So I have been sitting here today doing some work for my main job. As it usually goes, I started thinking about some of the many things I want to spend time working on. To simplify the idea, my life kind of revolves around three resources: time, energy, and money. I will never have all three, so I make the most of the two I have at that time.
How do you manage your projects and ideas?
The problem I am running into is identifying what projects are the best for me to spend my limited resources on. How many of you are dealing with this? I met with my CPA last week, and he was talking to me about my “endeavors”. One of his key points is “what are your goals?” He asked me to list off my projects and identify the number of hours I should be applying to each in order to be successful. Then total up the hours and compare it to the amount of time I have available outside of my primary responsibilities.
Unsurprisingly, my current projects require more time than I have to work with. This issue is compounded by the fact that I came up with some more ideas today. I think I need to give up on something. However, do not worry, I am not leaving any of you. I am here for you, long-term.
How do you choose between your children?
No, seriously, how do you choose which one stays? It is not as simple as identifying which of my projects are most profitable. I never wanted to judge these ideas based solely on profitability. I wanted to look at it in terms of what is most fun, as well as what is most fulfilling. From there I started adding other variables such as time expense, number of moving pieces (outside variables), as well as several others.
Did this help me? Absolutely not! In fact, I am still wrestling with this very problem. I have reduced my time on a couple elements in order to free up some time and money to pursue one of my next items. Nonetheless, I know this is temporary. I need to sit down and make a decision.
Why is making a decision so hard?
I read an article about Zadie Smith that spoke about her personal philosophy on editing her stories. I will paraphrase it as it refers to more than writing a novel: take your work, and let it sit for a while. Put it in a drawer, a case, or somewhere out of site long enough for your to remove yourself from the role of creator. Become a consumer of your creation, and you will understand editing. Her words, “You need a certain head on your shoulders to edit a novel…you need to get the head of a smart stranger that has just picked it up off the shelf in a bookstore.”
It is incredible and yet so simple in concept. Remove yourself from the role of creator and you can derive the value your creation provides. I’ll be using this as a guide in the future.
What do you think?