Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I remember hearing a story about how lion taming worked. That fascinated me, honestly. I mean, the idea of going head-to-head with an animal that's heavier than you, faster than you, stronger than you, and -- um, claw-ier than you -- armed with nothing but a chair seemed like it was doomed to end in tragedy. But no, it works, and according to the story, it works because Mr. Lion gets confused. So the story goes, and as I confirmed over at HowStuffWorks, the beast, the very King of the Jungle, tries to worry about all four legs of the chair at the same time. When he can't, he just decides that maybe there's easier dinners out there. Like, I don't know, Burger King.

While it astonishes me that this technique actually works with mighty predatory cats, I've seen it work on humans often. Hey, it even works on me, and here's how. We recently launched my beloved bride's blog on eating with allergies, Gluten Free with Heide. (somehow I expected the universe to end when I linked to wordpress.com from blogger.com, but it didn't) At the same time, I'm shifting all my works over to Smashwords in order to enjoy the multi-formatting options over there, but to do so requires significant reformatting. I'm still trying to keep up with this blog, and with my own meager marketing efforts. Meanwhile, I'm refining a couple of short stories to try to sell them to SFWA markets. Then there's the pesky little novels that I'm still trying to get refined to the point that y'all will enjoy reading them.

And that's an authorpreneur's life.

Let's see, that's one, two, three -- six chair legs, if I counted correctly. Yep, I'm getting Trained. Only, instead of slinking away to the other side of the circle like Mr. Lion, I open a DOSBox window and play me a round of Empire (an 80's-era strategy game in four colors that takes a good 24 hours to play out on a moderate-sized map). That, and heading over to Facebook, where instead of using my author page to engage readers and potential readers, I sit on my personal page and poke fun at the hundreds dozens of people declaring themselves candidates for the next Presidential election.

...which is all fine, if Facebook were going to pay my rent.

I'm not the only one. As a career college dean I've seen hundreds of students fall into this trap. "Oh my goodness, I have four things to do, so I can't do any of them!" seems silly when said that way, but remember that it works on the King of the Jungle, too.

What do you do about it, then? Well, first, recognize that it's happening. If your keyboard is perfectly clean, yet you're cleaning it again anyway, you might be in this trap. If you're engaged in a discussion on Facebook about gay extraterrestrials landing on the moon, and yet you're neither gay, nor an alien, nor from the moon, then you might be in this trap. And if you're in the trap, make a decision to stop it. Facebook, powerful as it may be, has the same little X button at the top that every other window has. Admit to yourself that nobody really cares if you manage to win an Internet debate, were that even possible, nor does anybody care how clean your keyboard or your desk is, and just -- stop.

Then -- prioritize. What puts you into the trap in the first place is having four (or more) things coming at you with apparently equal force. That's an illusion, though. Some of those are going to be more important than others. Some will take more or less time than others. Pick the most important one. If things are relatively equal in importance, pick the quickest one to get out of the way (hence, in my case, a blog post).

And then? Just do it. Focus on one leg instead of four (or six, or eight) and knock it away. Celebrate -- yay! And then get to another leg, again based on priorities. And while you're getting all accomplish-y and stuff, try to remember how fun it was when you got into it in the first place, okay?

Good luck!


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