Edit: Since first writing this article, I have managed to deal with the feelings and scheduling conflicts detailed within. It was simply a change in focus and attitude that enabled me to overcome my issues. Successful people will always be busy – but I have learned that there will always be enough hours in the day to provide for our needs as individuals. It’s truly amazing how much we can accomplish when we eliminate wasteful activities. The time is always there – it’s how we use it that counts.
I feel trapped right now. Whatever the opposite of a ‘rut’ is, I am there. My mind is being torn in a multitude of directions – quartered without the hung and the drawn. These metaphorical horses are tearing me apart and if I don’t do something about it soon, my withdrawal from sanity will edge ever closer.
The problem is that my life is filled to bursting point. I love learning – I’m passionate about developing new skills and improving myself in every way possible, but at what cost? I currently see life as a buffet and my brain is being a greedy bastard.
My mind is getting fat!
I feel sluggish. This diet is rendering me worse than useless.
There’s a fine line between wanting to improve and doing too much and I seemed to cross that a long time ago. As with any type of calorie surplus diet; it feels great for a while but sooner or later your body will raise the white flag in a state of hopeful surrender.
We generally ignore this. There’s an obesity epidemic. We want more, whatever the cost.
My mind is full. It is bursting at the seams and as a result I have lost my mental fitness.
My concentration levels are withering away. That’s what happens when you entertain the idea of a million and one things. You have no idea what to do. This is the essence of analysis paralysis.
This is my affliction and it is damn time I found a cure.
Analysis paralysis – what is it?
Our friend Wikipedia states;
Casual analysis paralysis can occur during the process of trying to make personal decisions if the decision-maker over analyzes the circumstance with which they are faced. When this happens, the sheer volume of analysis overwhelms the decision-maker, weighing him or her down so much they feel overwhelmed with the task and is thus unable to come to a rational conclusion.
In this story, the fox, a cunning and clever animal, would boast to the cat that he knew of a hundred different ways of escaping the pack of dogs that were chasing them. The cat however, knew just one way and when the sound of the barking came ever closer, the cat immediately scarpered up the nearest tree, leaving the fox in a state of confusion as to which of the many methods to choose, and hence, was caught by the chasing pack.
The fox was paralysed with choice and it led to his ultimate demise.
Former nightclub bouncer and renowned author Geoff Thompson experienced over 300 fights and altercations whilst working the doors during the late 80’s. He claims to have knocked out the vast majority of these men because, unlike his opponents, he had one punch. That’s all he needed.
While everyone else would run their mouth with an air of false confidence, trying to fathom out the best way to deal with the situation, Geoff knew that he had one punch and he used it time and time again.
He had a routine that he never deviated from. Slow controlled breathing to control the sudden dump of adrenaline generated via each altercation. Enough space to enable the left hand to rise up and create a fence to keep the other guy from getting too close. A stock phrase that was uttered with absolute conviction, ‘Look, I don’t want to fight, please leave.’ Everything was planned and deliberate.
If this didn’t work and a physical confrontation was inevitable Geoff would just ask a simple, yet confusing question;
‘By the way how is your mother?’
Before the other guy even registers a ‘what the fuck?’ a left hook connects with devastating accuracy. In his confusion, he simply failed to see it coming.
He was overloaded with a combination of fear and a million decisions. He wanted a fight, but he couldn’t control his mind. Alcohol and anger will do that to a man.
He was paralysed with choice.
Ok, here’s the deal
Here is a list of what I’m trying to juggle in my life right now; unsuccessfully I might add.
- 20 hours a week (not including travel) teaching guitar
- 20 hours a week studying for a degree in Software development
- 5 hours a week writing articles for this site and guest posting (2/3 a week)
- 10 hours a week researching/writing for Cracked.com
- 8-10 hours a week (on average) either in the gym or doing some form of exercise
- 5-7 hours a week studying German
- At least 7 hours a week practising guitar
Of course this is being supplemented by ordinary stuff like socialising, going out and fantasising about my next Breaking Bad marathon.
