Too Many Interests


If you’re like me, you’re interested in a lot of things. And they grow by the day. Tons of things you want to do, make or learn.

There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem appears when you try to do everything, and instead end up achieving nothing. If we follow through every shiny new thing that comes along, the result is that we start a lot of things only to drop them a few days later. Because there’s always a new interest.

That obviously achieves nothing. It’s a waste of time because no progress is being made. So, what can we do to counter that urge to do everything that sparks our interest?

To try and control that, I’ve very recently started to engage with one interest at a time, over a certain period of time. I’ve started acting on what I call Quarterly Side Projects.

In it, I allow myself to pick one thing to work on for one quarter of the year. For this quarter (from January until March) I’ve decided to learn a little bit about animating plots. Like I said there are way too many things I want to do, this is just one of them chosen for no particular reason other than the fact that I really wanted to try it.

By choosing just one thing to do, outside whatever usual obligations you might have (such as working or studying), you commit to pouring your focus on a single topic with the intent to make real progress. It might even be that you end up not liking it as much as you thought. But at least now you know. You’ve tried it and can move on to the next thing (or continue with it for another quarter if that’s what you want).

Either way, surely it was a better use of your time than starting, and then dropping, a gazillion things. Spending just a tiny bit of time on each one, which would end up as virtually no progress, that would accumulate to quite a lot of time that could’ve been used in a much better way.

As I said, I’ve only just started doing this. I’ll reassess how well this works for me at the end of the year. If you end up trying it, let me know how it goes! Or maybe you already have a system setup to do this. If that’s you, how do you manage your several interests?