I have a lot of hobbies.

No, that’s not actually true. What I have is a scatterbrain and a fleeting interest in a lot of things. I can find fun in all sorts of projects, starting new tasks, acquiring new knowledge. Over time (and I mean, over my whole life) I’ve come to know that I am a bit of a fibbertigibbet where hobbies are concerned. The most dedicated I am to “hobbies” right now are running and triathlon and most people—including myself—would argue that those are lifestyles and not hobbies.

It requires real discipline on my part to not run out and buy all the things I need to do [new hobby] just because it looks interesting. I have to concentrate on budgets and time and time budgets and the knowledge that I have chores to do before I can spend time on [new hobby]. This discipline is also required on a day-to-day basis not only at home on free time but in my day job as a project manager for an engineering consultant company. There are deadlines and project schedules that must be adhered to and it again requires discipline to do the things that A) need to be done to meet schedules and B) should be done now to avoid missing said schedules at a later time.

This discipline is something that is learned and not inherited. It has taken me a long time to acquire the skills and I “fail” regularly.

By failure, I mean that I’m also good at giving myself permission to slack on certain tasks in order to enjoy others. For example, please don’t visit my house today because the kitchen is a nightmare (kitchen cleanup is my job). This has been an ongoing saga since we came home from vacation but I’m not going to worry about it too much. Sometimes you just need to rest. And sometimes you need to have some fun. I justify this slackification by making sure that what I’m doing while slacking is still something on the list of things to be done. Like at the moment, putting together the photo album photo sets is something that needs to be done, so ignoring the mutating pile of dirty dishes in the sink for that task is justifiable (according to me; maybe not Jenn).

I’ve been pushing myself recently to be more focused on things in order to keep them from running away from me. Part and parcel of that is to avoid having a gazillion little things around that distract. I spectacularly goofed on that one this year because when Jenn asked what I wanted for Christmas, I responded, “An Arduino!” Note that I haven’t purchased a breadboard or anything yet. I have other tasks first.

So, here’s to discipline. The discipline to kick away at the big things while simultaneously enjoying the small things. Hopefully I’ll learn a bit while doing so.

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3 Responses to Discipline

  1. Robin says:

    Ah, yak shaving. I understand your plight all too well. Good luck on achieving balance on this one, or if you are unsuccessful in removing the yaks from your life, I wish you success in your new sweatermaking venture.

  2. Bill Ruhsam says:

    Robin: Yak shaving is a new euphemism for me.

  3. Robin says:

    Ah, sorry! Here’s the best definition from Wikionary.org:

    The actually useless activity you do that appears important when you are consciously or unconsciously procrastinating about a larger problem.

    I thought I’d get more work done if I just fixed a problem with my .emacs file, but then I spent the whole afternoon yak shaving.

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