Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Irons in the Fire Method

I seem to be addicted to projects where I can set something up and then check back later to reap the rewards. My recent interest in crystal growing is a great example. I can do tons of research ahead of time on a type of crystal I want to grow, set it up, then go do something else for several hours. If I haven't gotten enough of crystals yet, that "something else" might well be researching and setting up another crystal growing experiment. In any case, I get the thrill of seeing a change the next time I check back on the project. I absolutely love the idea of putting in the planning and effort up front, then kicking back and letting things progress automatically.

I do run into a problem if I don't have enough other things to do. If that's the case, I may wind up waiting around expectantly, and I'm subsequently not as excited when the results do come in. When this happens, I run the risk of losing whatever momentum I'd gained and not having much energy left to start up a new project or continue with the current one.

I'm extremely prone to forming mini obsessions that last anywhere from days to months. While the intense period of interest might keep me going with a seemingly endless supply of energy, my interests also have a tendency to switch suddenly, making it hard to plan on getting things done with this level of efficiently for any predetermined amount of time. Using the "irons in the fire" method would mitigate this, as I could follow my natural rhythm of rotating through interests, intentionally choosing projects that will yield rewards over time.

I have attempted in the past to construct to do lists that involve completing a series 15 to 30 minute tasks, consistently, on a daily basis. Nothing could be more opposite to my natural inclinations. The last time I attempted such a thing, I succeeded exactly once in completing everything on my list for the day. It was exhausting. Each following day of the week, I would inevitably end up spending several hours on one task or another that was meant to be "brief", and then not have enough time or energy to complete everything else. And then I would feel guilty for not having completed my goal. But why? Isn't cleaning my room until it's spotless or composing music for 4 hours technically a good thing?

Perhaps it's time that I stopped setting myself up to fail and instead worked with my natural tendencies instead of against them. Within reason, of course. (Wouldn't it be nice if you could do dishes for three days straight and then not have to worry about them for an entire year?)

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