Home > Uncategorized > You can’t do it all at once!

You can’t do it all at once!

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

To be able to do something incredible, or have great skill, or great knowledge are things I’ve always wanted. But one of the most powerful things I’ve come to understand lately is; you can’t do it all at once.

For instance, I want to be able to draw or sculpt, I want to know human anatomy in detail, I want to be able to recognize the constellations in the night sky. These kinds of things can be done, these and many other kinds of knowledge can be acquired and retained. But there are a few problems. Some people, like myself, can sustain effort and focus, obsessively grinding one area of knowledge for days or weeks. This comes at the expense of other subjects of interest. Subjectively it seems to be working, as far as the thing I’m currently obsessing over, but that progress is easily undone if the merry-go-round of interests puts some other shining prize before me, and I obsess about this new thing twenty-four hours a day for awhile.

The answer I’ve found is spinning that carousel a full revolution each day. Do a task, recall a detail, and remember that you ingest knowledge by the spoonful, not by the bowlful.

This is how I’ve slowly begun to appreciate structuring my time. I appreciate wake-up routines, ritual, and bedtime. When you understand that you cannot do it all, that there is a point at which continued action becomes unproductive, then you begin to appreciate consolidation, and putting off the continuation of your efforts for another day. You approach your task anew, expecting only to accomplish a small piece now, and the rest in the future.

One or a few bricks can be placed upon the edifice today. In this week it may add up to 70, in a month 210, perhaps and by the year’s end 2,520 bricks are in place! A few more bricks per day, or a slower pace of stacking, and before a few years have passed, I could have multiple palaces! No need for a broken back or days of soreness after strenuous building. No need to neglect one building while I complete another. I could never single-handedly complete it in any shorter time anyhow.

The ease of this building up of knowledge leaves a vacuum. Watch out, or your new obsession might become the design of your daily program!
How many minutes to reading and studying? How many minutes for practice of skills? What other skills can I add? How do I prepare to get the most out of my sessions of effort? When is rest an absolute requirement?

But I think an appreciation of balance is something else I’ve gained. Practicing different skills, and adding knowledge of diverse subjects helps me appreciate how important it is to be well-rounded. It frees me to understand that life should be enjoyed, that humor shouldn’t be neglected, that a little fun throughout life can be as important as spreading other efforts through time.

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