Wanting to do so many things, trying to decide, and doing nothing

Sean Dominguez (@dominoz) 10 years, 2 months ago

There are so many things I want to do with my life.

I was a French major and I can see my skills (or lack thereof) starting to fade a bit. After doing a Startup Weekend and getting involved with a startup, I want to learn computer science and programming. At my startup, I’m the marketing biz guy. I need to make money on the side and I’d like to be able to work remotely so I can travel someday. I want to write novels and books and blog and drink and learn how to play the guitar do allllllllll these things.

But obviously I can’t do this all at once! Even when I do try to say, “focus on these, go to those later” there’s always some nagging sensation going, “noo, noo, noo, you KNOW you want to get to that”

How do you guys tackle wanting to do so many things? I want to be really productive with my time in learning and this overanalyzing has got to go.

July 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm
Jeff (2) (@greatalastor) 10 years, 2 months ago ago

i understand were your coming from, im an art major who wants to travel learn the harp learn Japanese and a plethora of other things. i know its tough to focus one one thing at a time and i have a really tough time focusing on a single thing. but that’s what you have to do if you want to master some thing,

its said you have to dedicate 10,000 hrs to something in order to master it… well 10,000hrs is a lot of time i never feel like i have to spare! but its all about scheduling your time. figure “ok i want to learn the guitar i can spend and hr each morning practicing that, then move on to an hr of french practice, then write for an hr, ect”

ive found that when i break down my day like this and fill my time with the things i want to learn it becomes a manageable feat and not an overwhelming mess of wants and lack of time.

Jason (111) (@thinknowlivenow) 10 years, 2 months ago ago

@greatalastor, you’re correct with time management being the key to getting things done.

Becoming overwhelmed by options and choices, then ultimately taking no action as a result is known as “analysis paralysis”. I’ve found that the more I just get started with whatever it is I want to do, and focus on just doing that and nothing else for 15 minutes straight, the more I find it easier to just keep working and focus for an hour or two.

Procrastination becomes too easy when you allow yourself to become overwhelmed and “paralyzed” ; )

Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 10 years, 2 months ago ago

First of all… yes time management is important, but the most important thing is prioritizing.

You simply HAVE TO decide what’s more important to you, starting with the most important making a list. Once the list is done, you start with the top one and DO IT.

Sometimes it can feel difficult, but that will never end unless you take on the challenge. As long as you let yourself become overwhelmed and don’t take action, you’re never gonna get things done. And this overwhelming feeling will still wait right there for you, everytime you try to get one of those things done. It won’t go away until you defeat it.

All it takes is to go against it. When you feel overwhelmed, calm yourself down and take control. If you’re having a hard time deciding between two goals, just flip a coin or whatever. Just go with one of them. Gotta get your priorities straight or you’ll never get anywhere and you’ll miss out on all the fun.

Once you get past the first hurdle it’s a breeze, it becomes part of the fun. Revving your engines, so to speak, while thinking about all the amazing stuff you’re gonna do.

Life’s too short to waste, and too long to live with regrets.

Peace //Elion

freemandu (0) (@freemandu) 1 month, 4 weeks ago ago

thank you for this

justin (1) (@curious) 10 years, 2 months ago ago

i know where your coming from, kind of, except im not in college yet, i have no idea what i want to do, at all, i know i want to travel, i want to sky dive, wingsuit down the side of mountains, spend days/weeks at a time in the woods, walk miles and miles through nature with no connection to civilization, i want to read more, learn atleast 2 languages, i want to find myself, i want to see how far i can go physically and mentally, and part of me wants to try to change the world.

Sean Dominguez (2) (@dominoz) 10 years, 2 months ago ago

Thanks for the helpful advice y’all. I think the part that gets lost in the diagnosis of this is the ability to believe in yourself – the idea of locus of control and whatnot. If you believe in your ability to do x, putting in the time to become great at x becomes a pleasure more than an exhausting affair. When you don’t believe in yourself, it’s just labor. When you do, it’s an amazing investment. But that’s all overthinking. Every day I wake up, I feel I believe in myself just a little bit more than I previously did.

@curious Go for it, man. Go for it all. I’m sure you’ve read Jordan, founder of High Existence’s biography, right? Honestly, the older I get, the more I believe taking a ‘gap year’ (between high school and university) or doing something other than school before uni extremely valuable. No matter how good you are in school or how much you read, you can never know the world until you live in it, and education does shield you a bit from the most foundation-shaking experiences.

I was a really, really good student in high school – very disciplined and a very high achiever. I didn’t know shit going into uni. I didn’t know what a business degree was, I didn’t know that you didn’t have to go to film school to be a filmmaker (especially today), and I didn’t even know what I’d be learning as an EE major (what the hell? 0s and 1s?). If you’re able to get out there and explore a bit before committing to anything (as long as you’re being true to yourself with the intention of choosing something and not just procrastinating) perhaps that would be the best choice. I’ve met guys who went to the military for 4 years, saved a lot of money, knew exactly what they wanted to do after they got out, and had the confidence and discipline to get it done. How amazing would that be?

In any case, just walk in a direction. As @manimal, I guess I gotta just choose. If I can learn one thing and put off another thing, I’m sure learning the first of the two will give me confidence that i can learn the latter. It all really comes down to patience I suppose. I remember when I was 20, I was extremely depressed because I wouldn’t be a Mark Zuckerberg or a da Vinci – I could never be prodigious. But now it’s like, “shit, I’m 22, I’m not super materialistic, and I’m curious about lots of things. I can do absolutely anything I want and I’m fucking young – how amazing is that?”

Anyway, there’s a quote on Twitter I found a few days ago that I think about often:

“Unused creativity is not benign. It turns into grief, judgement and shame.” @BreneBrown

Get out there and do it, man. I will be also.

daveb (119) (@daveb) 10 years, 2 months ago ago

@dominoz, at this point I’m just echoing the other posters, but there is a cool documentary called Touching the Void about two guys that nearly die climbing a mountain in south america.

one of the guys makes the comment “you have to keep making decisions, if you stop making decisions, you’re stuffed”.

it works just as well in daily life as it does in a life-and-death situation. make a choice, go in that direction, and if it’s not fun or isn’t working out, make a new choice.

the documentary is awesome, too, worth watching. might inspire you to shit or get off the pot!

Walter (17) (@walter) 10 years, 2 months ago ago

@manimal, This is helpful advice, prioritizing is definitely what I’ve been missing, as most of the last two months has been impulse. Which gets not much of what I want to get done, and more of what takes up all my time.

It’s kind of funny actually, I think about time management enough that it’s not a feasible use of my time… hahaha

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