Balancing My Interests

When I first graduated college, I had a difficult time balancing my interests. After all, I wanted to be an improv comedian, a serious actor, a director, a playwright and a novelist all at the same time. In the beginning, I attempted to do them all at once. What I found out was that by focusing on too many interests in the same day or week, I was unable to excel at any of them.

An improv teacher I once had, named Mark Sutton, gave me some great advice in this area. He said, "When you want to do a lot of things, pretend that you're too stupid to do more than one of them." I took his advice to heart and focused completely on my writing for a few months. I was worried that I'd miss out on comedy opportunities or chances to direct my own work. Surprisingly, I actually received better prospects, even if they were less frequent. As far as I can tell, these opportunities came because I wasn't forcing it. By not push all of these areas at the same time, several of them began pushing toward me.

Take my current situation. I have my spurs dug in for this 2,500 word per day challenge. At first, it was tough getting all the writing in and ignoring some of the other fun activities I wanted to participate in. After 55 days, I've gotten used to this amount of writing and I'm usually able to finish it quite early in the day. In what seemed like an instant, as soon as the time opened up, I was asked to audition for the lead role in a play and I had a chance to direct a small commercial. Because I had worked many hours on refining my writing process, I had more time to pursue my other interests. When you're bogged down by being involved in too many projects and a dream one comes up, you can't even take it, so why fill up your dance card in the first place?

Balancing my interests required me spending time refining one of the interests until I became a sort of expert on the subject. After that interest became second nature, I was more able to devote time to the rest of them. I suspect if I kept repeating the process, I'd be a successful jack-of-all-trades in no time at all. 

Done with Balancing My Interests? Go back to Personal Time Management.

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.
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