What am I?
I am an artist, a musician, a writer and leather crafter. I am a vlogger, blogger, stop-motion animator and songwriter. I am captain of a women’s full contact sports team, front woman of two bands, model. I am a student and a paid worker. I am founder, CEO and editor of Warrior Women Magazine. I am a thinker, a creator. I come up with thousands of ideas every day. Yet, I feel lost in myself.
It was once or twice, not so lovingly, said to me that I’m “a jack of all trades, and master of none.” At first, I was offended for the pride in me. I’m not bad at a lot of these things.. however… I’m not actually amazing at any of them. It is difficult to find consistency in any one “trade” because there are so many ongoing projects. And I can’t help myself. I have tried and tried to cut down my projects in order to focus on one or two things in order to become a “master”, and yet, for me this seems impossible.
But is this such a bad thing?
Whilst, yes, if you are constantly bouncing from project to hundredth project, it will be extremely difficult to complete or maintain any one or more projects at a decent and worthy level. However, there is nothing wrong in working on a handful of projects.
There are many many inspiring people who are successful and a variety of jobs/projects!
Maynard James Keenan
I watched a TED talks video where Emilie Wapnick talked about ‘Why Some of us Don’t have One True Calling’. This has reassured me greatly, as I have often, and very recently, felt like I’m a bit of a failure; floating around from one thing to another, never really getting anywhere or really doing anything of worth.
I have tried and tried to even cut down on the number of current ongoing projects I do, but as soon as I do make the hard decision to put one project on pause, another 2-6 BRILLIANT new ideas for NEW projects rush in fighting to fill the gap! It seems it’s a mental impossibility for me to “not be busy”. Quite literally. It’s not like I have a job, come home at the end of the day and then switch off. I don’t have ‘free time’ at the weekends/evenings to relax or socialise with loved ones. As soon as I stop thinking/working on one thing, my brain is onto the next. I’m in constant communication with people involved with projects. I have at the very least 3 conversations on the go at once. I am constantly writing out To Do Lists so I don’t forget to do some things, or in order to make my tasks seem more manageable and achievable. I am constantly on social media to write and schedule posts to keep people interested and excited and involved. Organising photo shoots, gigs, practices, articles, interviews, training, travel, teams, fights. And I get no financial support for any of these things I do, yet my passions drive me to keep going on struggling up the hill towards some form of ‘success’. But what even is success? Maybe that’s a conversation best saved for another time.
While this busy mode satisfies my mental need to be ‘doing things all the time’, I’ve come to quickly realize that this is only good and healthy if it gets balanced with actual ‘switching off’ time.
In the day and age of current social media and technology, we are bombarded with the ‘here and now’ being live streamed into peoples’ pockets. We are pressured to be ‘special’ in some sort of way and to show that to the world. Either to show we have a perfect life, or that we are detrimentally tainted in some way. We need to have X number of followers to be seen as a ‘master of our trade’. We constantly compare ourselves to the others who inspire us, and in moments of vulnerability… we look at these people with disdain. We grow to hate them for their success and despise ourselves for not being equally as ‘successful’.
So, what to do about this?
Well, I speak to you from a humble point of view, keep in mind I am no expert or master, I am still learning. However here’s some words of wisdom from a persevering Jack of All Trades:
Put down the phone: Give yourself a decent time period of the day where you get off social media, mute your notifications and chats, and even put your phone on silent for a while. And do this EVERY DAY. It’s good practice to do this during working hours. 9am-5pm, or your individual equivalent, to give you 8 hours away from social pressures. Let yourself concentrate on the here and now of your day - your work, your partner, your children, your studying.
Get outside everyday: Go for a 10-20 minute stroll, sit out and soak in the sun, engulf yourself in nature for 5 minutes. You need a break from your many tasks and projects. You need to be in an area completely detached from your projects. This can give your brain the much needed space it needs to contemplate ideas and issues subconsciously, and may even give you a EUREKA moment!
Stop multitasking: The idea of multitasking is a fad, and not actually productive. You should set aside periods to concentrate on one thing at a time, which will be more effective in your productivity and progress!
Do it with a Planner: Find yourself a planner, ideally one that splits the days up into hours so you can schedule out meetings, work, tasks, deadlines and R&R time. Unless you’re very lucky, it will be best to plan out your days so you can stick to routines and fit everything in to your day/week/month/year.
Manageable To Do Lists: Alongside your planner, create a checklist for yourself every morning of easy-to-do manageable tasks that you can check off throughout the day. This will help focus your mind and also give you a sense of accomplishment as each task gets ticked off the list.
Structure your projects: It is important for you to have a sort of business style plan for each of your projects, with goals, objectives, stages and timelines. This will not only reassure you in the times when you feel like a project isn’t progressing, but will give you focussed structure and steps to take – one after the other, rather than attempting to rush things along and skipping necessary and vital steps that will lay the foundation for your project being a success.
Stop comparing yourself to others: You are you. You are no-one else and no-one else is you. You have your own story, your own battles and your own situations you are going through which make you and your situation unique. So there’s NO POINT comparing yourself or your progress to someone else’s who has had different things effecting how they do. Concentrate on your own progress, every little step is still progress, and even a short break to rest and reset can still be progress. So keep at it!
So there we have it, from a humble slugger to you. What do you think?
If you have any experiences or advice about dealing with multiple projects or a similar situation write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.