just took time off and worked on watercolors.

Closing thoughts for people also figuring out their creative tendencies.

One thing I heard recently in a Podcast called, Hello Monday, I think it was the author of Eat, Pray, Love. She said to figure out what day or time of day when you are the most productive. You should guard that.

I think about starting my own business where I get to make the decisions. But I also worry about trying to force creativity out of something that has to make me money. You don’t have to use your passion to make a living. I learned this from a recent project where I was investing a lot of energy in it, but it failed. I had side projects to help me de-invest emotionally from that project failure.

You can find Lia here on LinkedIn.

Read more posts on creativity here.

Matt Eng

UX Research Team Lead at IBM Design. Based in Austin,TX. Worked with clients such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ogilvy, RBC, Deloitte, Whirlpool, Polycom, Symantec, and Pebble. Matt teaches, mentors, and speaks about design, creativity, and fostering stronger connections within teams.

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