I didn't anticipate the topic of clearing your mental cache to have a part two, but recent realizations about the responsibilities that I've accepted and how I deal with incoming data have made me realize there's another half to this lesson that I didn't realize until just now.
If you're like me, you like moving FAST! It's mentally rewarding to apply myself at full-throttle until I knock out a single problem or task. However, as any driver will tell you, driving is not all about the freeway. There are times when you're stuck in traffic and any acceleration you can apply only occurs in short spurts. These certainly are not the rewarding times - they are the dreaded "Just something happen already!" moments that lead us to emotional instability or to finding new ways to entertain ourselves.
During these slow times, my brain still wants to go full speed. It wants to find that new way of entertaining itself. So it ends up convincing me to switch to another car. I'll go Fast & Furious in my new ride until I reach another roadblock. Then I'll pick up something new. Then, when that slows down, I'll switch gears again. Before I know it, now I'm responsible to way too many vehicles to sufficiently maintain!
I realize now that this is not healthy for my success! This is one of the bad habits I've developed which, for too long, has convinced me I'm making progress when really I'm just idling! Because when one of those roadblocks opens up, I'm restrained and no longer free to speed ahead to the finish line. I can't - I have too many cars I have to keep up with!
Mental Cache Considerations
Clearing my own mental cache allows me to get back to the race for a little bit, but when the roadblocks hit, then my mental cache stops being able to clearing itself. This isn't an issue in itself, my mental cache is still able to clear itself, it just has to wait. The real issue is that I haven't stopped passing it data. And what happens when you keep passing in data that can't be processed quickly enough? Bottlenecking. When I encountered slow processing times, I overload myself and when the time-consuming tasks have been processed, now nothing is getting done in a timely manner because I'm working on too many tasks!
This is a classic weakness for INTP-types, like myself! (If you haven't taken the Myer Brigss test, you really should! Here's a link to my results and a free testing site.)
I realize now that the equation I've been unknowingly following has been fundamentally flawed! It's been built on a system which doesn't take into account problems or the size of my mental cache. I need to fix this quickly, lest continue impairing myself!
After thinking about the predicament, this is the solution I've come up with.
Let's say that my mental cache can handle 10 units at a time. For the sake of visualization, those units will be represented by the fingers on my hands, where each finger can carry roughly the same level of weight. My day job is already my biggest time commitment so let's say that uses up 4 of my free fingers. (Ouch, talk about resource-intensive!) Then I've also got my stock portfolios, real estate investment, the new business, staying in shape/table tennis, maintaining relationships, pursuit of new financial/psychological knowledge, and (of course) maintaining and updating StairwayOfPhi.
Fingers 1-4: Job
Finger 5: Stock Portfolios
Finger 6: Real Estate (Rent and Repair)
Finger 7: New Business
Finger 8: Gym/Table Tennis
Finger 9: Maintaining Relationships
Finger 10: Pursuit of Knowledge
Finger 11: StairwayOfPhi
As you can see, my hands are beyond tied! How can I successfully grab the opportunities life throws me when my hands are already completely full? It'd be like trying to play a game of tennis with my hands completely full of groceries (after trying to get them all inside in a single trip)! Obviously, it isn't going to work!
This list is already only comprised of what I haven't dropped after realizing how thin I was spreading myself! The initial list was much longer! (Even with this list, I find myself sacrificing gym/table tennis time to work on the StairwayOfPhi project!)
I need to get to a point where I can, once again, drive uninhibited when it becomes time to do so. To do that, I need to be in a state where, at any time, I can focus my efforts and concentration on what's really important - what will impact me most positively!
Once again, I need to take a step back and clear my mental cache.
I need to wrap up the tasks that I've committed myself to. NOT so that I can take on more responsibility as I did initially, but so that I can more effectively manage the tasks currently in the cache and dedicate the needed resources to them - while also having free cache spaces open for life to throw me opportunities!
Finally, I need to ensure that I occasionally run "diagnostics" on myself to ensure that I'm maintaining a level of responsibility that continues to have effective positive impact on my life!
Readers, how much do you have on your plates? How many 'fingers' do you utilize and how many do you think you should regularly have free?