Are you familiar with the parable of The Mexican Fisherman? It’s really quite a wonderful story, and one that I recommend you check out (perhaps prior to reading the rest of this post).
Over the past two months, my new project Jewrotica has taken up more and more of my time. I have found myself spending whole days in front of the computer fielding e-mails and assorted project matters – something that is neither fun nor healthy. Friends have asked me: “Is the project fun?” The answer is: “Sometimes, yes”. Others have asked: “Are you passionate about Jewrotica?” Again, the answer is: “Sometimes, yes”.
I was and am certainly passionate enough about Jewrotica to start it, to churn out content a few days a week and to start the conversation. But to manage a team of ten, apply for grants, churn out content twice daily, and build a weekly newsletter among other things? It feels like a bit much. There are certainly things in life that deserve and take hard work but only if they are clear priorities.
So, what are my goals with this project and what are my priorities? I’ve given thought to both these questions, and there will always be things that tempt. Even if my priorities are developing the content and starting a conversation, it is tempting to direct my efforts toward publicity and toward scoring a feature in the NY Times or Cosmo. (I know that this may help to build the audience anyway.) Even if my priority is offering sex education and developing Jewishly relevant works of literature, it is tempting to direct my efforts toward book proposals and speaking engagements as it would be fun to wear the hat of “prize-winning author”.
I’m building a brand that I believe in, but I don’t need an empire. I am 100% committed to the projects that I take on and the people in my life, but I need to check the external ambition at the door. Just because I can do something (get major media coverage) or be something (the published author) doesn’t mean that I should be, and doesn’t mean that it merits spending the rest of my twenties to get there.
Spending my whole day every day on Jewrotica has not given me the time to read, to practice yoga, and to go out and explore Austin. I think that a valuable remedy to this will be setting firm boundaries to work on the project x hours per day and x days per week, and to separate out my Jewrotica e-mails from the rest of my inbox. I recently read an article that suggested a beautiful re-frame. Instead of saying “I don’t have time” for X, instead shift the language to “It’s not a priority”. If you don’t feel comfortable saying the new statement with the language of priority, then it signals to you that it’s time to re-work what your priorities are and how they line up with your current time allocation.
posted by ayo