27 November 2008

Unwhelming: More on priorities

Right now, the mouse is my best friend.

Odd way to start a post, but nonetheless painfully true. Very painful. And consequentally, today's post will be brief.

I was talking to a friend yesterday and discovered that I (attempting to) follow 91 blogs. A few months ago I counted over 40 queues that I was a member of on CC. And we all know what my TBR pile looks like. Add to that the fact that we're mid-reno in preparation to sell our house, and everything else in my life right now, and it's no-jolly-wonder I've been feeling perpetually behind on EVERYthing.

[Right about now, I'm chickening out. You'll see what I mean at the end; but my sentences can now be longer again O:)]

But anyway, what I was saying. Given the round of blog posts last week on finding your priorities, etc, it all got me thinking. Why do I feel the need to (attempt to) follow so many blogs? Why so many queues? In short, why, in all areas of my life, am I over-committed?

And I think it's because, once again, of fear. Fear that I'll miss out on something worth having, something worth knowing, something worth reading and doing and seeing and experiencing...

But it's the old maxim: try to please everyone, and you please no one. Try to do everything, and I end up totally overwhelmed, paralysed, unable to do a thing because there are too many options.

So, as of today, I'm unwhelming. My priority, first and foremost, is my family. Second to that, my writing. As in actual novel writing, getting words on a page, acheiving word counts, writing. Not reading about writing. Not learning about writing. Writing.

To that end, I'm going to wade through my blog roll and unsubscribe to all those that I never actually end up reading anyway - and I'm going to do a queue tidy-up on CC.

I'm also doing something I've been toying with for months now, but have been too afraid to leap into: I'm changing my keyboard layout to dvorak. I've used it all morning at work yesterday (which is when I wrote the beginning of this post), and I'm using it again here at work today (in all windows except this one O:) Yes, I discovered you can be tricky and manage it so you use qwerty in some windows and dvorak in others!).

It's challenging. I've read this post in particular about dvorak many times before - it's what first gave me the idea - but this time, I nearly cried. It's the kind of thing you don't understand until you're actually doing it. The way you can be thinking the same thoughts, having the same ideas, but be totally unable to express them; the way you avoid chatting; the way you start to censor what you're saying for length and brevity, the way you mentally edit everything into as few words as possible... It's probably good practice for writing crisply, but boy is it frustrating.

It's so going to be worth it though. I've been using it off and on for maybe a few hours all up, and already I'm in love. It's so much gentler on your hands and wrists, so much more logical and intuitive... And for someone who is prone to wrist pain, it's simply brilliant.

Thankfully, I have a good memory and can read fast, so I already 'know' where all the keys are, and when I can't remember fast enough, I can read quickly enough to find it on my little chart without spending hours searching. Apparently I'm doing about 19 wpm (compared to my usual ~81wpm on qwerty).

What's been really amusing is how much it's confused my poor brain: I'm trying to maintain proficiency in qwerty as well, so it's like learning an additional language, instead of a replacement one. This morning, checking requests at work, I was using windows that were qwerty, windows that were dvorak, AND hand writing. Never expected it to confuse my handwriting, but a couple of times I had to stop and remember that I was writing, not typing :D

How is changing the way I type related to unwhelming? Because it's something that, in the long term will both preserve and improve my ability to type. I'm abosolutely confident that I will eventually be able to reach far faster speeds with dvorak than I have have with qwerty, simply because of the superior layout; less distance and movement between letters in a word means you can type it faster. For me, this is, like writing, one of those terribly important but not so urgent things that can all too easily be swept to the side to make room for urgent-but-not-important things.

From now on, I'm not letting it.

Thus, my unwhelming, clearing the unnecessary, and focusing on the important. What things are you spending time on that you could cut out, and where could you look at investing time now to make things more efficient in the future?


Windsong said...

*hugs, Inky*

Good luck on underwhelming! It's funny how less is more sometimes.

Yunaleska said...

I'm trying to work out how to unwhelm. Getting blanks at the moment.

Looked at dvorak - no way! Absolutely not. I'm a querty girl. Don't want to change. Type fast enough on it. Can't make heard nor tail of Dvorak. :) Glad its working for you though!

(dare I ask if you'll stick with my blog?)

Lady Glamis said...

*pats on head*

YAY! You actually follow less blogs than me now. What'd you say, 41 now?

Great job!

About unwhelming. Well, NaNo's over now....that's a start.

And how did you get graced with Bethy and Lei's "following" status???

Hey, guys, I know you read my blog. Follow me, too. Pretty please?

Inkblot said...

*shakes head at Glam* No begging, dear. It's not dignified. :P :D

Windsong - Yes, less is definitely more, at least in terms of quality and sanity.

Yuna - the switch to Dvorak isn't about speed, but my wrists! :D I'm still mostly using qwerty, though, because I am clinging to my ability to type quickly on it *blush*

Blogs - am mostly only dropping industry blogs. Never fear ;)

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