Doing too much

When will I take notice?

Image courtesy of the author

The above note appeared in my morning pages today. It’s something that crops up a lot. I don’t know how many times I have to tell myself this before I take notice, or fully acknowledge the level to which I overload myself.

Possible reasons:

  • There are lots of things I want to do
  • I’m enthusiastic and hungry to work
  • There are things I want to achieve
  • Ideas are frequent and exciting
  • Starting is easy

I recognise that I take on too much. I make a conscious effort to reduce the number of plates I’m trying to spin, yet there they are, wobbling away, teetering on the brink.

Smashing on the floor.

I remind myself that I’m not a number in a large organisation where my value is measured in my ability to perform tasks as quickly as possible at minimal cost. That my work is largely creative, and that creativity can’t be forced. Yet still…

It seems important to consider what those rewards might be

I think what underpins my mindset is the desire for success. Achievement. To justify what I do, because I recognise I’m very privileged.

This great new idea might be the thing. The thing that takes off. The thing that yields the rewards.

(It seems important to consider what those rewards might be: money? Recognition? Fame? To be admired and desired? Maybe the answer is a simple yes. 🤷‍♂️)

But I also see that all this flitting around wastes a lot of time. I end up with many scraps that I want to develop because they’re new and shiny and might be the thing, and many other pieces I just forget about. By failing to commit, most of them never reach their full potential.

And maybe there isn’t a thing anyway. Perhaps this is it.

I probably need to take a little of my own advice

I often say to students during our one-to-ones that they may need to apply a little self-discipline if they feel they’re drifting. Sometimes they’re not clear on the subject, or get tempted away by interesting research, which they then try to shoe-horn in their work.

I probably need to take a little of my own advice. Perhaps then, new ideas will get beyond the honeymoon period of the relationship, and into the more difficult times.

And perhaps then I’ll stop trying to do so much.

See below for the process of producing this post.

I’m a writer, Royal Literary Fund Fellow, workshop lead and creative coach. Subscribe to the newsletter for updates, sneak peeks and unique content.

The process

All images courtesy of the author.



Final edit in Ulysses
Publish to WordPress
Import to Medium

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