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My path to creativity at work: playing guitar

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Hello! It is Monday Aman-day again! (apologies for my corny jokes ^^)

July has been nice so far! Sadly, my plan to go to Bali got delayed yet again due to strict lockdown in both Jakarta and Bali as cases of Covid19 have gone up again in Indonesia – even today the cases have reach more than 29,000 of positive cases. Well, this lock down has given me a bit more time to dig into my old hobbies to de-stress in between work. Meet my hobby buddy – Guisabella– my black second hand guitar since '08. She has been popping up at (remote) work lately for quick jam session.

(I dont have a good picture of my de-stress buddy Guisabella :) . Here is my guitar, myself while playing guitar in between classes, and myself while performing)

In our last retreat, we talk about a plan to reduce our work hours to 30-hour per week. At first this plan made me more anxious than I excited because of how much work that I am juggling. If I listed out, I don’t think I’m juggling that much task but I was more anxious about not being able to complete the task within the given time. Based on constructive feedback, I found that I am still in the analytical part of doing work. This means that I am probably solving one problem at a time which in the end is more time-consuming and energy draining, than it is effective. What I need to do is to simplify and find the core problem, in which I have to be in the creative part of working. However, because I’m stressing so much about my uncompleted problems, I kind of forgot on how to be creative in someway. So lately I’ve been picking up my old hobbies which is playing guitar.


I started playing guitar in sixth grade. I remember it so vividly when I started. It was two weeks before National Examination of 2009, I was stressed out in my study and could not get out because it was Kafun season in Japan (pollen allergy during spring season. I was not allergic, but because my parents did not quite understand what season it was, we didn't go out ^^) . At first, I learned rapping to Eminem’s songs to cope with my stress but then it became too annoying for my sisters who shared study room with me, so then I learned playing guitar. It took me some time to sound pleasant for other people’s ears- probably years. When I started being able to sing and play guitar at around thirteen, I thought that playing guitar was my passion and partly because I watched too many Disney movies in which main character’s passion almost always music.


Now as a young adult, I found that, playing guitar is my escapism, a space between myself and my busy mind. Something about learning the chords of my favorite songs, trying different way to strum or pick the chords, and singing on top of my lungs, that are therapeutic. There is this quote by Clark Vogeler of The Toadies that defines it in a perfect way: “If I'm having troubles, or something has stressed me out, playing music on a guitar resets me to zero, calms me down, and puts me in a place where I'm ready and able to deal with almost anything.” That is exactly how I feel!


Playing guitar clears my mind to better structure my thoughts. When I play my Guisabella, I can not only learn and memorize the chords, but I have to understand the beat and the flow to harmonize with the lyrics. If I skip the chords and jump from first to third chords that it will sound off key and off beat – which is probably like how I sound when I rap to Eminem songs. Same with my work, I found that I can not just learn how to do my work and do it at the same time, it will just be a terrible multitasking mess. I have to learn the pace and harmonize with the beat of su-re.co to plan what I need to prioritize. I understand the beat to su-re.co song, but I still need to harmonize. This may be too far of a metaphorical stretch. What I am trying to share is, better not to negate your old hobbies that you enjoy because it may declutter our brains that are full of deadlines. In my case, picking up the guitar and noodling around for a few minutes in between created space to inspired idea to drop in. I hope that if do it more often, I will get to a creative part of doing work ^^


Cheers and thanks for reading

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