In my past life as an engineer, I used to visit manufacturing facilities, tool shops and fabrication outfits for project work. These are places where efficiency, speed and output are the focal point. Human beings acted like machines in their work pushing dozens or thousands of parts and assemblies through every day.
In the industrial age, we had a focus on making things cheap, fast and predictably. That game is a commodity now.
Now, we are the factory. You take raw materials – content, ideas, conversations, software, and relationships – and put them together creatively to make an output.
If you are merely a functional piece in the assembly line without much creativity, then you’re not worth much. You are not scarce. You are interchangeable.
If you are on the creative side, then you are a factory that has to make ideas happen. It can be a paradigm shift to think that you are the factory. But your ability to output is related to a set of factors that require just as much, if not more, care and attention:
- Wide nets. The degree that you are exposing yourself to ideas, experiences and relationships dictates where you draw inspiration, resources and solutions.
- Personal growth. Are you becoming someone of more value? Your convictions, attitudes and insights come from the people you meet and the books you read.
- Energy. Do you consistently take care of your health and emotions? Daily routines that help you recharge and keep a clear mind focused on your goals is critical to keeping your factory moving from ideas to execution flowing.
- Productivity. Are you doing things that don’t matter? Are you focused more on doing things right more than doing the right things? How streamlined, efficient and fast is your workflow? Managing lists, clearing time and space and getting things done keep your processes moving.
- Creativity. Do you enjoy nature, listen to music or read wild works? Exposing yourself to concepts outside of your box feeds your creativity. And creativity, not hard work, moves your results.
If you are the factory, you want to gain leverage and ensure you are efficient and continuous. It’s a long-term game of personal management, much like industrial-scale factories required continuous oversight.
The great thing is that you can control the variables, and with technology and business systems, do much more than ever before simply by approaching your work like a factory manager.
Factories are about leverage, ultimately. And you, as a factory, are competing with the world of people out there that have the same access. It takes your desire, focus and consistency to reap the rewards the economy bestows to efficient creative factories.