The choice between the things we want to do and the things we need to do is easy. It’s not always fun, and we might not always make the right choice, but knowing which choice is the right one… it’s usually not too difficult. The same goes for choosing between things we want to do and things we should do. I need to feed the cat (not that she’ll let me forget). I should do the dishes. I want to binge-watch Veronica Mars. Again. I’m ostensibly a grownup, so… I’ll feed the cat, complain about doing the dishes (but do them anyway), and then watch as much VM as I have time for.
The trouble comes when the options are equal, when the choice is between one thing you want to do, and another thing you want to do.
One of the nice things about painting a room is that, once the prep work is done, it’s about as close to a mindless activity as you can get. No decisions, no puzzles to solve, just a few hours of rolling paint onto a wall. Finding hints of previous paint colours and being horribly judgemental about the kind of people who would choose that particular shade of brown for a room that size is about as deep as it gets. (Seriously. It was terrible.)
What I’m saying is, I had a lot of time to think when I was painting. And then some more when I was getting over my cold. And it struck me how much time I lose every day to things that… matter, and that I’m interested in, but that aren’t really what I want to be focussed on. It’s not procrastination, as such, it’s just… not working on the right things.
If that makes sense. I’m not sure that it does.
There are so many things I’m interested in, and that I want to pursue. And they’re all worth pursuing. But I can’t do them all, and as long as I try to, none of them are going to get the attention they deserve. If I’m tweaking the blog settings, I’m not writing. If I’m writing, I’m not perfecting a cookie recipe. If I’m baking, I’m not taking pictures. If I’m taking pictures, I’m not reading the book that’s been on my bedside table for, like, eight months.
It’s what I want, versus what I want more. It’s time to make a decision.
So, that’s my next project: thinking about all of these things, and deciding what I want most. (I have an idea, but I’m still wavering.) Deciding what I’m willing to sacrifice to get it. (This is the bit that hurts.) Figuring out how to handle everything else in a reasonable way.
Wish me luck.