— 30 October 2005 —

AWF2005 – Pictures, Philosophy, & Skeet Surfing

I have pictures up on Flickr. It was a great conference. I decided to go analog, as it were, for taking notes. I found I did listen more. Over the next two days I will be typing up my notes and posting them here.

I also made a point of asking each presenter a question. These things need to be more conversational and I can’t wait for other people to start or I will be waiting forever.

The only times I didn’t ask a question were when someone asked the question I was going to ask (though much less eloquently of course :), and when Don Norman finished talking. Mostly because I was still miffed that he interrupted me during my questioning of one of the speakers. I mean honestly, what is it with people who have written books that makes them think they can interrupt me? I am looking at you Mihaly…

Speaking of Mihaly… Many mentions of “flow” at the conference. Directly and indirectly. The weight put on most discussions fell on the work side of things. What I mean by that is work got more sympathy than play. This country especially seems hell bent on work. Work goes everywhere. A cubicle’s walls are nothing compared to the boundaries we put around play. We are asked to consider work so much… so many hours a week and it goes beyond the threshold of the office doors; it ekes into every aspect of what we do and companies are only too happy to allow it.

But what about home and play? Not at work. Want to take some time off for yourself? You better feel guilty about it. I don’t blame corporations (entirely). I blame us. All of us. You. Me. Them. Everybody. We convinced ourselves that it is okay to not be happy. We think, “It’s only for a few years.”

Let me ask you this: If I am freakishly stressed out and totally blocked (designer’s block) at work, and I decide to go climbing for a few hours in the middle of the day, is that a bad thing? I am being proactive. I am doing something healthy, that helps alleviate stress, and will likely allow me to be more focused when I return to my desk. I will produce better quality work because I am taking care of myself. I will find it easier to deal with future stressful situations.

Cost isn’t figured just by what a company loses, but also by what it gains.

So… tomorrow I want everyone to come Skeet Surfing with me. If you are in a groove at work, go with it. But if you need a little break, come on down to the beach. I’ll be the one in the three-piece suit with my pant legs rolled up and sand in me undies.

Balance in all things, laddie. Balance in all things.

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