In the world of creativity and productivity, it can sometimes feel as though these two concepts are at odds with each other. Creativity is often associated with free-spiritedness, spontaneity, and the willingness to take risks, whereas productivity is typically perceived as a disciplined, methodical, and results-oriented approach to work. However, as the 2×4 interview series has shown, many creatives understand that there is a symbiotic relationship between creativity and productivity – in order to make truly great things, you need both.
One interviewee who embodies this idea is Gabe Weatherhead, the founder of Macdrifter, a popular tech blog. Weatherhead is a self-described “hack programmer” who views the world through a scientific lens. His approach to creativity is grounded in an appreciation for the natural world and a fascination with the way that molecules interact with each other. Rather than seeing creativity as something that is reserved for “artists,” he believes that everyone has the capacity for creative thinking – we just need to be open to it.
“I think everyone is a creative person,” says Weatherhead. “It’s what defines us as human beings. We can’t escape it.”
However, Weatherhead also recognizes that there are forces at play that can dampen our creativity over time. As we become more focused on efficiency and productivity, we may lose touch with that childlike sense of wonder and curiosity that is so essential to creative thinking. That’s why he believes that it’s important to take the time to appreciate the world around us, whether that means marveling at the colors in a sunset or analyzing the structure of a great piece of writing.
“I try to take the time to really appreciate things around me…When I read a Gruber article or a Horace analysis, I try to think about what makes it so good.”
When it comes to productivity, Weatherhead is equally thoughtful. As a lead systems engineer at a pharmaceutical company, he is responsible for planning and implementing software solutions for scientific researchers. He has a lot on his plate, but he approaches his work with a sense of purpose and determination.
“I have forfeited what I would consider a successful career as a scientist to make sure my life was constructed around things that are important to me. That includes family, hobbies, and principles.”
One of the key tools that Weatherhead uses to maintain his productivity is Markdown – a simple, lightweight text formatting language that allows him to stay organized and focused without getting bogged down in complex software. He also relies on tools like OmniFocus and Siri to help him manage his workload more efficiently.
However, Weatherhead is quick to point out that productivity isn’t just about checking off tasks on a to-do list – it’s about making meaningful progress towards your goals. And sometimes, that means allowing yourself the freedom to tinker and experiment.
“I also think tinkering has received a bad rap. It’s disparaged as being unproductive or procrastination in some circles. I think it leads to discovery.”
Ultimately, what sets Weatherhead apart is his ability to see the world in a unique and innovative way. Whether he is analyzing the behavior of molecules or designing a new software solution for researchers, he approaches his work with a sense of curiosity and wonder that is infectious. For anyone looking to unlock their own inner creativity and productivity, his advice is simple: don’t be afraid to take risks, appreciate the world around you, and always keep tinkering.