I’ve spent a good part of the holidays trying to reconcile the over-saturation in my life. Of the large number of things I’d like to be doing, I’m coming up against the realization that I’m attempting to do too many of them. The result is a spectrum of underachievement.
Part of this over-commitment has been deliberate engineering. One of the problems with ADD is that things get dull pretty quickly. It’s hard to sustain effort on one thing over a period of years, and if I try to do that, I wind up with an ever slowing rate of progress, and that can rapidly lead to a state of depression. If not checked, it can slip into full blown clinical depression and that is no fun at all. So my balm for that is to have many things on the go. When one starts to slow, I can pick up on another project and hope to be sufficiently productive to maintain a positive outlook.
One problem with this mode of operation is that it’s easy to add new things. That leads to the next problem — it’s not long before there are too many projects, none of which move forward in any significant manner. I may not get bored, but nothing gets done. If the project has any temporal sensitivity, someone else gets there first, and the effort invested is now lost. The feeling that I could have been successful at that thing if only I had been more focused is also not a good one.
So the plan for 2013 is to cut back. This is a lot more difficult than it seems. In some cases I have long term commitments to customers to provide services, and there’s no real reason to back away from that. In other cases there is good potential for financial success, even if the work required to get there isn’t the most scintillating. Then there are the things that might be rewarding if only I could stay on them.
Two of the reasons why I started blogging were to practice writing, and to get some of the thoughts I have out of my head and written down. As it turns out, having a thought and presenting it in some coherent form are two different things. The thought pops into consciousness in an instant. The expression of that thought can take hours or days. End result: 135 posts over seven years in what, two dozen topics. A large number of unfinished drafts. Hardly a grand opus.
At this point this post sounds like I’m foreshadowing an end-of-blog announcement, but that’s not the case. The blog has been in a semi-coma for quite some time, each post like a muscle twitch in an atrophying corpse. But as long as there’s a little brain activity I’ll keep it around. Maybe I’ll even be able to find an easier way to write posts that are less everyday than this one.
Writing more has ranked highly on every self analysis I’ve performed on my life and career for the past twenty-five years. I’ve improved at it over that time, but still I have done precious little when it comes to storytelling, to fiction. This round is no different. As I rank my options and look to pare down, writing comes high on the “rewarding” scale, but on the “revenue” side it remains “zero to hope”, and the investment of time and effort to produce good writing is large and easy to underestimate.
So this is why my list remains lengthy. It’s incredibly difficult to remove anything from the list, yet not paring the list down means a life less productive, and an unproductive life is — in my book at least — tantamount to useless (and thus the tight linkage to depression). This culling is too challenging, yet it is unavoidable.
So hello, 2013. May the battle begin.