This week's Tungsten Hippo post is very short- I collected the reasons I love short ebooks, which I had tweeted out a few weeks ago, and posted the list. I think it is a good list, but I fully admit that it is not a particularly meaty post.
But that is OK. Tungsten Hippo is a hobby, just like this blog is. I refuse to let my hobbies stress me out.
I was thinking about that as I thought about the management blog I was considering starting. That blog would not be a hobby- it would be part of my professional life. It might be a great thing to do for my professional life, but there is no doubt that it would sometimes add to my stress, because I would necessarily take it more seriously than I take this blog or Tungsten Hippo.
So I started thinking about how I could manage that, and I tried to really understand what would make it add stress. I think it would come down to the fact that there would be a schedule I'd want to stick to. Of course, I have a posting schedule for Tungsten Hippo, too. In that case, the things I "have" to post on certain days (book recommendations and quotes) are short and easy to create- I designed the site that way. The more time-consuming items- i.e., the blog posts- I intentionally left loosely scheduled. Furthermore, since Tungsten Hippo is not something attached to my professional identity, there isn't a huge amount of pressure to write brilliant blog posts. Obviously, I don't want to write dreck, but posting something like this week's lightweight list is fine.
I was still intending to setup my management blog, though, until my company's legal department put out a new policy which would require that I prescreen any posts with them. THAT would add a lot of stress. So now, I'm not so sure. Maybe I'll try again to get permission to write a column for the other site that has asked me to do so- at least then, I'd get paid for the hassle of getting my columns approved by the legal department!
I may still write fewer blog posts for Tungsten Hippo, because I am now thinking I'll devote some extra time to my chosen learning project for this year, which was to create an app. I also have another kids' story that is now completely drafted. It needs revision and fine tuning, and then I'll try it out on my captive audience and see what they think.
Mr. Snarky and I had a nice dinner out on Thursday, courtesy of my visiting in laws. We were talking about hobbies and side projects, and I realized that of all my non-work activities, the kids books are the most fun. I took some time last week to finish drafting my current work in progress, and that was pure fun. I think that is due to a combination of a lack of time pressure and the fact that writing children's books is completely different from what I do at work. It isn't that it is entirely easy- I was stuck for months on a plot point in my current story- but the problems are nothing at all like work problems.
Mr. Snarky wondered why I didn't just write more books, since I enjoy that so much. I don't think it works like that. I think I need a balance of things to keep me happy. That was one of the key bits of insights into myself that I picked up from reading the books about being a "scanner." I know that sometimes other people look at all the things I have going and think I'm insane and adding stress to my life, but I am actually fairly careful to structure my extracurricular activities such that they do not add stress. It is hard for people who aren't like me to understand this, but I would find it very stressful not to have some side projects going. I just need to be sure to pick the right side projects.
What about you? Do you like to have side projects going, or do you prefer to be focused on one thing at a time?