I admitted it aloud recently to a good friend. I’m reaching a point, which in some ways is exciting, of overload. I don’t even have kids or pets, but face so many choices and decisions it’s hard to know where to prioritize, focus and begin.
Right now, these include:
finishing and hopefully selling the proposal for my third book
opening and stocking my Etsy shop, AtlasoftheHeart
planning and marketing a writing workshop for next January in New Mexico
creating the photo book I began back in March at the Banff Springs Hotel
starting the proposal for my fourth book
getting “Malled” sold to some overseas markets
planning and executing a fund-raising campaign for a writers’ charity whose board I belong to
reaching out to new freelance clients to line up more work
following up with several amazing people I’ve recently met, with whom I hope to work
connecting on LinkedIn with all 65 people I just met at the retail conference I spoke at
following up in detail with three or four of them on a specific idea we discussed
finding more local speaking engagements for “Malled”
seeking and setting up readings and events for “Malled”
seeking and finding blogs on which to write guest posts to promote it
trying to repair — do I want to? — the non-speaking relationship with my mother
losing more weight so I can (shriek) schedule my hip replacement surgery
seeking and finding more paid venues at which to speak about “Malled”
staying in touch with friends worldwide
reading for pure pleasure
reading for book proposal research
long afternoons sitting with a good friend face to face
meeting new business contacts
mining my Facebook and LinkedIn connections
answering LinkedIn questions to stay visible within that community
choosing which cultural events like ballet, concerts, dance, theater to attend and getting tickets
staying in touch with several friends facing health issues, one whose Mom is quite ill
dealing more thoughtfully with my investments
And that’s not even including writing this blog and responding to the many interesting people who comment.
The New York Times recently ran an interesting essay on the current paucity of “big ideas”, based on the current Niagara of data we have no time to thoughtfully absorb or process:
But if information was once grist for ideas, over the last decade it has become competition for them. We are like the farmer who has too much wheat to make flour. We are inundated with so much information that we wouldn’t have time to process it even if we wanted to, and most of us don’t want to.
The collection itself is exhausting: what each of our friends is doing at that particular moment and then the next moment and the next one; who Jennifer Aniston is dating right now; which video is going viral on YouTube this hour; what Princess Letizia or Kate Middleton is wearing that day. In effect, we are living within the nimbus of an informational Gresham’s law in which trivial information pushes out significant information, but it is also an ideational Gresham’s law in which information, trivial or not, pushes out ideas.
We prefer knowing to thinking because knowing has more immediate value. It keeps us in the loop, keeps us connected to our friends and our cohort. Ideas are too airy, too impractical, too much work for too little reward. Few talk ideas. Everyone talks information, usually personal information.
Here’s a thought-provoking list of possible things to reply to from Seth Godin’s blog.
How do you handle or manage all the data and demands coming at you, personally and professionally?