Spreading Myslef Too Thin

So, I’m at a point right now, where, for the first time in my life, I’ve been in a fairly busy job for half a year now. As a result, when I get home in the evening, I don’t feel like doing anything… which really sucks when I consider the number of personal projects I’ve got on the go that I want to finish… I end up sitting down and watching TV for 3-4 hours with my girlfriend instead, then going to bed feeling generally dissatisfied because of a lack of personal accomplishment. Now, it occurs to me that I may simply be spreading myself too thin, that perhaps I’ve got too many side projects on hold at the moment, and perhaps the stress of wanting to work on all of them is preventing me from working on any of them… but perhaps it’s just this job that’s draining me too much with. Either way, I don’t want to quit this job, and I enjoy spending time with my gf… but I’ve started to get this gnawing urge to work on my personal projects at worktime because I’ve felt too drained in the evening. Any ideas on how to go about solving this dilemma?

[edit]See how distracted I am? I spelt “Myself” “Myslef” in the title.[/edit]

BTW, some of the things I want/need to work on:

  • My music… mainly, I want to finish 60 minutes of decent music, master it, and package it
  • An experimental distortion VST (basic proof of concept complete)
  • A Renoise clipboard manager
  • The #renoise one hour compo manager
  • Personal time/project management software
  • A CMS for software developers
  • The 2 games I started coding over 3 years ago, and are currently somewhat playable, but I’ve yet to finish
  • I want to start an organization supporting the use of technology in the town I live in… kinda like a citywide computer club where we would do things like hack together wireless mesh networks and hold LAN parties
  • Writing/blogging
  • Personal portfolio/website
  • Etc

Yep you’re spreading yourself too thin.

Try to identify the aspects of your job which are more relevant to what you actually like doing, and get good at those. Your side projects won’t look so tempting then :ᅠ)

And if your job sucks… do what you can to get a job you like. Get more education, freelance your way toward a portfolio (you already seem to be doing this), talk to a shitload of people. If your lifestyle costs are currently prohibitive, downsize those (rent, subscriptions etc.) then go forward and make changes.

…I mean, until you have kids, you’re not “locked in” so to speak eh :)

EDIT: I re-read that “TV for 4 hours” bit. That looks like inaction due to stress (which of course leads to more stress). I used to do that until I a) found a meaningful life goal and bᅠ) discovered that exercising will-power “because I can” made life better for me. a) definitely motivates bᅠ). To find a life-goal, identify a cause and make your life about that. Try to choose a worthy cause :ᅠ)

yeah i feel the same as you mate, how many hours a week are you working? as martyfmelb points out if

your stuck in a job you dont like try to find one that you do like and is based upon your talents and

attributes that you have. i am studying a course at university that i am detesting and the moment due to

the matter of fact that i am having an increasing interest in music, i have only really started producing in

renoise so i have a lot to learn as other people have already learnt and mastered it. and i feel that i wish i

started doing it sooner i am 21 and have an other year in uni which i feel is a waste, if you feel that your job

is a waste also i would try to do something about it if you devote yourself to making music make music dont

sit down and watch tv all the time because your music production is ment to be enjoyable not to cause

stress, its a form of expression your emotions. it just seems that you have a lot on your mind with work all

the time try to settle on one project at a time and see if you can work less hours for a bit to sort those

projects out, sorry if i dont seem to be much of a help.

A few years back I worked for 6 months full-time in an advertisement agency. The job was great, the people were great, I had alot of great projects to work on … But I did not get anything else done when I came home in the evening. I just had no creative juice left at all. I learned back then that I either had to work as a freelancer (kinda what I am doing now) or had to get a well-paid job with less than 40 hours per week (but I can’t find one).

I really have great respect for anyone doing a fulltime job and still managing to get something together (be it music or something else) and I sometimes wonder how those people would take off if they could work full-time on their music/art.

However, what I can tell you personally : Get organized. You seem to be abit like me, having alot of ideas and projects all over the map, resulting in several areas of interest that are actually each a “full-time” hobby on their own. I can really suggest to get David Allens “Getting Things Done” (that’s a book), read it and use the parts fitting your situation. There is alot of business stuff that may not apply to you (it didn’t apply to me) and as with every non-fiction book from the US I didn’t really like the overall tone (too commandeering), but I actually learned alot from it.

