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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monkeys on My Back

It's better not to have too many monkeys on your back. They slow you down. Tasks undone tax you mentally even if you really don't notice it. If you want to achieve something great, you have to focus and get rid of the taxing stuff. It's poisonous.

I struggled a bit with my thesis for a few years. In retrospect that was something I probably should have gotten off my back earlier. Since I got the thing out of my back I have been somewhat productive and managed to get a lot done. There are still some things brewing.

I feel like I'm in some kind of a positive, self-reinforcing loop right now. The more I get things done, the more it seems to feed the doing. For each action there is some kind of a reaction. Even small things, when done properly, may lead to big gains later on. In my case this has manifested itself as various opportunities I would have otherwise missed altogether and led to some new, interesting acquaintances.

Don't let the monkeys wear you down. There are various techniques that can help to deal with this sort of issues. Personal Kanban is perhaps one of the most intriguing ones I've come upon. I have visualized my goals on a simple Google Docs based document. Just having them visible helps somewhat. If you want to set up one, feel free to use my template. Just hit "File -> Make a copy" and off you go.

If you want to climb a mountain, the only way is to do it a step at a time. No way around that. Visualizing your problem is the first step in solving it. It is definitely worth it to pay off your mental debt, no matter how small the individual issues might be. They add up. Don't let the monkeys wear you down.

Orangutang by suneko (CC BY-SA)