Friday, July 29, 2011

Joy in routine

It is that time of year again.  When all of Eolian's brightwork must be masked off, sanded and another 3 coats of varnish applied.  Yesterday, I began.

And as I did so, I found myself thinking about what is routine, what is drudgery and what is joyful work.  When we first got Eolian, I tackled such tasks with the dedication and gusto that their novelty brought.  Over the years, I have learned, and I have found little ways to make the tasks easier or more effective.  But with each annual repetition of the work (Wait...  You mean I have to do this every year?), I found my motivation draining away.

How to find excitement in the routine?

Standing out there with small pieces of blue tape on my fingers, I had plenty of time to contemplate this.  Here are the inducements I came up with:
  • Pride:  When I am done, it will look good, and I will be proud of that.
  • Responsibility:  Much like raising children, I signed up for this, and it is my responsibility to get it done
  • Fear:  If I let it slide, it will only be more work next year.
  • Excitement:  I reached back and snagged that initial excitement that I felt when I did this work for the first time, as a new large boat owner.  Granted, that reach is getting longer - 1997 is pretty far back!
  • Mutual encouragement: When Jane is here, we talk about the work, share in the work, and encourage each other to get to it.  Unfortunately, this piece is lacking at the moment, as she is still in Indiana.
And then at that point I noticed that I had finished masking one side of the boat, and that it was 00:beer:30!  So I guess I should add self-distraction to the list above. 

You may not have to re-do your brightwork every year, but you surely have tasks that need to be done routinely and which you'd just as soon skip (waxing the car comes to mind...).  How do you motivate yourself?

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