Short Term Imbalance, Long Term Balance

I’ve been called unbalanced many times. Not mentally unbalanced (that I know of), but unbalanced in terms of how I spend my time. I spent a whole year doing nothing but pickup. Three years doing nothing but working 12+ hours a day. A lot of time traveling like a maniac. Sometimes people think I work way too much, sometimes way too little. Where’s the moderation?

Multitasking was a really sexy until every study proved that monotasking was better. Focus on one thing, then another, then another. Don’t try to do all three at once. Extreme focus led to balanced productivity in the end.

I think the same is true on a larger scale. Dedicating your life to mastery in a certain area for months or years at a time unlocks benefits not otherwise available. When your life is “about” something, you prioritize better, go deeper, and get help more from people.

Most people who know me would probably use “well-rounded” to describe me. And if you look at my history, you’d probably agree. I’ve seen a lot of the world, produced a lot of work, have some level of mastery over social skills, have hard technical skills, and have checked so many items off my bucket list that I probably need a new bucket.

But if you look at my day-to-day life, you’d probably never call it well-rounded. I have hardcore routines and rules and live a life of discipline for the most part. But that sort of daily life can both be enjoyable and create a well rounded person and experience.

Conventional wisdom isn’t always wise, especially when applied to an individual. While it can be a good starting point, a good life strategy is to decide what you want and then go towards it using whatever means makes the most sense to you. And if it doesn’t work, keep experimenting.

It may not be the right long-term cadence for everyone, but I’d recommend focusing exclusively on one aspect of your life for months or years, and seeing how you like it. You may find, as I have, that doing so gives better long-term balance.


Photo is a white Puerh tea.

I’m on a ship, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, working on my next book. I’m extremely excited about this one… as I schedule this post (on friday), I’ve written most of the outline. Hardcore writing starts in an hour when we’re out of LTE range.

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