A few weeks ago, I wrote about my prioritization system. Specifically, I said that my system was simple: “Do magic first.” This is a great strategy, but I was wrong–I don't always do magic first.
The past few days have been a slog and I chose, several times, to do homework first. I say “chose” versus “was forced” because ultimately, these are all choices. As a result, there were a few days where I barely worked on magic.
If you’re also in college and you’re putting pressure on yourself to do any creative work, it is ok, expected, even, that at some point, you’re just going to have to do school. And that is completely fine, even when the dry spell lasts for a few days, or even weeks. Values are resilient, and it’s ok when you get out of whack. The important thing is getting back on track. Know that this moment is temporary and not a permanent reflection of who you are.
It comforts me, though, that the system works: whatever I do first is what gets done. This has consequences too as the day goes on; it’s super easy to let everything else fall by the wayside as the afternoon and evening creeps up. This isn’t a bad thing. Letting go of the pressure to perform prevents burnout, something I actively avoid. I could’ve worked on magic late into the night after I was done with homework, but frankly, hanging out with friends, going on runs, and watching Netflix is a necessary way to unwind after a long day. Working on magic–which is cognitively demanding–does not go well when I’m burned out, nor does it prevent burnout.
In the first post of this series, I wrote about how I’m usually wrong about most things, and that this blog is my process of figuring it out. Going forward, while I can’t promise you that my reasoning will be consistent, I promise three things:
I will be honest.
I will support what I say with as much evidence as I can.
This honesty will be a good account of my non-linear process.
I’d rather you know that I’m not doing anything perfect than have you think I’m projecting a false sense of having it all together–I don’t.
In fact, here’s one way I need to improve right now: I have way too much on my plate. I’m working on a ton of different magic projects and balancing school, and it’s overwhelming.
Part of this is a classic bad week. Anyone in college or who has been in college can remember those weeks with a clear light at the end of the tunnel, where a due date washes away our troubles. I can’t wait for that in a few days. One tip, though, if you’re also overwhelmed, is the Pomodoro technique: set a 25 minute timer, put your phone away, and work. I’m always amazed how much I get done when I completely eliminate distractions.
My next challenge is to sort out my priorities, so I’ll update you with my projects as they progress. I’ll give you a sneak peek: one is a magic show that I’m announcing next week.
My main takeaway from this week is that awareness is essential. It would be easy for me to say “oh no, I’m not working on magic, I must be wrong, or a fraud, why am I even doing this?” Instead, I practice being aware, stepping back and saying, “No, I am where I am because of the choices that I’ve made. Those choices have consequences, but the results are not permanent. I have systems that can get me back on track, I just need to stick to them.” Writing this is the first thing I’ve done today. I already feel better.
So, my advice is to be aware enough to know when you get off track. And be resilient enough to get back to where you want to be. No need for judgment, no need to be upset. Recognize where you are, and move forward.
Next week, I’m taking a deep dive into the word “realistic,” which is something only nerds and professors say. I guess I’m a nerd. See you then.