I opened my mail to a warning message from my security team. It told me that my access would be revoked unless I completed all the Mandatory courses. There it was, again! Our organization is way too strict when it comes to compliance. People can complain and whine all they want, but no one is spared. While most people wish they didn’t have to do this, I love these courses. Scroll, scroll, click, click, scroll and done. Repeat 17 times. That’s it. You don’t have to wrack your brains. Isn’t that fantastic? To be able to do that in the middle of a hectic day?
Whenever I’ve had to walk for long distances, I’d get tired after a while. That was before I started running. Once running came into the picture, walking became a piece of cake. I would look forward to it. The more I got used to working at an increased level of difficulty, working at a normal level was enjoyable. I thought it was the same with everyone until I heard people whine about trivial tasks that do not stimulate them. I like to look at them as an opportunity to get work done without having to flex the muscles. At this stage in life where mental exertion affects me much worse than physical exhaustion, tasks like these feel like a vacation.
I was chatting about this with a friend and that got me thinking about all the other activities that I look forward to, which others usually don’t.
I love folding clothes. I sort them first and then fold each pile one after the other. I don’t look at it as a chore, I look at it as something that gives me time to rest because I do not have to think. When I moved out of a team a couple of months ago, a colleague told me that I was good at bringing ‘order to the chaos’. That’s what I love about clearing up/cleaning up stuff. It makes me satisfied with very little effort. I do not have a magic wand at my disposal, but it feels magical when I’m ahead of my laundry and everything is folded back and in its place.
Back in school, do you remember the exam preparations, when staring at the wall becomes interesting? I like doing that when I’m getting to work and back home. Yes, the commute might be tiring at times, but I try and make the best of it. It’s more about putting up with specimens than anything else. To stop getting affected by these specimens, I like zoning out from whatever situations I’m in and think of nothing. It is possible, trust me! It works well to reset my mind before I step inside my home/workplace. To quote the words of my wise husband, it gives me some time in the ‘hibernate’ mode. I call it the ‘Energy Saving’ mode. It allows the multiple threads running on my mind to finally come to rest without having to consciously shut down my system.
Fast & Furious
The good thing about having a fixed menu for the weekdays is that your grocery shopping routine is the same. I step into Woolworths, grab all the fruits & veggies along the way. I move to the deli and then pick up milk, bread, eggs, and yogurt and I’m out. I’ve observed that early Saturday morning is the best time to finish my trip the quickest. I rarely step inside the aisles so my route is more or less the same. I’ve figured out the most efficient route from start to end, without any algorithm! Part of the reason I love my weekly trip is because there is very little work involved from my side. I can zone out and take rest, while one part of the mind takes care of this stuff.
It’s not that I lead a very hectic life. Nor is my mind always working on solving important world problems. My mind isn’t always pre-occupied. Sometimes my biggest problem is what to cook for myself on a Saturday or where to eat for a date night with the husband. Despite that, at times even the simplest of things get complicated. They end up taking all your attention and energy. If you find yourself in such situations quite often, you start appreciating the monotonous routines. It’s similar to how you ignore your nose when you’re normal. But when you struggle with a blocked nose and recover, you appreciate being able to breathe without the stereophonic effects.
At some point, I realized that I was involved in making too many decisions every day. From what to eat to what to wear to what route to take to – everything. It was overwhelming! On those days, anything I did was boring and all they did was get me annoyed. But once I set up systems and followed routines – I minimized my decision fatigue (more on that in another post). Initially, I did not realize how much I’d freed up my mind. It was only when I started enjoying all these mundane activities that I understood how much I was cramming my brain. Now that I’ve figured it out, I appreciate every task that requires me to follow an established process rather than trying to think on my feet.
Every time I’ve worked on projects that didn’t have a variety of work, I would crave for some change. Whenever I’ve worked in dynamic projects, I would crave for a simple routine. Having been on both sides, I’ve begun to appreciate the monotony of life because I never know when a wave of change would sweep over. The world always seems to romanticize challenges and adventures, but I feel there is beauty even in the most mundane tasks! Perhaps I’m lucky. It takes effort to be able to appreciate the beauty in the most unexpected situations!
Image Courtesy: Pixabay