How I prioritize and organize my resources
In 2007, I finally knew what I’d wanted to do for a living. It was the school’s newspaper that led me to become a journalist – no matter what.
During the apprenticeship, I started an online magazine called Negative White, covering alternative music and culture. That was almost a decade ago. It was a hobby back then but evolved to voluntary work over the last couple of years. The team grew, additional products and services were added. It was a hell of a ride. Negative White was my playground, a lab for experiments. The experience gained is invaluable.
However, I’ve achieved my initial goal to work full-time in journalism. And it gets harder to find energy and time getting stuff done for Negative White. That puts me in a quagmire: As a leader, I failed to hand over control. I became too big to fail, also crucial for the project’s success or descent. Maybe that’s the most important lesson I learned.
Now, I’ve to face tough decisions: Do I keep on struggling or do I quit? Are there any means to reduce the workload of about one to two hours per day by delegating tasks or stopping certain services? I don’t have the answers yet.
Being at your best
Ultimately, I’m convinced that we can only be at our best when we focus on a few things. You simply cannot commit yourself to ten jobs as good as to two. Admitting your limits is hard, especially if it involves a passion project like Negative White. It is a painful process that will pay off eventually in furthering the personal perspective.
Even if I decide to stop the project by the end of the year, it won’t be a failure after all. It was never meant to be as big as it is now, nor a lifelong engagement. It just grew organically.
Three key metrics
Nevertheless, I’m in a completely different place now than ten years ago, facing a new wave of having to prioritize and organize my resources. I have a small canvas of doing precisely that, but it requires total honesty.
Everything I do needs to check two of these three boxes:
Do I enjoy the work that I’m doing? That doesn’t mean I’ve to be happy all the time, but the overall feeling should be some sort of fulfillment.
Do I work together with people that are as engaged as I am? Can we learn from each other, broaden our skills, and deepen our teamwork and relationship?
Do I get compensated accordingly? I think that’s the least important point, but I still have to pay the bills.
If someone asks me if I had interest in a new project, I test the proposal against these three metrics. It helps me get an answer to the question, “Is this worth my time and energy?”.
Today, for the first time, I have to re-evaluate everything I do with this canvas.
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