What’s your default setting?

5 April 2006

People I work with sometimes shake their heads when they figure out the number of different things I do: salaried business writer, full-time Ph.D. student in history, teaching assistant for my department, sometime freelancer, and, help us all, blogger. Seems like a lot, and on days when I feel like I'm being crushed under a pile of rubble, I'm prone to agree with them.

But I'm much less impressed with my output than others are, simply because I see all of my laziness and all the missed opportunities lying around me like wrapping paper on Christmas morning. I guess I do a lot, but not in comparison to my wishes or hopes — and not in comparison to all I would need to do to really kick butt in each of the activities I pursue. My performance, in other words, underwhelms me.

But at a superficial level, yeah it's a lot of things, a lot of activity. (Too many things, truth be told.) I think it seems like more than it is because so many people shuffle through their work, and then maybe they have one hobby or creative outlet — they write stories, or they build cabinets, or they play in a band, or whatever. Living in Austin, I know a lot of creative types who have something going on the side. Plenty of these people, though, also watch t.v. and otherwise spend part of their time passively. For better or worse, I replace most of this passive time with more activity. I'm not sure why I do it, and sometimes the non-stop-ness of it drives me crazy, but my default setting seems to be "go". I have a hard time watching a television program.

Sometimes — way too often — the actions I take aren't particularly fruitful in terms of fulfilling my career dreams.  I spend too much time jotting notes for projects that never come to pass, or researching things that just aren't that important.  Sometimes I fool myself with superficial action that doesn't get at my deeper plans.  But I'm always moving.

What's your default setting? 

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