What he basically teaches is to prioritize your projects, make a proper roadmap for every project, define the steps it takes to get this done, organize these steps and be actually able to postpone stuff or give it to someone else.

Like, when you say you want to finish those games, according to him you should first sit down and really map out what is already done and what needs to be doing to get it finished. What are you capable of, what do you need to learn to create the missing parts, is there anything that can or has to be done by other people (music, gfx) and if so, who could you ask ? This should give you a rough idea about the work and knowledge still needed so you can start reading into the stuff you need and/or are able to sit infront of your PC in the evening and know exactly what to work on. A major thing he preaches is something he calls “Getting it out of your head” by simply writing things down. This way you will be able to just stop working after a few hours and go to bed/spend time with your girlfriend because you can simply continue the next evening. You just don’t sit down wondering “Where was I yesterday ? What is it that I want to do ?” or divide your time working abit on this and abit on that. Post-it notes became a major part of my workspace and I have loads of notebooks filled with stuff I worked on and plan to continue to work on.

With this it is also easier to set projects on “hold” because you have all the information collected somewhere and can get it back at any point. I did start working on some VJing-stuff with a friend about two years back which did work out pretty well, then my friend moved away and I was kinda stuck. I did decide not to pursue this on my own because I had no footage and no idea about VJing-Software, so I just wrote all the ideas and stuff down and saved all the files (it was mainly reaktor on my end) into one spot and this project is now on “hold” until I happen to run into someone who can provide the visual parts and software to that project. That is really something I would like to do, but it is not possible at the moment, but it is also not something I am brooding over every other week, simply because I know I can continue to work on that whenever the opportunity opens up.

Or just recently I decided to make a band with a few friends and pursue a general idea and really work towards getting gigs and all, but I am currently too busy with other projects so it is also on hold for 3-4 months. But I already know and wrote down what has to be done after that time, find a guitarist, get a rehearsal room, start jamming and recording, I know a booking agency that I can ask to get us gigs when we are ready, I know a few labels I can send demos to when we actually recorded stuff and so on and so forth.

I am still not completely into this whole idea (and I definately don’t take it as religion-like as other people) and still miss things from time to time, but it did help me alot so far, not only with projects but also with a load of “daily life” stuff.

PS:Post# 1800. Wooh !

dump your girlfriend and you will have time to work…
one always flies further when he is solo…
[unless you are working with someone on those projects]

You’ve obviously never really been in love and/or did not experience the positive effects of someone who does support you and your work. Sorry dude, but that comment is just stupid.

two things:

  1. priority
  2. devotion

I’m in the exact same situation… fulltime job, living with my girlfriend, a kazillion projects going on, like making music, organising events, promotion, touring… Sure, I wouldn’t mind more time to work on all those sideprojects, but when I get home, I can’t wait to get back to those projects. Are you sure you still enjoy doing those things? Organise your days better, set priorities, even deadlines if need be. If you’re devoted to your projects, I see no reason why should NOT finish them.

Good luck!

I feel I have the same problem, altough I do not have a full time work: in fact I am a student(I’m on last year of Computer Science). I like what I do. I know what you’ll say : “you’re lucky dude, we work the entire day and you’re crying because you have to study?!”.I don’t cry and I like it but… My problem is that I sometimes feel so “anxious” (maybe I’m too “perfectionist” :P ) about the things I have to study and the exams that I always feel stressed and never find the time to work on my personal projects (…making music, coding something nice, making a website etc etc).
I talked about this with other people. it is true that “I do not work”, but what I think is this: when one works 8 ours a day, and come back home he is “free”: the work is done, he is tired but he can now do what he wants to do. With university is quite different: when I come back home from lessons I can never “free my mind”: I always have to think about the exam the next week, the hundreds pages to study, various(school) projects to do and so on… I don’t know if it’s understandable what I’m trying to say :) .
I also know that my problem is “organizing my time”… I am so bad in scheduling jobs… I would like to do a lot of things but I can’t organize myself well.
So, what happens to me is that when I am at home I spend much of the time studying and in my (not so much) free time I go out with my friends (I also would like to “see the sky” sometimes :D )… the time for my personal project is veeery little (when I were in high school I had a lot of time, and I made a lot of music!!).
by the way: my results @ university are good :P (at least this effort it is not wasted… )
I hope nobody feels “offended" by what I said.

