We’re always told “do what you love, so it won’t feel like work” and for the most part, it is extremely sound advice. But I’ve come to realise that I’m most productive when I’m doing stuff that isn’t work. The best ideas I’ve generated come to me when I’m reading a book or watching a movie. It’s something to do with the cross-pollination of ideas; identifying patterns within a sphere or knowledge and finding an application in another sphere. To put it simply, I do my best work when I’m inspired by the work of others.
And I absolutely love being inspired.
I also have the nagging feeling many of you are the same way.
But here we are, sitting at our desks, cracking our heads at problems, searching for inspired solutions, yet doing it in the most uninspired way possible - hunched over a screen that interrupts you constantly which is placed on a nondescript mass-produced piece of office furniture sitting in the middle of a cubicle isolated from external stimuli.
The office cubicle is good for certain type of tasks: doling out instructions or making sure the minutiae in documents are in order, but not for broad-level thinking when you need space to envision frameworks and identify patterns. But for so much of my career I’ve sat there because it is the “right thing” to do - work needs to look like pain.
For 2011 I’m going to be a little more shameless and create working environments in which I can be more productive, and worry a little less about what people think. My organisation deserves my best work, and I’ve successfully made my work something I love. And doing something I love looks fun. I will not slack off because it looks a little more acceptable.