Self Management 

Day 126 Week 19 Q2 Sunday, May 7, 2023

Creative outliers may not like to be managed or not like to manage, but there is one unavoidable management task. We must manage ourselves, or someone else will fill that vacuum. And to be self-managed, there is an act that precedes this, and that is to be self-organizing. Exploring the universe may be more fun than getting down to business and focusing. Still, today’s cornucopia of options makes it even more imperative than ever before to be both self-organizing and self-managing. We live within an explosion of options where we can ask a question at any time of any day and get not just one but many answers. With infinite listening, viewing and reading material, one could spend an entire life only consuming information and experiences. 

Unfortunately, consuming does not create as much meaning as creating and making; having time to explore and make is a significant management task. This requires some introspection to prioritize so it is possible to get your arms around a task or project to scope it before planning, designing and executing it. There also needs to be time allowed to review it because that is where most of the learning occurs from the new vantage point of having it in your rearview mirror instead of in front of you.

This is where routine can help, as the habituation of behaviors automates them to a degree where not all behavior has to be managed. It is good that I do not have to remember to breathe or have my heartbeat. To determine which behaviors are worth automating, it helps if we are clear about our identity. As many of us have more than a few things we are good at or interested in, there is no time to pursue all directions at once, we do have to commit to at least a finite number of identities at a time.

We can do many things but unfortunately, not all simultaneously. I remember reaching this crossroads at around the age of thirty when I realized there was not enough time to have a full-time job as an engineer, be a husband, perform as a musician, be a semiprofessional photographer and be a competitive athlete. And I recall thinking some of these things would work a lot better when I was sixty or seventy and having to cut the sports and photography. It was not easy, but now forty years later, it was a good call. Taking casual snapshots and going to the gym to stay in shape still occur, but not at the level of effort of being as committed as when younger.

Creative outliers can have a more difficult time than others managing and being managed because they are curious and not afraid to try new things. The management dilemma does not only apply in relationships with other people but even more internally or, for the same reason, opportunity costs. Doing A instead of B is not without both penalty and reward. Choose wisely.