When I was young my Dad was always restoring vintage cars. My mother would despair when he arrived at the house every few years with another bucket of rust.
Strange and mysterious parts where strewn around the house. Pumps, swing arms, trafficators and every little do-hickey or whosit that some engineer had dreamt up to solve a small problem.
Well, my Dad would take them apart and put them back together.
He never assumed that they would work, he stripped everything to its smallest part. Cleaned, repaired and put it together again.
He restored it.
Tiny bit by tiny bit.
My Dads job has always been in the bar trade. He is diligent, so before he opens up, he cleans, stocks, counts and checks. Which means that often, between the pints he has a minute or two spare.
In those moments he would pull out a car part, a boot lock mechanism or a dashboard clock that has long since stopped ticking. And in those moments he would tinker, that is until a customer would come along, and then he would smile, call them by name and ask about their day while pulling another pint.
When they would go back to their seat, usually with a last laugh, my Dad returned to that nights little puzzle.
Then one day, as a family, we would head to a vintage rally, where my dad would carefully park a car that looked like it had just rolled out of the factory. It would gleam.
There were always the enthusiasts who asked the technical questions, but that never seemed to make my Dad smile the most.
It was the bright eyed young man who looked at the photos of the rusted wreck on the dashboard and wondered how a man even starts.
I knew he didn't do it all at once.
That a car restoration wasn't a meal, it was a hundred thousand small snacks.
Between the things he did because he had to, he did something he wanted to. He didn't make time, he found time.
I read an IAB report* recently, it said that 52% of people prefer to check their smartphone if they have any “downtime” rather than just sit and think. Among 18-30 year olds, the figure rises to over 62%.
It mounts up to two hours 12 minutes of info-snacking in the average day.
As creative people we are always working on huge puzzles in the agency, but we rarely take the same time to work on creative puzzles of our own. Perhaps if we took the time to break them down into snacks, life might be more fulfilling.
* Carried out by independent research agency Firefish, involving over 1,350 interviews amongst smartphone owners and 700 hours of video footage from people wearing FishEye cameras.