by Asim Jalis
If I was asked to play tetris for 8 hours a day I might find that
boring as well. Part of this seems to be that working for N hours
creates a desire for not working. It makes me look forward to 5
PM when I can stop working. Work defines itself by what you
cannot do. If I forced myself to play tetris for 1 hour that too
would be oppressive.
So how can we fix this. I don't know. One way to stay engaged
with work is to alternate between work and play. Between work and
fun. So it's not like we don't know how to have fun. We have
something to work with. We have the baseline, which is to
alternate. However, we are trying to find something deeper. We
are trying to look for a way to fuse work and play.
Here are the ideas I have right now:
CALL IT PLAY
First, we must not call work work. We must call it play. Just
telling yourself that you are playing changes something. I play
from 9 to 5. I play in Redmond. I am at play right now. I'll get
back to you when I get home. Using "play" instead of "work" feels
weird. This might wear off in a few days. But it's fun.
Ask your manager: So what do you want me to play with next?
Initially he won't understand what you mean. But when he does it
will change his attitude as well.
ADD AN ELEMENT OF MAKE BELIEVE INTO IT
Let's take an example task. I have just been assigned a bug. I
have to go into the sources, figure out what to do, make the
change, and then do some paperwork (or rather paperplay). For the
paperplay I have to resolve the bug in the database, and send out
an e-mail report (using a template).
This probably sounds pretty boring. But now what if I reframe
this task. Agent Smith has just infiltrated the system (the
Matrix). My task is to locate Smith, isolate him, and then
terminate him. Afterwards I have to file a death certificate and
a police report. I must finish Smith by 5 PM because otherwise
the Machines will destroy Zion. (You need to see the Matrix
Trilogy for this to make sense.)
To make this convincing, I just printed out a picture of Agent
Smith and I have pasted it to my computer.
I can also embellish the details of the bug. Discuss in detail
the horrible crimes that Smith is responsible for.