Darel Rex Finley in 888

What You Have To Give Up

2010.07.29   prev     next

Half of getting what you want is knowing what you have to give up to get it. —Bill Phillips

A  while back I wrote a discouraging piece about my own long-term self-delusion. In it I concluded that, as Bill Phillips states above, I must figure out what I have to give up to get the life I really want. I’ve given it a lot of thought and have come up with a list of the things that have been a regular part of my life for many months, if not years now, that I’m going to give up — for at least the remainder of 2010 — so as to make it possible for me to make progress on the project I really need to be hitting now.

As I look over this list, I realize that, in theory, each item could co-exist with my main project. The problem is that all of them put together make it impossible for me to find the time. So in the interest of doing something, I have to choose things to sacrifice. Here goes:

  • Sirius radio — I subscribed to Sirius several years ago just so I could listen to Howard Stern after he left terrestrial radio. I really enjoy his show, but it does take up a lot of time. Even if I’m doing something else at at the same time that I listen to Stern — just recording it every night on my old laptop, transferring it to my current laptop, then to my iPhone, takes significant time.

  • watching TV while doing nothing else — If I’m folding clothes, OK. If I’m exercising on the treadmill or lifting weights with a TV going nearby, OK. But no more seriously watching entire episodes of Law & Order Special Criminal Crime Unit or anything like that, while getting not much done. If it’s even significantly slowing me down, then I need to stop watching it.

  • surfing YouTube — Far more tempting than even digital cable TV, YouTube can keep me fascinated and entertained until my eyes are bloodshot and the sun’s coming up. YouTube is pretty much out, unless I can play something really long from it while folding clothes. Same rule as TV — but I don’t expect that to work very often. Most days I won’t be touching YouTube at all.

  • hanging out at Starbucks — I really enjoy just reading tech news on my iPhone while sipping on a coffee drink. And although hypothetically I could get some things done at Starbucks, for now I’ve got to cut it out of my life. Maybe once per weekend I could get a Frappuccino in the drive-thru. And if I’m successful enough someday that I can quit my day job, then this whole equation may change dramatically. But for now, it’s time to give the Starbucks time a rest.

  • rendering Star Wars crawls — Every few days, it seems, someone e-mails me to ask if I can render a Star Wars-style text crawl for them, since they don’t have a computer that can run my SWTSG app. I enjoy doing this for those people — but it really is a time killer. I’m going to have to politely decline such requests until further notice.

  • other projects — I have three or four ideas for profitable projects, any or all of which might bear fruit someday. But I need to focus on just one of them, the one that is most likely to succeed and succeed soon. The others must wait.

  • video gaming — Half-Life 2, Counterstrike Source, various iPhone games — they all soak up time and accomplish nothing. My videogaming days must be put on hold until next year.

  • blog articles — It seems that every day or two I think of an idea that “must” be written up as a blog article. Even though I generally don’t get out more than about one of them per week, it still takes time for them to gel. But I don’t want to stop blogging altogether, so I’ll make this new rule for myself: One blog article per week, always on the weekend, and always written and posted in a single, efficient writing session.

  • frequent RSS reading — No more checking my RSS reader umpteen dozen times a day — from now on I will check it just once per day; a single, efficient RSS skimming-and-reading session.

  • blowing off my main (focus) project today — I’m making a new rule for myself: I must hit my main project for at least 15 minutes every day, without exception. More than 15 minutes on any given day? Sure. But never less. I’ve got to keep the ball rolling.

Keepers

Two things I’m not giving up for this plan:

  • fitness — A modest fitness routine, I think, is an absolute prerequisite to making any self-motivated plan work.

  • family time — The whole purpose of this plan is to build a better life — but it would defeat that purpose if I fell out of contact with my wife and child.

The plan begins when I post these words to my blog. The focus project? Finishing the book I started last fall!

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