New Years Means Nothing

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.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

One thought on “New Years Means Nothing”

  1. hugh says:

    I’m glad somebody picked up the ball on AmigoFish. I briefly considered talking to you about letting me run it, but I’ve been in jealous-time-guarding mode for several years now. There’s nothing wrong with being good at starting up things but not so keen on running them. Any person of moderate skill can keep something going if it’s viable. Not so many folks can come up with something new. Perhaps your plans for a project should include how you can hand it off to others so that you can go play with the new shiny thing.

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