I can’t do it all. I feel like I am a Jamie-of-all-trades and a master of fuck-all. I’ve tried to cut out the fat but my mind keeps worrying about the stuff that I’m not doing instead of what’s important.
I can’t win.
My mind is paralysed with choice. Analysis paralysis has a grip on me and I cannot shake it off.
I would love to focus on this website full time. The rush of excitement when I ponder the potential of Psycholocrazy, especially if I spent 40 hours a week writing articles, guest posts, networking and developing a product, is truly exciting.
Where could I be in 12-18 months if I focused on this? Could the internet generate a full time income? That’s my dream and there is no reason why it couldn’t become a reality.
But I am midway through a degree. I can’t just stop because I would forever regret it. Having a degree would mean easier access in acquiring a visa for certain countries. Being a software developer could potentially land me a lucrative career if things go tits-up and I have to get a ‘real job’.
I’m also future-proofing myself as society is embracing technology at a scintillating rate. This will only gain momentum in the next 5-10 years.
When the machines rise up and turn us into slaves, at least I’ll have the knowledge to hack their AI and lead the resistance, John Connor style!
Back to reality for a moment – what about my current job? 18 months of blood, sweat and tears has enabled me to build a roster of almost 25 students. I need money to pay for everything and this is my main source of income.
Ok, so next?
Cracked.com pays $200 an article. It takes roughly 10-20 hours of research before acceptance is possible, with another 5 or so to produce the final draft. This is the best freelance opportunity on the internet and I am lucky that I have this as an option to make extra cash.
I always wonder what would happen if I devoted myself to this full time? 5/6 articles a month? It’s possible and it would enable me to travel whilst earning online – again, which is the dream.
Yet, I can’t travel and do a degree at the same time – even though I do it online. They don’t let you take exams through t’internets, unfortunately. Morons!
Being a guitarist and teacher, I want my shredding skills to be as sharp as possible, yet I barely have time to practise. I feel like a fraud because my ability seems to diminish with each passing day and it won’t be long before I’ve regressed into the axe-man equivalent of Justin Bieber.
Ok, so I’m not bad by any stretch of the imagination but any guitarist will tell you they could always get better.
What about the gym? I have been training for 15 years and this is part of my identity. It feels terrible when I skip a session and without a consistent schedule, I struggle to maintain my diet.
I genuinely hate this, perhaps more than anything.
Finally, my German studies are virtually non-existent. I would love to be able to gain conversational fluency in another language and I know that just 6 months of serious, dedicated study (with a few months in Germany) would solidify the vocabulary that I have picked up over the last 3 years.
Ich habe eine schlechte Kopfschmerzen.
So what the hell do I do?
Why can’t someone just upload these skills into my brain like in The Matrix?
Where can I get hold of some NZT-48 like in the movie Limitless?
Why can’t I just be content to work in a cubicle for the rest of my life? Ignorance could be my bliss – in an alternate universe this may be so…
But alas, I am here, so let’s sort this shit out!
It’s time to get ruthless
Look at that. Seriously, look at it! In the last 2 years, that is how much time I have wasted on the internet. Well, this tracker, which you can download from the Chrome store, only counts the movement of your mouse and any typing. Not idle time spent staring at boobs.
Idle… yeh right.
That’s minutes. Not seconds. MINUTES!
If you’re like me and you need to stop procrastinating then download it and you’ll see exactly what you need to cut out from your internet diet. I’ve already made inroads to change this, so that’s something I’m thankful for, but still – it will take more than an app to de-clutter my life.
I’ve also tried doubling up on various activities. For example, listening to German whilst in the gym or reading course material on public transport. But it’s not enough to actually make a considerable difference.
It’s no use. I must learn how to narrow down my choices and cut away the fat. I realise that without focus my life will continue to be a myriad of theory without the application – the possible without the probable – a cheque that my existence cannot cash.
So I ask you, my extremely cool and attractive readers. How do you cope with a hectic lifestyle? Do you have any advice for me? Or are you in exactly the same boat? Please let me know in the comments below…