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This works because of the point of diminishing returns, where excess resources just add to the costs of completing a task and not the benefits of the results.
Some examples:
Sending a message in a SMS Text message that has a maximum of 140 characters instead of sending an email where space is unlimited. Working within a limited budget or timeline as opposed to no budget or due dates. Trying to accomplish a task with too many people around the table to even reach a consensus. Have you ever tried to get more than 12 people to agree on the same thing? One of the reason this works is, when you have more resources available, you then have more options that you have to consider and deal with. With extra time, you often over think things and second guess your earlier decisions. Or, have you found that if you have a day to accomplish a task, it will normally take you the whole day? Could you have completed the same task in an hour? This is not always the case so it depends on the circumstances.
"Over-thinking always ruins you. It ruins the situation, twists things around, makes you worry and just makes everything much worse than it actually is." Unknown
Another reason this works is that a little stress in our lives will actually get our creative juices flowing better. It forces us to make decisions sooner and move to the next one without looking back. Watch this video of an artist that creates a painting in less than 60 seconds.
There are many forms of creative art that are defined by constrained resources:
Haiku and Limerick poetry Elevator pitchesTwitter posts that are only 140 characters or less. Hint fiction that has stories written in 25 words or less. See also 6 word stories,On some of the popular TV talent shows where contestants only have 90 seconds to perform. YouTube videos - how many do you watch that are longer than 5 minutes? Resumes confined to only 2 pages. (People don't read anything longer.)5 Minute Ignite presentations - View this example on how to buy a car. Here is another example of an Ignite presentation about how to write better.
I have had many experiences where I have had to work under constraints of time, money and other resources. Most of the time, it can really push me out of my comfort zone and be creative in managing the task. Sure, I would prefer to have unlimited resources available, but I know my creativity and productivity would suffer.
What experiences have you had that reinforce this principle?
Try this exercise:
In your journal, write your life story: who you are, what significant life experiences have shaped your character and values. What are your goals and aspiration? Now rewrite your story in 100 words. Did you have to use your creative muscles? Now rewrite your story again in only 25 words. Did you manage it? Is it better? If you thought that was challenging check out the 6 word stories at this article about the Miniskirt Theory of Writing.Consider how you can improve your writing by following this principle. Watch the video below about an interesting innovation being implemented under extreme constraints of lack of resources.
Another problem with having too many resources available is that you may fall into the trap of attempting to make something perfect. Resist this! Striving for perfection will kill your productivity and in a business, kill your net revenues on projects. I have seen this happen many times when the costs of completing a task/project perfectly quickly exceeds the revenues generated.
Not everyone agrees with this principle. Some people abuse this principle to push forward tight budgets and defend them by citing this principle but there does need to be enough resources to allow for the creativity to be completed. But how much is enough? Well experience and building up knowledge of your craft will help you determine that. Failures will help you learn quickly, also.
"The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic and a terrible waste of time." - Edwin Bliss
When you have a lot of time to complete a task or project do you use it all to maximum effectiveness?
Could you be a better manager of your time and finances? (If you answer no, Really? You can teach the rest of us how you do that. )
Challenge: The next task or project you undertake, set your own constraints for the resources significantly less than what you have available, and push yourself to be creative to get the job done within those limits. Take a risk but then you have a fall back, the rest of the resources available. Report in your journal how this worked for you. Did it help you to be more creative and productive?
On a final note, watch this short video about how Sebastian Wernicke summarize 1000 TedTalks in 6 words.
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You could have been constrained by time, money, or other resources.
09/10/2014 • 
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