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Dave’s blog

The Comfort of Routine is Making Me Uncomfortable

My recent interview with Aaron Dignan, author of Brave New Work, made me think a lot about how routine really prevents progress… and how the grounding nature of routine messes with me. 

Here’s the example I’m thinking of: 

During the winter my family rents a 70’s throwback cabin near Hoosier pass.  It’s an amazing little gem stuck in a semi-remote area.  We go there every weekend for ten straight weeks to snowshoe, ski, entertain friends, drink beer, watch Netflix, read, and stare into a real wood fire.

At the end of the winter we always say, “that was great but I’m glad to be home for a weekend!”  During ten weekends of being gone, paperwork has piled up and the furnace filter needs changing.  Wanting to catch up is reasonable.  What I don’t like is that it feels comforting to be back in the routine of normal living.

I Sold You So

I got a courtesy call from a Dell salesman to follow-up on a $2,000 laptop I’d recently purchased.  He introduced himself, “Hi, this is Jim, the guy who sold you the laptop – how’s it going?”

Yuck.

I don’t want to talk to a guy who thinks he sold me something.  Jim should have called and said, “Hi, this is Jim, from Dell.  How’s that great laptop you chose treating you?”

I’m the customer.  Make me feel like the smart and successful part of the transaction.

Is easy creativity, “cheapened” creativity?

Andy Warhol created the famous Marilyn Monroe montage below.  It probably took him a while and I’m sure the original is worth millions.

I created this montage of my dog Ziggy in 20 minutes using a filter on my Pixel 2 phone and PowerPoint.

Has easy creativity “cheapened” creativity? 

No, I don’t think technology is narrowing the gap between real talent and tech-stimulated creativity.   Technology is enabling those of us not making a living as artists to be able to enjoy being creative without a steep learning curve.  “Ziggy Warhol” was fun to make, and now fun to write about.  I don’t think Andy Warhol, if alive, would feel threatened.

What good is relaxing when I’m stressed about it?

I’ve been getting more done, a LOT more done, stimulated by the book, Deep Work, which has encouraged me to work in pockets of focused time. Now I’m thinking about how to use a bit of the time gained to relax.   

But 

When I relax, I’m haunted by the feeling that I am wasting time while being unproductive.  

This is truly disappointing. When I was working all the time in a disarray of unrelated tasks, I had less guilt about being unproductive because I was busy. True, I was frustrated at how little meaningful work I was accomplishing, but at least I was working a lot. 

Yes, this conundrum is idiotic. I live in Colorado to enjoy my life!  My tagline is Live – Work – Love Colorado.™  I’m working on this (see photo). It’s a process.

 

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