Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm Not a Forty-Year-Old Kid Any More: Time, Organization, Energy, and Priorities

My wife told me that she'd like to see more of me. Apart from giving me reason to question her aesthetic sensibilities, it brought me back to an issue that I'd noticed.

Properly Prioritizing Projects

Several promising projects have slid off the back burner, and are somewhere behind the stove now. These include:
  • Artwork for an existing website
  • A new website's
    • Graphic Design
    • Site architecture
      (fancy talk for organization and navigation)
    • Copy
    • Artwork
  • Content for a somewhat-lapsed blog
I'd known that I'd been letting a bit of the non-urgent slip by, but hadn't realized how big that pile behind the stove was.

Worse, I realized that I hadn't been spending as much time with my wife and kids as I could - and probably should - have.

Sound familiar? Nothing new here.

This week I took a deep breath, and about a half hour, to think about where my time and energy was going.

I'm Not a Forty-Year-Old Kid Any More

The first thing I decided was that it was time to admit my limitations.
  • I need sleep
    • At regular intervals
    • Around 8 hours a day
  • When I don't sleep I get tired
    • When I get tired I get stupid
    • When I get stupid my productivity goes down
  • I need exercise
    • There's a cartoon, doctor saying to patient, "What will fit better into your daily schedule: exercising for one hour, or being dead for 24?"

Family is Important

Sure, an exciting, rewarding career and a thriving business is fine (I'll let you know when I've got both!), but there's not much point to either if you don't have, and keep up with, your family. At least, that's the way I see it.

Urgent and Important Aren't the Same Thing

I've been paying attention lately to blog posts and website issues that needed to be dealt with now, or sooner. That sort of thing can be distracting.

Details are Important - So is the Big Picture

I've let two things happen: Concentrated on the details of keeping an ambitious set of blogs and websites fairly up to date; added little tasks one at a time, until the principle of the camel's back applies. Since I'm the entire staff, as well as the manager and head of the company, I can't let the detail work become overwhelming.

Or, rather, I shouldn't have.

Reality Check and the Next Step

I don't do my best work after about 10 or 11 at night. What made me aware of that was a late-nighter I did recently, when I couldn't think of the word "pretentious." For me, that was spooky: like a driver not being able to remember where the switch for the headlights is.

So, I'm cutting back my workload: to get better work out of me; make more time for my wife and family; and have the brains, energy, and creativity I'll need to spark up "Easy Griller" and "Minnesota for Web-Wise Travelers," and create "Loonfoot Falls," the website.

It's probably going to mean lower traffic in the short run, since the biggest time-eater right now is "Apathetic Lemming of the North." I've been doing six posts a day - mostly what I call 'micro-reviews.' It's fun to do, people like to visit, but I think I need to grow other places online.

We'll see how this works.


Unknown said...

No you are a 50 year old kid...enjoy your adventure!

Brian H. Gill said...


Thanks! And I've been taking your advice, and enjoying the adventure.

Brian H. Gill said...


Thanks. Although I couldn't help noticing that you made no specific reference to anything in the blog, or this post.

This is a good reminder, for me, of a few topics for future posts.

Anonymous said...

well prioritization is an art

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