01/06/14 19:30:17

Does “Piling Up” Prohibit Your Productivity?

In recent projects I’m experiencing “piling up” a lot lately. As I wrote in "An official statement on the future of Mac OS X Screencasts", I’ve been holding off of making screencasts, because they require so much work and the task therefore became so daunting that I just couldn’t do any more screencasts.

I’ve been involved with a free time project too. A friend and I have been working on videos, before we began though, we had to make a plan of what the first video is going to be about. So we wrote down ideas and thought about the content. We made a todo list and talked and imagined and played with ideas; so long that after three hours we still had 0 minutes of video recorded. We made the thing so big in our heads that beginning the first video was such a huge task that we just couldn’t do it.
Think about this, the first thing of something is always going to be rubbish, isn’t it? Every time you start something new, the first time you do it, it is always going to be not as good as if you do it for the 20th time. This is what’s called “mastery”. Before you get good at pottery, a person has to make many many pots and mugs before.

For the same reason I’ve not been accepting what I really wanted to do with zCasting. About three months ago I had an epiphany what would be really cool for zCasting to be about, and my first thought was: “No, I can’t do that. What would other people say about me?” That thought alone made my idea become so little that I told myself “that’s a nice idea, but I can’t have that”. And so I didn’t.
I spent the entire last year just looking at myself. What am I? What do I stand for? What is important to me? What are my core values?

One of my values is “equality”. I like people to get treated equal. I realized that was a value when a developer friend lamented on Twitter how stupid App Store reviews are and posted that comment with his complaint. That is so totally uncool that I had to tell him he can’t do that and we got into an argument. Days later I thought about it again and was wondering why I did that. Why do I get upset by such a situation, so much so that I can’t control myself, and rather than keeping a peaceful relationship, I risk having that relationship potentially become broken and bicker at people? The reason is simple, I just don’t think that’s the right thing to do. I was wondering if that is one of my values? How often did I do this in the past? If I want to have people get treated equal, how would such a world look like? I realized that a world where people are equal (men, women, and races, of course) is something I look forward to; it’s something that I want.

I have collected my “values” in a mind map. So I knew that equality was something that I wanted. I knew that the business idea I had for zCasting had to do with equality. And for just a brief moment in my life I was weighing how much I wanted equality in the world against my fear of getting told “you can’t do that”. This is what “piling up” essentially leads to. In your head you make things so big that the fear becomes so big that you just can’t start.

Next time ask yourself if “fear” is the reason why you hold off doing a certain thing. Consider if you can let fear decide what you do in your life. Can you let fear take over your world? If you can’t, just go for it. I’m doing this “fear can’t take over my world”-thing for about 6 months now. From that small experience I can tell you that all that happened in the last months have been amazing. The problem is that once you make decisions that way, you have to be a grown up-enough person to accept the consequences your decisions result in. So in my case if I get someone saying “you can’t do that”, I need to have a riposte for that person. I want to write about conquering fear in a future article.