Am I doing too much?
A few weeks ago I was underemployed and struggling to get any freelance projects off the ground. Through weekly talk therapy and an amazing support system I was keeping focused on the opportunities rather than dwelling on all the little things that kept not working on. Then suddenly the pace shifted.
My desk went from clear and minimal to stacked full despite my regular cleaning sprees. The mail pile went from a few items to overflowing. The same happened to my book pile. My to do list crew far beyond what will fit on a notecard and my calendar has turned into a difficult to read mess.
The bookstore I was working at started giving me more hours.
I started volunteering on the board of The Winkler Gallery’s marketing committee.
The coffee roaster that I visit regularly hired me to work on their website.
There was a decent sized commercial shoot in Georgia that popped up for me to produce.
Three musicians started talks to make new music videos.
I started reading more books, writing book reviews, and working daily on the book I’ve been writing for months.
A friend of mine asked me to help her with an animation for a short film she is entering in Cannes Film Festival.
I still need to spend time with my family and girlfriend (and cats!).
And now I’m writing this post.
It’s a lot and it won't be slowing down anytime soon. So the question is: how do I keep from burning out and still bring my "A game" to each of these projects?
This is where— in the past— I didn’t handle the weight very well. The stress would eventually eat away at me until I was unable to manage it. I’d finish up as many of them as possible and let ones that I wasn’t accountable to anyone else for just vanish.
I am determined to make this time different. Life is all about trial and error.
An app called ToDoist has been helping tremendously with the task of managing everything. It feels weird to have everything hanging in the balance of an app, but it’s working well so far.
This isn’t a commercial for the app, but it’s seriously amazing how much easier it has gotten to manage the stress of all these projects. It allows me to split everything into different “projects” and then set a time for them to pop up on my “Today” to do list.
After completing a task, I swipe right to clear it out. If I can’t get to it today then a simple swipe left will give me automatic options to move it to tomorrow, next week, or any time I choose. It’s designed so flawlessly that this all seems like second nature after using it for a few day.
The big thing this system helps with is that I can not worry about projects or tasks that aren’t urgent. Things that aren’t on my list for today mostly stay out of mind. I make sure every task has a date set on them so I have peace of mind knowing that nothing on those lists will be completely forgotten.
The tricky part is making sure to add everything I need to do— even the little tasks like getting through my mail pile— get added.
Is doing all of these things at once too much to be sustainable? Maybe… but I’m happy, feel productive, and will do my best to manage this balancing act.
So everyone that I’m working on one of these projects with (or any that get added to the list), rest assured that I’m not forgetting about it.
If you’ve give me a deadline, I will adhere to it. If you haven’t heard from me, it’s because that project in less urgent— not less important— than whatever I’m currently working on.