I’ve drifted away from the Merlin Mann hero worship, but today I saw a really good post from him about changing habits and making resolutions. This is one of the reasons I stopped making resolutions years ago. Creating a change you want to see in yourself and then tying it to a resolution is a kiss of death for it. It’s an admission that you will perform the puppet show of pretending you care and then forgetting all about it. Independently the other day I started assembling the list of projects large and small in my life that I want to make progress on. It was a shockingly long list which also explains why I don’t make progress. It occurred to me days after I started that I was leaving off projects for which I have web sites up and running. I registered domains for these things, set them up on my Hostgator account and even so it took a few days to remember I even had them. This signifies that I have too many projects in my life.
The sad thing is that I’d love to move on all of these projects. It’s true about me as about most people that I love starting projects and concluding them but I’m far less interested in executing on them. Although New Years and resolutions is not a triggering event for me to re-evaluate, the imminent birth of my daughter is. I can pretty much guarantee for the early part of 2011 we will barely be holding it together. We will be old parents dealing with a newborn at first, then trying to integrate working my day job with being the dad of a young baby. I know I will barely have any time, so I have to jealously guard whatever little bits of time come my way. This requires thinking through that list and making the hard decisions.
I want to work on all these projects. That’s why they are on the list. I just physically can’t work on them all so now it becomes the Sophie’s Choice model. If I could take one and only one project and work it all the way to successful completion this year, which one would it be? I think I know (although I’m keeping it to myself.) Now the question is how in the next week or three to do all the groundwork necessary so that I can decompose this into something I can achieve in bursts of 15 minutes of time stolen away from my life. It will be hard to put most of these things I care about into cryonic suspension as if they were going on an interstellar voyage. However, they will all still be there later if and when I ever get back to them.
I am already in the process of divesting myself of AmigoFish. Originally I was planning to shut it down but a white knight has emerged to keep it alive. The transition is under way and around the time my daughter arrives I should have only the minor role we specificied contractually in providing emergency system administration help. That’s painful because I’d loved to have made this more of a success but making the hard choice to no longer pursue it feels good. I can’t adequately time slice between 20 different things, so I’m keeping active the one or two that I care most about and everything else goes on hiatus. With luck 2012 will be a great time of refreshed enthusiasm and reinvigorated process. Possibly, it could also be a time of purging my metaphorical project pantry of the cans of beets I know I’ll never eat. Either way, I feel good about it.
May all of you have a successful year of making the hard choices and moving your individual ball down the field of your lives.