Truth be told I was a bit nervous at the start of lockdown. Not only because of COVID-19, but because I didn’t want to screw up. I didn’t want to screw up the chance that it had afforded me. The chance to focus and immerse myself on any topic I wanted.
There would probably never be another opportunity in my life to get back so many wasted hours. There was no commuting. The work days more efficient. No after work drinks. Hundreds of hours per month, saved and reclaimed.
If I wanted to explore launching a company 👀, I’d have all the time in the world to do so. If I wanted to get back in touch with creativity: write, draw, paint – I now had a few extra hours per day to really give it a go.
The list was endless.
If you are anything like me, I had flashbacks to all those times that I had put stuff on the back-burner. Thinking back to the fact that I had come up with excuses that I simply didn’t have enough time, or that I was too exhausted to really take something up in earnest.
Could that have all just been a lie? Maybe it wasn’t a lack of time or exhaustion. Now that those barriers had been removed. If I didn’t set myself a few goals, I’d come out of lockdown feeling disparaged, lazy and disappointed.
With this backdrop, and not wanting to end up in a state of disrepair once normality resumed — I set about thinking carefully what endeavours I wanted to embark upon.
No sooner had I started when I was hit by the paradox of choice.
Choice is overwhelming.
It requires work.
While it seems that the more diverse the menu at dinner, the more freeing the eating experience should be, but the opposite is really true. If the menu is set, you don’t have to think about it.
The paradox of choice is that the diversity of our choices cause us stress.
If you have one choice, you take what you get. If you have multiple choices and end up dissatisfied with the choice you made…well, then there is really only one person to blame.
So here I was, someone who at the best of times typically had ADHD, now had an endless dinner menu of ‘things’ I could focus on.
“We live with the Paradox of Choice. We have infinite choice, yet we want to eliminate the uncertainty of choice by finding the perfect one.”
To move forward I decided to focus on simplification through exploration.
I wrote down a list. Writing things down is powerful. When I write down my thoughts I find myself more able to move them around, compare them, combine them, or divide them as my thinking progresses.
This actually helped me discover networked thought. Something that’s fashionable at the moment with the productivity and self-development addicts. Namely through apps like Roam Research and Obsidian. But more on that in another post!
Listing out exactly what I wanted to explore, why I wanted to explore, and what actionable steps you can take to move forward, helped turn my decision from an ambiguous and overwhelming concept into something I could see, manipulate, and control.
So what did I end up focusing on over the past few months?
Well, for that answer — you’re going to have until tomorrow.
This was the second in my latest challenge to write daily. I’m working on developing my communication skills, and making my writing more personable, and enjoyable for anyone who takes the time to read. If you made it to the end, thank you for spending the time!12