There’s a bit of a brick wall between this blog and my work role and working life; maybe not so hard as brick, but a deliberate separation. Because I’m in a leadership role in a public sector organisation with a social media policy, it’s important that I keep a clear space around this blog about my creative self and my life other than work.
I don’t talk about work or my work role, except obliquely and generally in terms of how creative strategies for life may apply to work contexts and vice versa. Some work colleagues know about my blog and keep an eye on it; I blog under my full name so it’s not secret; it’s just not so connected, sort of like two parallel lives.
But of course, in practice it’s not quite that straightforward. It was interesting when things started overlapping more than usual recently when I started a new temporary work role in a different location. Once this new work role was announced, I noticed a sudden surge in my blog stats and people coming to the blog via searching for my name. People were trying to find out about me: just who was this person who was coming to lead them?
As I moved around to meet people in my temporary job role, a number of them said to me, “I love your blog!”. They were tentative and respectful, aware of some of the silent boundaries between the work role and the rest of life, but knowing that I was blogging publicly and out there for all to see. They mentioned my creativity, and how pleased they were to see that I had another life other than work. We discussed the links between creativity and leadership and the value of thinking in this way outside the work role. They loved the links in my blog posts and were interested to see what I was engaging with.
- express horror that I had a creative life other than work
- focus on any negative aspects or details of my writing
- pick holes, find fault, wish for more or otherwise find me wanting
They just engaged with my blog as intended as a space where I am out in the world, alongside my work role, complementary, mutually inspiring and whole.
This made me reflect on many aspects of where work and my creative self coincide, overlap and mutually benefit each other, and where there is further potential for this. It made me think also about whether these aspects are too separate and need to come together more. Some other bloggers have been thinking about this also.
In ‘Personal Blogging at Work Increases Productivity’, a recent article in Forbes.com, Susan Adams discusses the link between personal blogging and the workplace. She reports on a new academic study that shows that:
Along with sharing information about work tasks, blogging at work pulls employees closer to one another, builds relationships, and over time, increases productivity.
The study looked at people blogging in work contexts and found that blogging also about leisure interests and other more personal aspects of life increased engagement and then translated into real life connection. Adams notes that:
We’re seeing more data that shows what we already know in our hearts: when we connect with people beyond work, we work together more productively.
For me, it’s also about bringing your whole self to work rather than leaving key parts of yourself, especially the ones that are your own personal drivers, at the door when you arrive.
On a related theme of the work and personal coming together in the physical workspace, Victoria Smith in a recent post on ‘Beautility: Making the Useful Beautiful for a Magical Work Space‘, highlights the concept of how we can ‘beautilify’ our workspaces and work tools, to make them both practical and a reflection of ourselves:
Most of us spend about half of our waking hours at work and our surroundings have a huge impact on our happiness, creativity, ability to focus, and even our interactions with others…..There’s simply too much evidence about the increase in productivity when our work environments are more pleasing to the eye and reflect us as individuals for companies to ignore the benefits.
Victoria has many practical suggestions for bringing the two together that have certainly made me reflect about my own workspace and how I reflect my creativity and personality there (or not!).
On the broader issue of creativity and work, in a recent Huffington Post piece, ‘100 Reasons Why You Don’t Get Your Best Ideas at Work’, Mitch Ditkoff suggests that the barriers we create with our thinking about the two polarities may well be the answer to where the real issues lie.
So perhaps there is less of a need for a wall between this blog, my creativity and the job role, apart from the caveats of social media policy, and that the interplay between them may result in more productivity and creative ideas in both spaces.
Interested in your thoughts on blogging and work and the interplay between!
Excellent photo taken in Singapore by my daughter, Caitlin