Over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring a few different creativity styles. You’ll likely find that one (or possibly two) of these personalities fits you best. The point of taking the quiz and exploring your creative style isn’t to stuff yourself into a limiting box, but rather to understand why some strategies work better for you than others.
We’re moving on to the fourth of the five creative styles: The Special Agent.
Today, let’s talk about the Special Agent.
If you are a quick thinker and a fast worker, you have the expertise of a Special Agent. Seeing the big picture and working toward a successful outcome are top priority for you. The Special Agent’s creative process is full of shortcut methods such as quick lists, laser-focused questions, and mental practice before creative sessions so that when it’s go-time, you’re ready to be efficient and effective.
The Special Agent’s Strengths:
- You’re quick to make decisions, and confident about your choices.
- You know how to get projects done in an efficient way.
- You are logical and approach your work with clear thinking.
The Special Agent’s Weaknesses:
- You like to work sequentially, so you find it difficult to skip around in a project when you get stuck.
- Sometimes, you feel like your systems or approach become a bit of a rut.
- Details aren’t your favorite, especially when they slow you down.
Here are some efficient strategies that work well for Special Agents:
At the Start of a Project:
You don’t like to waste time, so it will help you think ahead of time. Visualize how your work session will go, work out possible speedbumps, and be full of energy and ready to start when you sit down at your desk.
- Use Templates or Checklists
Rather than reinventing the wheel, work with templates and checklists so that each time you approach a similar task—say planning a project—you can work through the steps as efficiently as possible.
- Try Sprinting
You’ll feel an excellent sense of momentum if you can get your thoughts onto the page in a short amount of time. Set a timer and make beating your word count into a game.
- Set Mid-Project Due Dates
Especially when you’re working on a larger project, break the work into smaller tasks and give yourself due dates for each. Each finished mini-project will feel like a win and keep you moving toward your bigger-picture goal.
- Keep a List
Read through a section, but don’t revise as you go. Instead, keep a list of all the problems. Then, once you have a full list, put them in order and tackle them one at a time.
- Use a Checklist
Create a revision checklist that helps you work through the stages of revision. Plan first, then revise, knowing you’re approaching the process in the most efficient way possible.
When You Feel Stuck:
- Research How Others Have Solved the Issue
You can speed up your problem solving process by “stealing” solutions that others have found successful. Keep in mind that you can also borrow solutions from similar projects that aren’t exactly the same. Designers do this all the time. For instance, they may create a new design for a library using ideas sparked by the format of a coffee shop or a children’s theatre.
- Talk with an Expert
One of the most efficient ways to solve a problem is to talk it out with someone who has tackled something similar before. Think about who you know who has done what you’re trying to do successfully, and ask them if they’d be willing to problem solve with you.
Try On Other Styles:
A Special Agent is similar to an Inventor in that they both see the big picture. However, an Inventor is more playful and unstructured. Try giving yourself a set amount of time to play around with ideas. You might enjoy spending fifteen minutes on a colorful post-it brainstorm. Then, review your ideas and choose the ones that feel most helpful.
Special Agents and Architects are both structured thinkers, but the Architect is more detail oriented. Try on the Architect’s style by making a loose outline or list to further structure your drafting or revision process. Use index cards rather than a Roman numeral list so it is easier to swap out ideas and reorder as needed.
The Collaborator thinks in an opposite way from a Special Agent. However, when you feel the need to shake things up, try using a partner or a team to find new insight. This is your least likely choice, but you may find that the opposite approach unlocks the very thing that you need to move forward.
So what do you think?
Are you a Special Agent? If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to take our creative styles quiz to learn more about the way you think. We’ll also send you an Inklings Starter Kit with more strategies and ideas to help you play to your unique strengths.