Saturday, September 27, 2003

if you want something done, give it to a busy person

Last night I saw the movie The Cell, finally, on PRobot's gargantuan television, and then we had a long conversation about how difficult we both find it to get all the things done we want to. There was this whole funny bit about how the bad guy in the movie comes into possession of the remote locale where he perpetuates his murders--I wanted to know why the evil psycho-serial-mutilate-killers in these movies always seem to have plenty of money to build elaborate containers, contraptions, and video setups. If you've seen the movie, you know that this particular bad guy apparently doesn't build the entire thing himself; it seems that someone else built it, and then ran out of money or got caught on back taxes or something, I don't know, and the movie's villain took possession.

So we were talking about guy number one, the fella who started building this contraption and never used it. We figured he has the same problem we do--he gets an idea, starts working on it, and then gets distracted. The kind of moment PRobot calls "shiny!" and I call "I'm going to organize my sock drawer now." We had this whole riff going about it, and how maybe there would be a lot more psycho-serial-mutilate-killers, except many candidates have follow-through problems, and perhaps could use some success coaches to realize their dreams of mayhem.

I don't remember having this problem when I had a day job. But my journals tell a different story. I had lots of ideas, but since I had no time to execute (sorry) them, I just whined about how my job didn't allow me the time to do all these things I wanted to do. Now I have the time, but I'm bad at managing it; and I squander lots of of time and energy that I could be putting towards creating all the great stuff I like to think I have in me.

I was so relieved when I read this story about Douglas Adams, who of course wrote the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It seems he was terrible at meeting deadlines. His editor had to lock Adams in a hotel room with lots of paper when he wanted a book finished (the idea of my editor doing such a thing is absurd). Here's the quote from Adams: "I love deadlines. I like the sound they make as they fly by."