Creative Maintenance

Most of the creative People I know love to do what the title implies and create things. They want to ideate, design and build. Like me, theycringe at the thought of having to maintain legacy entities.

As a programmer, I love designing algorithms, functions and modules. I love solving problems and deploying solutions. But once a program is built, it has to be maintained. That stinks.

Unfortunately, maintenance is a part of life. Everything breaks down. Therefore, everything needs some degree of care. The mower needs repaired, your body needs exercised, cars need their oil changed and clients need follow-up calls.

Like many, I’ve been guilty of viewing maintenance as a boring, thankless task that I don’t want to do. But over time, I’ve come to realize that not only is it essential but it can be fun too.

Creativity doesn’t have to stop at creation. Maintaining your brain child doesn’t have to be boring. If you’re truly creative, you need to figure out a way to bring that creativity to your maintenance duties. Programmers have this built-in. They can write test programs that run every time something in the code changes. If the changes have broken something, the tests point to the culprit.

In the world of geographic information systems (GIS) you often find yourself processing and analyzing ever changing data over and over again. Many GIS analysts solve these maintenance problems by learning Python or other languages and automating the tasks.

What about non-technical fields like sales? A salesman might secure a sale to a new client but the real money is in future sales to the same client. That salesman has to maintain the relationship indefinitely. But that doesn’t have to mean bland monthly emails or phone calls. There are lots of ways to keep contact with someone. Engage them on social media, write a poem for them or invite them to an even. Use your imagination.

Creative people have an advantage in their work. They can make life fun by bringing their talent to bear in all situations. Maintaining things that are already built is a challenge for them to go beyond the initial build and perpetually create.

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