Method Matters

The Keurig/K-pod was a brilliant invention.  Individualized portions.  Ostensibly fresh packets.  Brewed for just one cup in literally seconds.  No mess.  No leftovers.  What more could you want?  It was the perfect answer for the on-the-go professional who wanted their fresh cup of coffee without bothering anyone else or feeling bad about wasting unused coffee.

Unless that wasn’t the answer you were looking for.  I appreciate the Keurig but still prefer the pot of coffee.  Why?  For me, there’s more to coffee than what goes in the mouth.  To be sure, I love holding something hot and perky while engaging in deep conversation or intense desk work.  But there are other aspects of the whole process of brewing coffee I miss with the K-pod, three to be specific.  One, I like the way asking officemates or family members if they want some coffee builds community.  The potential to make more than one cup forces the issue: I can’t in good faith make a pot of coffee without considering others who might want some.  Two, it’s more eco-friendly.  A bag (maybe even paper) of coffee uses less plastic than all those little k-pods.  Sure, you can recycle plastic but I doubt those little things with all the debris inside make it to the recycling plant.  And three, honestly, I enjoy the whole process: pouring out the leftover brew, rinsing and washing the pot, grinding beans (when I can), smelling the grounds, placing the filter, measuring the water, pressing the ‘brew’ button – all of these remind me of the joy of coffee and build up the suspense to the first sip.

All that to say, how I make my coffee matters.  It’s not just a means to an end but part of the whole experience.  As we begin a new year and consider all the potential new beginnings, new intentions, tweaks, and/or modifications to our daily lives we might want to implement, consider not only the desired outcome but the way you’re getting there.  Sometimes it matters just as much as the end result!

Take my friend who wants to do a better job of organizing her schedule/activities/ priorities this year.  Not only did she think carefully about how to organize but also the format for doing so.   She even went so far as to have someone design her weekly planner for her.  She knew that the actual layout of lines and boxes and labels would make a difference in how effectively she organized herself.

If you really want to stick with an exercise routine, go with a friend!  If you want a kid to learn a new word, don’t bring a flashcard – have the kid make it herself!  If you are actually looking to get some rest, don’t take a trip – stay home!  If you want to grow spiritually, don’t buy a lot of books – find a mentor!

The point is, if you have a goal in mind, think carefully about how you will achieve it and if that’s really the best way to go about it.  As Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan famously said: “the medium is the message.”

And now it’s time to go wash out my coffee pot!

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