On Goals and the Lack Thereof
September 14, 2007
I’ve been thinking about goals more than usual lately, maybe because it’s September and the fresh start back to school energy is buzzing all around me even though I’m not going back myself. It’s a bit discouraging to read earlier entries I’ve written about goals because while I have made some changes and gotten some things done there are important areas where I’m worse (or at least no better) off now than I was five or four or three years ago. Overall, I’ve got a good life, no doubt about it, but it could be better. I could be thinner and fitter and healthier. I could be more organized. I could be less surrounded by clutter. But so far I haven’t followed through long term any one of the dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of times I’ve vowed to do something about those things. Why not just give up and embrace the way it is now? Because I believe if I am not at least trying to improve, things will deteriorate. I’ll get heavier and heavier, messier and messier, less and less happy. So I keep at it, motivation and energy surging and waning but always with a vision, sometimes clear, sometimes blurry, o f how much better I’ll feel if I succeed at making changes. When I succeed, I should say. Gotta think and talk positively, right?
So I’ve been reading things like the Simple Living Manifesto and following links from it. The article about evaluating all the commitments in your life got me thinking that I really need to simplify my online life, where I seem to add new commitments all the time and rarely make a clean break with old ones. For instance, I have a fantasy football team this season for the first time (PowertrainOperations, currently 1-0). That doesn’t have to be a big time suck, but right now I’m having trouble just setting the roster and leaving it alone. I’m having fun pondering whether I have the right players and reading news on the ones I do have and the ones I might pick up from free agency and deciding who should be in the lineup and how they matchup against the other teams in the league and such, but that time’s got to come from somewhere. For now, I’ve been neglecting the book I’m post-processing for Distributed Proofreaders, but I’m starting to feel guilty about that. I could upload it as is and let someone else finish, but I feel possessive about it and don’t want to.
I have been trying, again, to get my e-mail under control. A few weeks ago I started managing my work inbox using this three-folder system (well, sort of—I didn’t get rid of all my old folders yet), and it seems to be helping. Right now my inbox has no items in it, down from the hundreds I typically had hanging around before. I need to do something similar, or something at all, with my other inboxes (or hey, maybe get rid of some of those accounts entirely, but that might be too radical for me at this point). One problem I have is I’ll get to a number of unread messages that appeals to me, like the 555 now in my gmail inbox, and want to stay there. Maybe I just need to pick a new, smaller number I like as well and aim for that, then pick another and aim for that, and so on and so on.
So, goals. I think they’ll help me get my life closer to what I’d consider ideal. But right at the moment I’m tired and don’t want to deal with figuring out what the next step is. Right now it’s the end of the work week and I just want to put in the rest of my billable hours and get home and relax. Right now I don’t want to commit to more than making sure my work inbox is empty when I shutdown my PC tonight. I can only hope that sometime this weekend I’ll be visited by the motivation gnomes and get fired up.