The Necessity of Non-Creative Work

Non-creative work doesn’t have to be a chore. It may merely come down to how you think about it

image of a cup of coffee beside tax forms for article by larry g maguire

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Non-creative work doesn’t have to be a chore. It may merely come down to how you think about it

Today I was working on tax returns and setting up new software to handle my accounts. In the lean up I was dreading it, putting it off for other more important things — honestly, they were more important. But today I needed to get it done, not least to get my wife off my back.

She’s an excellent citizen. She pays car tax when it’s due, submits utility readings on time, she has recycling down to a tee…she’s on the ball with those things.

For me, these boring things hold less priority. Funny thing is though when I get into them, I must do them with a high degree of accuracy. It’s getting started, that’s the problem. You see, I can only process one task at a time. The quintessential multitasker I am not.

So today I decided I’d take of these non-creative, bureaucratic, paper-pushing, uninspiring things and get my house in order. And it turned out I kind of enjoyed it.

Paperwork is not very creative, in my opinion. It’s merely a matter of following a process of putting things in boxes and labelling them. It’s a bounded exercise, but at the same time, it is rhythmic. It has a pattern, and we can get into that pattern and sing along with it if we choose.

If we want to play the game the way it has been constructed, then these things we must learn to do, and do well. Otherwise, life in the game becomes difficult. Debt collectors come knocking, and revenue services start making life horrible.

I’ve been there — I know the story!

We don’t have to fight non-creative work; we can roll with it, get a buzz from it. Just like painting, drawing, sweeping the floor, doing spuds, rock climbing or running, when we get into the rhythm of the work, we can enjoy it. That’s what getting with it really is.

I know I write a lot about how the system forces us down channels that we feel we don’t belong, but the truth is that there’s an opportunity for flow in all areas of life. Sure, there’s a time for fighting back, but sometimes going with the flow can work out too.

So how can you tell?

Well, I guess there’s no denying it when we feel it. We need to learn how to read it, that’s all.

If you want to work for yourself, then accounts and tax returns are a necessary part of the game. So best to find a way to flow with it rather than fight it.

I’m on the pig’s back now for another year.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters