The easier a job is to get, the more likely it involves doing tasks. The alternative is projects. The way a project gets done is up to you. Your goal is to create an extraordinary outcome, not to perform the tasks. *
honour your own curiosity**
Projects are full of tasks.
Completing the tasks well is the difference between a successful and unsuccessful project. But to say the project is only about tasks would be to lose the autonomy, mastery and purpose available to us.
The Industrial Revolutions^ have improved our lives in many ways: food, medicine, clothing, leisure, gender equality and migration being but a few, but they have also demanded a high price.
Work became more about tasks to perform than mastery of projects, family life was seismically altered because of the time demanded away from the family home:
factory work destroyed family life, taking individuals out of the home and making family members strangers to each other during their prodigiously long work days.^^
One way of looking at this is to say one story replaced another, both being deeply flawed. When we see this for what it is, we see how we can then create a better story:
Claim the project before you start the work.*
Our particular curiosity allows us to begin a conversation with the things we notice most of all and this stimulates our conversations with ourselves. Then our conversations with others are more engaging and replete with possibilities:
The capacity for solitude makes relationships with others more authentic. Because you know who you are, you can see others for who they are, not for who you need them to be. So solitude enables richer conversation. But our current way of life undermines our capacity for solitude.*^
I offer the words of a blessing from John O’Donohue as you follow your own curiosity towards finding a rhythm not heard enabling you to find the projects among the tasks and to enrich our lives:
May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.
Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.^*
(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Projects vs tasks.)
(**From Edgar Schein’s Humble Consulting.)
(^I’m thinking of at least the mechanisation and the digitalisation of the workspace.)
(^^From Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust.)
(*^From Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation.)
(^*From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: For the Artist at the Start of the Day.)