There are only so many hours in a day. As many ideas as we might have or whatever tasks may lie before us, we can’t get to them all. No matter what the profession in question might be, we have to pick and choose how our time and resources are spent.
I think this is especially true for creative people. New ideas can spring from anywhere, at any time. And new ideas are like jolts of caffeine or endorphins to the system. They can entice us and pulls in exciting new directions, but they can also serves was monumental distractions. You can’t always pursue them the moment they pop into your imagination. Again, you have to pick and choose.
It’s something I’ve had many a time struggling with personally. Time management is not one of my strongest suits. I suffer from the aforementioned “new idea euphoria” problem. In addition, when a challenge is presented to me, I have this really bad habit of trying to headbutt it into submission. This can become an issue when it’s a challenge with which I’m unfamiliar, doubly dangerous when I’m on an employer’s time and not my own.
One of the best things you can do is remember you’re not alone. Even in a lonely profession like writing, there are people who will support you if you need it. Programmers, designers, and professionals of all walks of life have communities, be they in an office or on the Internet, to whom they can reach out. And – perhaps most important of all – there are always others in our lines of work who will step up immediately to take our jobs if we become too great a disappointment.
This is why it’s important, when you choose to pursue a project or accept an assignment, you do your utmost to manage your time and deliver what you promise and more. If you can’t, there will always be someone waiting in the wings to profit from your fuckup.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with choosing not to do something. If your sort your priorities and realize there isn’t enough room on your plate for something you’d like to do or an opportunity that comes your way, give it a pass. If it’s your own work, table it and come back to it later. At most, jot down a few notes. As for work from others, honesty and communication is appreciated far more than a failure to deliver.
Pick and choose carefully, folks. Just some thoughts from the trenches.