Busy, busy, busy!

Whew! It’s been a while. I hope you are all still up for reading my posts? Sorry for the gap in my blog activity. Things got a bit busy for a while there. I had a little vacation to celebrate my anniversary. Then things at work got pretty hectic with having to cover for people who were out for a variety of reasons. But hopefully I can get back to posting at least once a week again now, maybe more.


It wouldn’t be totally fair to say that this busyness wasn’t at least partially my fault, though. This morning I was thinking how my previous post, Minimal Inspiration, applied to this issue. I have always been a person with many and varied interests. The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” is definitely fitting for me. I get hooked on new interests or hobbies, and bored with old ones, very easily. My love for reading was severely injured during grad school. But it is returning lately and I tend to have at least two or three books on a wide range of topics in process at any given time. It’s also no secret that I am Disney freak and spend anywhere from 5 to 15 hours a week at the local theme parks. I have been obsessed with working out for about 5 years now and spend roughly 15 to 20 hours a week engaged in some type of fitness activity. One of the longest running obsessions I have in my life is bicycles, and on a good week I can spend up to 15 hours riding and/or maintaining my bikes. I have a mild obsession with surfing that flares up once in a while and makes me feel guilty for not spending enough time in the water getting better at that sport. A recent addition to my interests over the last couple years has been jiu jitsu. I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 2 or 3 years ago. I am not currently enrolled in classes, but I will be soon. That can easily occupy 6-10 hours a week, not to mention the hours I spend watching related YouTube videos. When you factor in my work schedule and my family time I often wonder how I can squeeze out enough time for sleeping or eating some weeks! I say all this just to point out that much of my busyness is self-inflicted. And to be honest, much, if not most, is probably unnecessary.

Getting back to my blog post on minimizing, though. I have been going through a shift in thinking, not only about the stuff I own, but also how I spend my time. It has taken me years to figure out what most people probably know instinctively… the more time you focus on one thing the better you get at it. I know, I can be kinda dense like that sometimes! I mean, I “know” this intellectually. But I don’t KNOW it personally. It has always been something I have struggled with my whole life. A quick review of my resume will show that trait has carried over into to my work life as well. But this is something I want to change now. I actually WANT to choose just a couple of things to focus my time and energy on. I want to get really good at something and not just have enough knowledge about it to carry on a conversation at a party or mildly impress the uninitiated with the information I know. I am valuable as a partner on your Trivial Pursuit team, but beyond that…??? I often tell people that I graduated with honors from the “Cliff Clavin University of Useless Information”! And I’m sure that joke dates me, horribly.

So, what I have been doing over the past few months is evaluating how I spend my time. What activities give me joy and add value to my life? What activities are just there, but don’t really excite me? And what activities take away from my time and energy, but don’t add any real value? I have come to the conclusion that jiu jitsu is the thing I am most passionate about right now, so I will be focusing on that as my extracurricular activity. I am jumping back into formal training in just a couple of weeks. But what I have realized is that I can fulfill a bunch of my other interests through this one activity as well. I have already started reading books on the art form. And not only jiu jitsu books, but topics related to it as well! Fitness, nutrition, mobility, meditation, and anything else that will improve and enhance my jiu jitsu ability and experience. All of my workouts now include movements and exercises that will help improve my jiu jitsu performance. I have also started taking steps to transition to (mostly) full-time bicycle commuting for my daily activities so I can still get my fill of that, too. The really tough part though is admitting that there are some things that I will just have to give up. As much as I enjoy surfing, I know I cannot invest the necessary time in that along with everything else to get as good as I would like. So I will have to be satisfied with occasionally body boarding during our beach days to get my wave sliding fix. And as much as it pains me to say it, I will also need to cut down on the number of hours spent frolicking with Mickey and his pals if I want to get better at jiu jitsu.

Like I said above, this is a lesson that a lot people learn early in life. I wasn’t one of those people, so I am having to make these decisions now. I don’t really regret the way lived in the past. It made for a very interesting ride and has allowed the ability to make friends in many communities that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. But I think it’s time hone my focus a bit more and stop letting myself be distracted so easily.  There is enough busy noise in life already, there is no reason for me to voluntarily crank up that volume knob up to 11 all the time!


Author: John Mcdonald

I’ve seen some stuff. I’m not your typical leadership guru/life coach/professional mentor type person. I’m not too impressed with people because of the number of zeros on their bank account, the job title they have, the suit they wear or the car they drive. I’ve seen suit and tie types sell out their own family and friends for just a little advantage. I’ve also seen auto mechanics work way beyond when they physically should have just because they wanted to make their family’s life a little bit better before they retired. I’ve seen some stuff. I believe every one is a leader and everyone deserves a chance to better themselves. And I believe that I have some wisdom and knowledge to share because of what I’ve seen, and done, in my lifetime. I dig tattoos, coffee, beer, the beach, Reggae music, bicycles, jiu jitsu, Disney, creative people, my wife and my kids, not necessarily in that order!

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