Everyone should pause every now and then and ask themselves this question:
What would you want to be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Whatever “this” is, your answer will be revealing. If you excitedly exclaim,
“I would start a restaurant, using my grandma’s recipes, but it would be more of a modern look – kind of a Tuscany theme. The Venice area is coming up, I’d open it there.”
… then you have spent far too much time thinking about what you could be doing instead of what you are doing now. Maybe you should really take some steps to do something else instead of whatever your “this” happens to be.
If you ask me what I would be doing if I weren’t making games and analyzing data, I’d be hard pressed to give you an answer.
My first answer would be to protest,
“But I WANT to be doing this.”
It’s not that I haven’t thought about it. If I was not working, I could be doing any of these things:
- Going to the Aquarium of the Pacific with my family (I have a membership),
- Going to Disneyland ( I have a membership)
- Going out to eat with my family
- Writing a paper for a conference
- Teaching judo
- Riding a bike on the beach
- Reading a book
All of those are perfectly fine things to do – as evidence, I offer lunch today with The Perfect Jennifer and Darling Daughter Number Three = but notice that none of them is a full-time gig.
If I could not be doing what I’m doing now, I wouldn’t mind going back to teaching college. I wouldn’t mind going back to teaching middle school if they would start classes at some reasonable hour, say 10 am.
I have two memberships to tourist attractions because I tend not to take off work very often. The memberships mean that I have some incentive to get out of the office. It’s not going to cost me anything to go to Disneyland and it’s wasting money if I don’t go because The Invisible Developer paid for me to have a membership.
Maybe if your list of other things to do is too long, or when you come to one, you think longingly,
I really SHOULD go for a walk on the beach! I can’t remember the last time I did that!
…. you should take a break and do some of them.
At the moment, I’ve been doing better than usual at meeting friends for lunch, going to movies, calling my mom and cleaning the house. Asking myself on a regular basis,
“What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?”
forces me to focus on the things that I am NOT doing, whether it be in my business or personal life, and an evaluation of whether what I’m doing at this moment is worth giving up those other things.
Most of the time the answer is, “Yes.”
If, for you, most of the time the answer is, “No”, well, I think you know what you need to do.
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This IS my day job.