Tag Archives: productivity

The Proof Is in the Condo

11 Apr

Courtesy: Greater Miami CVB

In the mid 1990s, I was a very junior account executive at a “hot” ad agency in Ft. Lauderdale.  The firm’s founding partner,  Stan Harris, once told me a story from his agency’s early years.  As I recall it, one of his first clients was a condominium development.  (Yes, South Florida has lots of peace-seeking retirees and hence lots of condos lining its relaxing beachfront.)

To stand out from the crowd, Stan had helped develop a billboard headline to distinguish his client from the crowd:  [Development X] – It’s Not Quite Like Other Condominiums. After the board went up, however, Stan received a call from his wife.  She was curious about the strategy behind the new advertisement.  From the board’s prominent interstate perch, it pronounced:  [Development X] – It’s Not Quiet Like Other Condominiums.

Potential buyers had been warned.  Just two little transposed letters was all that it took.  Besides making me laugh, this story impressed the importance of paying attention to the little details as well as the big ideas, as Stan no doubt intended.  The message has stuck with me.

Last month I began proofreading for a hospitality company based here in Orlando.  At the same time, I came across a Freshly Pressed post that hit a core dilemma.  The author, Broadside, posed the serious question: Would You Rather Be Creative or Productive?

Of course, we all want to say “both.”  But maybe we just can’t do them at exactly the same time.  Maybe there’s a time for each.  In my own humble experience, the more creative my project, the less productive I seem to be.  Case in point: my brilliant strategy to “walk” to Richmond as I write in my novel?  Um, well, I haven’t opened my manuscript since right after I posted about my brilliant plan.  But I really WANT to.  I just haven’t had the time.  (That’s my best ongoing excuse.)

In contrast, I’ve been very productive in my proofreading.  These jobs involve no creative risk whatsoever; therefore, I am impelled to finish them.  What’s more, they’re actual jobs.  That means they each have a tangible, measurable value associated with them.  Perhaps that’s how I’ve found time I didn’t know I had, why my husband watches the kids on nights and weekends as needed, so I can finish assignments.

Would I jump out of my second-floor office window if I had to proof full-time?  Definitely.  But these assignments make me feel, well, productive.  And productivity, like creativity, can be contagious.  That’s what I’m counting on.  Now I just need to find some more time and a nice, quiet place where I can retire with my manuscript.  Anyone have a beachfront condo I could use?

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