What’s the difference between a project and a to-do list item? The amount of time needed to complete the task. Everything that takes more than a few days to complete is a project, and projects can be labeled in many ways: short-term projects, summer projects, long-term projects, 10-year projects, etc. I’m involved in several different projects of varying length right now. A few of them are definitely “3-year projects,” because they simply can’t be done right if I don’t put them that proper frame with regards to how long it’s going to take to bring them from formation to completion. In addition, I have many more 3-year+ projects waiting in the wings to be called up on stage. The math says that I have only so many 3-year and beyond projects left in me, so I’m currently both juggling more than I probably should, and stressing out about the projects I’m not tackling right now.
It’s a strange dilemma to try and shove so much into each day. I don’t want to delay these projects any longer, yet my focus can really only be drawn for short periods of time to each one, so much so that I feel as though some of these 3-year projects are taking a lifetime to complete. I read about artists that work on dozens of pieces simultaneously, writers that work on several novels at once, and business pioneers and venture capitalists that have many projects going on at once. So is it best to load your plate up or tackle one thing at a time? Is it true that if you want to be a better painter, then paint less? Mark Twain famously wrote to one of his friends, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Maybe taking the time to focus on less would allow me to better complete my projects and perhaps do so with much more success. Perhaps I could accomplish more by trying to accomplish less.
But then again, if I’m going to get to everything with the time I have left, the only way to do so is to juggle all these demands more skillfully. If I were more adept at planning, if I had possessed more foresight when I was younger, if I were smarter, more organized, a better problem solver, if I could explain away a million other shortcomings, then I might have written this Movie Quote Thursday about all the projects I’ve completed, rather than all the projects I need to tackle.
I’m hoping that if we keep trying to improve ourselves, if we plan better, if we stay optimistic, and if we keep moving forward at a furious and deliberate pace, that we can someday accomplish all that we need to accomplish. I’m hoping so.
Planning, pace, efficiency and more…bring to mind many movie quotes, here is just a few:
“Sub-arctic temperatures will force us underground for a million billion years!”
“So you got three melons?” – Dodo Bird #1 and Ray Romano in Ice Age
“More isn’t always better, Linus. Sometimes it’s just more.” – Julia Ormond in Sabrina
“Look Harry, it feels like you’re running at an incredible rate of speed.” – Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber