I'm the kind of person who's never happy with just one project. So it's not just at New Year's that I feel overwhelmed with a slew of things I want to do and want to do now. Yesterday, it was novels. Writing them. Today it's academic papers for conferences. Because I just got word that my portrayals of little red riding hood proposal was accepted for a conference on heroines in science fiction and fantasy conference.
I just need to get something finished. I'll be very excited if I do.
Finishing means that all the piecemeal work I've been doing here at my desk, goes off into the world and interacts with people as it was intended to do, instead of growing the mountain here. I should explain the "growing the mountain" reference.
I multi-task like a computer does. Say you ask your computer to perform five tasks at once: playing music, opening a file, IMing online, downloading something and you've also got a spreadsheet open. The computer does not perform all those tasks at once. It instead puts them into a cycle, performing a small bit of music playing, then a small bit of opening the file, a small bit of your chat conversation, a small bit of the download and a small bit of spreadsheet whatnot. Then it cycles back. It performs the bits so quickly that you (usually) don't notice when it's off performing another task. However, when you have the computer doing five tasks and you ask it to open a file, that file is going to take longer than if you had the computer performing no tasks. I work like this too--except not as fast.
I'm always working on ten projects. I think that's a conservative yet realistic number for what I'm doing. I have four novel projects on the "this year" list. Ha. Other novel projects are chillin in the bread box. I'm writing one academic paper, editing another. I'm actively editing two short stories, and I've got another few who are patiently waiting their turn. And then there's the teaching projects. So ten seems about right.
The end result is that it seems like nothing gets done. I work bit by bit, accomplishing a little bit more on each task daily. But then I get frustrated for not finishing--much like I get frustrated when I over task my computer and slow it down. (This was more of a problem on computers a few years back, but it's still been known to happen, especially when I'm in the Mac labs on campus.)
I'm beginning to think I need to streamline my process more. Multi-task less. Produce more finished items rather than switching projects. Though I'm afraid this may not happen unless I re-wire my brain. Hmm.
Non sequitur: And then I had store bought perogies for lunch. Which are never as good as homemade perogies. Of course, the only perogie recipe I have could feed an army or a small polish family. Guess it's a good thing I had awesome Thai food for dinner.