Thursday 25th February 2021

Spring always seems to be my productive season.  I don’t know if it’s the increased daylight or the better weather leading me to spend more time outside but I always find that it takes until the end of February for my New Year’s Resolutions to really kick in.  I think I’m perhaps the type of person who needs to build up to things.

Motivation and focus have been my main obstacles during the pandemic.  I do have motivation or I wouldn’t find myself getting frustrated with all the things I want to do.  But that’s on the macro level.  Day to day I find my motivation all over the place.

My focus is all over the place as well.  In the reverse to my motivation I seem to have the focus at the micro level.  I’m juggling a lot of things and I do seem to be doing a little towards them often.

Perhaps the problem is that I have given myself too much to do.  That’s possible but I’ve really tried to keep busy during lockdown otherwise I’ll just doomscroll and that’s not healthy for anyone.

The challenge seems to be bringing them into alignment so both motivation and focus have equal balances of micro and macro.  The problem is that it takes mental energy and that’s in short supply.

I’ll muse the analogy of a mana bar in video games.

Ordinarily, as you cast spells your mana drops.  Then, either by taking a potion or rest, that mana bar refills.  In my case my mana bar drains as I do (predominantly creative things).  I then need to consume content, be it binging a Netflix series or playing World of Warcraft, to recharge.  The trick here is I need to be transported.  I need to be so in what I’m reading / watching / playing that it’s all-consuming.  That’s when I recharge.

But the pandemic is ticking damage.  Just as health pools drop if you stand in fire or get cursed in a game, the background anxiety and stress of the last year means that no matter how much I recharge, that mana bar is always slowly draining.

It makes it harder…  and it gets tiring.

Of course, some days are better than others.  I had a really bad time at the end of January and it took me a few weeks to really recover creatively from that.

I’ve got round it by working in smaller increments,  If I’d normally write for an hour, I instead try to write twice for 30 minutes, breaking those sessions with doing something else.  What’s happened in reality is that instead of putting an hour into five projects in a day, I’m putting 30 minutes into 10.

That’s both good and bad.  Things are moving forward, but they are moving slowly.  I’ve felt that slow down, and instead of getting frustrated with myself over not working on the 5 projects I did not have time for in that day, I’m getting frustrated with how slow 10 projects are going.

I realised in doing my weekly review last Sunday that I need to start prioritising.  I’m juggling with too many balls right now.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I do need this many projects to keep me sane through lockdown.  Maybe feeling frustrated with myself is better than my mental health suffering.

And even if I did prioritise,  would it even be possible for me to do 5 projects for an hour each?

I’m not in a bad position.  Some people I know are getting nothing done.  I just feel permanently rundown by this pandemic.  I’m just not working to the best of my abilities and that’s super frustrating for me.

I think the truth of it is that I’m just frustrated with the pandemic and this is how it’s manifesting itself.  Maybe, if it’s nice weather, I’ll take myself for a long walk tomorrow.  No audiobook or creative focus.  Just a walk and some music.  I’m so fed up with the same views this last year.

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Past Years: 2020 – The Year of Being Fearsome | 2019 – The Year of Soldiering Through | 2018 – The Year of Priorities | 2017 – The Year Of The Offensive