If it’s a good idea now, it’ll still be a good idea in three weeks
You know that pledge I made to blog every day for three weeks, in the hope of making it a habit? Well, I managed to keep it up for three days before dropping the ball yesterday. I blame a hot day full of work, family, and other higher priorities.
Thankfully, I can reset the clock and try again. That’s what I’m doing today, with this very post, even though it means putting off a bunch of other things for a while.
You see, I’ve decided to pace myself. Not only am I going to look at a three-week block like this as the time it takes to develop a new habit, but I’m also going to treat it as the time I have to wait until I get started on the next big thing I want to do.
I’m pretty good at the “developing new ideas and setting new things in motion” part of life. There are lots of new habits I’d like to adopt, and plenty of projects waiting in the wings. Blogging every day is a good way to start, because I like the idea of making this site more of a “home base” for all the other stuff I’ve got on the go. That in itself is a great incentive to stick to it.
But until I hit that three-week mark, the next thing’s going to have to wait. And until I hit the three-week mark on the next thing, the thing after that’s on hold. And until the thing after that’s up and running…
That’s me, trying to pace myself. Like I said, I’m good at the “new ideas” part of life. But you know the other part, where you keep a new project going through the ups and downs? I haven’t always been so good at that part.
Sometimes it’s because I’ve over-committed myself. Sometimes it’s because I’m not very good at delegating. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know when to quit. Sometimes it’s just because I’d rather be busy than sit around and do nothing. None of these are smart ways to work, and I’m hoping I can learn to do better by pacing myself and getting a better sense of perspective.
It was a lot easier to get away with faults like these before I had a kid. Now that I do, I don’t have the luxury of jumping on every new and exciting idea, whenever I want. Not without a really good plan and some assurance it’s worth it, at least. I also don’t have to worry about how much I hate sitting around and doing nothing anymore, but that’s another story.
Anything can seem like a good idea when you don’t have a decent sense of your commitments and priorities. Soon you’re doing too many things at once, and you’re probably not doing any of them very well. Balancing a kid and a full-time job has a way of sharpening your perspective, whether you like it or not.
And even though I’m sure that last sentence made all my childless friends roll their eyes and grumble about how I used to be cool, the fact is I do like it. I may not be cool anymore, but I’m in a much better position to make the kind of smart decisions that will help me do cool things.
In fact, I’m already noticing the difference. A couple of weeks ago, I landed an interview for a writing gig I’d been chasing since before my kid was born. When it finally came around, I was honest about what little I could commit to, and they were honest about what little they could do for me in light of that. When they told me it wasn’t a good fit, I agreed, and I was relieved. In fact, I was suddenly excited about doing something good with the time I wouldn’t be committing to them.
I want more of that. I want to feel good about focusing on fewer things, and I want to feel good about letting go of current commitments.
It’s probably no secret that Everyone’s a DJ, which we’re hosting at Disgraceland tomorrow night, has suffered because it’s become a exhausting chore for me. It’s still a terrific idea – one of the best I’ve ever had, if I do say so myself – and in someone else’s hands it could become a better night than it’s ever been. But that’s not going to happen until I hand it off to someone else, and if not for the same old weaknesses, I’d have done that by now.
If it’s a good idea now, it’ll still be a good idea in three weeks. If it doesn’t seem like such a good idea after I’ve let it incubate for a while, I can feel good about rejecting it. If it still seems exciting, but I know I’m not the person to do it, I can hand it off to someone else. Then I can get back to work on something I know is worth doing, because it’s already passed all these tests.
What do you think? Is this going to work? Have you ever tried something similar? Where did you succeed or fail? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
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