For a full-time dabbler, there are and never will be enough hours in a day. The key to dabbling is to flit from project to project while committing fully to none. The lack of commitment results not from lack of desire but from the aforementioned dabbler’s being stretched so thin. Don’t get me wrong: the living is easy here in Seoul. I have classes for about five hours a day and then a couple hours for lesson planning (which can be quite minimal for a native-speaking English teacher in a public school).
Then comes the dabbling. During the past couple weeks, here is the list of my endeavors: hiking mountains, shopping for a camera, seeing the sights, designing logos, learning Hangul, writing blogs, eating delicious food, and finding time for sleep. I’m planning to add to that list: learning photography, planning travel itineraries, learning some sort of Web-designing basics, and figuring out Photoshop. I’m, however, unable to do all of this without catching the latest episodes of 30 Rock, Entourage, and Heroes; or without spending quality time with my PS2 or Nintendo DS, which leaves recreational reading out of this dabbler’s schedule.
The point is I need to learn to prioritize. To prioritize, I need concrete goals. Here are the tips Christine Gilbert (of Almost Fearless and the recently-launched Europe String) gave me to get my blog straight — but they obviously apply to any sort of project:
- Set some goals. Traffic levels, number of comments, new subscribers and so on. Something tangible that you can measure.
- Write a list of what you can do to reach those goals.
- Prioritize the list.
- Set specific time a day to work on those items.
- Track your progress.
Ok, maybe that seems too much like “work” — this is coming from a former corporate project manager, so take it for what it’s worth. I find by doing those steps, I have more time to be creative and stop worrying about all the “stuff” I haven’t done. Most days it works. Many days I still struggle too. Good luck!
The most counter-intuitive aspect of this whole process to me is that I have to put my impatience aside to slow down and organize myself. I want results, and I want them now, but, simply put, they’ll never materialize without a plan. I made a plan to make sure I see more than the smokey interiors of bars and the pleather futon of my apartment while I’m in Korea. So far it’s been effective because of how easily I can keep myself accountable. As a result, I’ll structure the new plan for my blog similarly to my sight-seeing plan.
There will be at least two new posts per week. One should come very easily since I’m seeing a new sight each week, and the other should come just as easily because everyday life in Seoul is never dull. Two is the magic number, and I’m sure I can count that high in five languages! It’s not a lot, but having a deadline (thanks journalism degree!) will help push me to be more efficient. Once I get into this routine, I can move on to sorting out my other projects without a hitch.
First: Life in Flight. Next: the world. That’s how it works, right?