just quit your jobs and learn to live with less money. sell cheap cdr’s of your music at gigs and stuff…

i suppose i’m not much of an example, broke and virtually homeless, but i get to wake up whenever i want to and make music all day :P

i also play in a band and we get to go on tour whenever we want to cos none of us have proper jobs

Well, I’m not about to quit my job or dump my gf… I am however, going to try applying some project management skills to my life and see if that helps… as for the job, I should probably just stop stressing out over it so much… the fear of not getting on fulltime (or getting fired) is probably what’s killing me most right now. I feel guilty every time I alt+tab to firefox when I’m waiting for a program to compile… like I’m not actually doing work or something. I guess that’s one of the problems with the digital age, it’s hard to determine what qualifies as “billable hours”… and where’s a fine line between things like daydreaming, which people used to do at work before the days of the internet, and browsing intermittently, which is a far more productive use of idle time, but seems to be highly frowned upon. I guess the big question is: as long as the work is getting done, how much of your life do you really owe to your employer? (in return for that fat paycheque) … I know I’d probably be happier in some thinktank somewhere like google or nullsoft where free thought and personal projects are encouraged, but that’s not likely to happen here (I live in a hick town), so until me and my gf have the resources and the guts to leave, I’m stuck doing run-of-the-mill coding jobs.

but if he quits his job he wont have enough money to get better equipment and pay the rent (bytesmasher

you said your living with with your girlfriend yeah), once you get into a full time job most of your time is

wasted doing that my girlfriend’s dad is the same he’s in full time employment, and when he comes home

from work he has to attend to other things like do shopping and go see his father in an old people’s home

and his hobby is golf but he never has a chance to play it, same as my dad he’s 67 years old and he’s been

working most of his life and he loves rugby used to play it all the time but most of his life has been working

and trying to support my brother and sister and myself when we were growing up. the best solution would

to be cut your hours at work and if you want to make a profit out of your music just play at local venues and

as Trex said sell your cds cheeply to make a profit off them. and i wish you all good luck hoping that you

find a suitable solution to your problems hope the people in this thread have given you some ideas to

support that

ps sorry i posted this message too slow before you replied

i’ve been/am in love.
i was in the same situation.
when I got dumped - 21st of december - i started spending my time doing things that are productive. (instead of smoking + watching HBO on demand)
from working on the same old trax for 15 minutes a week, i started writing a song everyday (most of them might suck but at least there are several that I like a lot)
I’ve also started learning some programming - which i’ve wanted to do for the past year and never got started on it (guess why I did not have the time…)

don’t call a difference of opinion stupid… thats just plain stupid.
how can you assume that you have more experience from someone you have no information about?

also here is some more bad advice:
stop sleeping
get addicted to adderal and ritalin. and other sorts of speed.

they really make your life better.

Well, I’ve been both an insomniac, and a Ritalin addict, and I can say without doubt that both are bad news.

Love is better than music, unless you love music.

Love & music is the best solution
I’m very lucky, married with a musician :)


Who doesn’t love music? :drummer:

sometimes I hate it.

They’re so alike it’s scary

nice read.

im kinda in the same situation, full job last two years as 3d artists at a well known architect house.
cg and music were (still are) my hobbies but currently dead in the water when at home after work.
too tired and noncreative to do the ‘real’ stuff.

that said, my job ends next month and therefor looking for jobs and/or thinking 'bout freelance.
hopefully i can then plan my time better then before.

hmm… so anyone got a paid job for me? :) like 2 or 3 days a week?! … hehe…

i figure this way i have my financials a bit secured and can do my own freelance projects… ah well, lets see…