The process of destinations
The journey is the destination; a saying that means that how we get to the end goal is just as important, or more, than the end goal itself. Consider the time spent working on a project is disproportionately larger than the time spent with the finished product. Then it makes sense that we should optimize for the journey. The journey is how we work, how we create; the journey is our process.
It’s about enjoying ourselves as as we create, not just after we have finished.
What is the journey.
The journey is the tools we use and how we use them. It’s the linear steps we take to move towards a goal. It’s the breaks we take to calm our mind, and the coffee we drink to energize it. The journey is the time of day we work, and the people we ask for advice; it’s the blogs we read to inform our decisions, and the decisions we make to move closer to our goal.
In short the journey is the sum total of all the smallest steps to bring into reality our goal. The journey is our process.
Fun, simple, and productive
Your process to create is important. It is more than a means to an end, it is an end in itself. In that you must enjoy the process. It has to be fun. What tools do you use. Are they easy? Do they bring you joy. Are you good at using them? Choose tools that are fun to use and that you are good at using. Mac vs PC, Vim vs Emacs; when you use tools that you enjoy you make the whole process fun.
Keep your process simple. Don’t over complicate the work you do by having too many rules or moving parts. When there are too many rules, too many things to remember to do next, the process becomes bogged down. You stop working on your goal and start working on the process. That is why a simple process is important; it keeps you focused.
There have been days when all I did was go to meetings. We met in the morning to discuss the project’s status. Then we met with account-services to discuss next steps. Then we met with strategy to discuss issue we had run into. Then it was lunch time. Then I wrote a little code. Then we met with account-services again to go over that days customer feedback. Then it was all rather exhausting, and not at all productive.
Your process needs to allow for how you work. A day full of meetings accomplishes nothing but creating more work, and delays your current task. When you cut out unnecessary stuff you improve your productivity, simplify the process, and make your work enjoyable.
Tools become you
Your tools are important, they become your arms; they become part of you the more you use them. As you master them they become more enjoyable to use.
New tools are constantly being created, and we should look to see if they can improve our process. We can become overly attached to our tools, so we must remember to keep an open mind. A thorough evaluation to see how they will fit with existing tools will show you what they offer, and how to they could improve your process.
Take your time and play and learn one thing at a time. As you learn one small part you will begin to master it. You will begin to use it without thinking about using it. One this happens add in a new part of the tool to learn.
A journey refined
I was out hiking in the forest once, with a group of friends. Off in the distance we could see the fire tower that was close to the trails end. As we trudged down the valleys and up the hills we again would look for the fire tower. We were always slightly off from where we had planned to be. Not so far off that we were lost; just enough that we had to correct our direction to stay the course. At each peak we would set a new goal one ridge over and aim for it as we descended and emerged from the valley. In this way we focused on the trail in front of us without losing the larger destination.
A similar refinement and adjustment should be used with our work process. When do we stop and evaluate the work we have done, the tools we use, the meetings and questions we create. When do you test your basic assumptions. How can we correct our direction without losing sight of the larger destination. By small adjustments and tweaks as we go.
It’s hard to judge how successful your process is, or where it needs work, until you’ve used it several times. By using it over and over you will see where it starts to fall apart. And each time you use it you will tweak it just a little for the parts that you know could be better.
Over time your process will improve. It will never be perfect as life is not perfect, and each project is different. Keep an open mind; keep your process fun, simple, and use tools you enjoy. With that your process will be productive, and bring joy and happiness into your life.