The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

In Search of Depth

Made a visit to kung fu grippe today [via Chris Leboe], one of the lesser known abodes of Merlin Mann. It's not one of my regular reads, as I prefer Merlin's voice over at 43 Folders.

But today he posted an article titled “Better” that, in my mind, is exactly what a lot of people are struggling with today. I know I am.

I've talked about this issue before. Since March, I've grown more aware of the effects of this illness. Namely, what Merlin is referring here today. Those of us who spend so much time feeding ourselves content and attempting to create something of our own are torn in many directions. There are so many avenues to explore and learn, but we don't have enough time, energy, or focus to create something of high value.

This has hit me especially hard this last week. Now that I have six months away from my job to do some exploring, I'm indecisive of where exactly to concentrate my attention. Do I focus on becoming a better writer? Web design? Programming? Or increase my current system administration knowledge? Hard to say, but I know if I try to do even several of the above, I'll remain a jack of all trades (and a not a very good one at that), and a prince of none.

All the while, my feed reader will continue to deliver rapid fire content informing me of the latest app available etc. Merlin summed this up well in my favorite bit from his post:

What makes you feel less bored soon makes you into an addict. What makes you feel less vulnerable can easily turn you into a dick. And the things that are meant to make you feel more connected today often turn out to be insubstantial time sinks — empty, programmatic encouragements to groom and refine your personality while sitting alone at a screen.

For me, that's hitting the proverbial nail in the head. These habits that stop us from being really good at one thing also most often take us away from the important people in our lives. It's funny, but productivity methodologies like GTD should be helping us with this.

I'm glad of this reminder today. I know I have two items to take away from this: 1) I need to continue to improve my discipline Scratch that—discipline only takes you so far. I need to shift my priorities by dwelling on that which is truly important, so that I don't desire to waste my time with fruitless activities and 2) Decide on a direction and focus on increasing my skills in that area, in order to get really good at something.

In six months, I hope I can give some good news.

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