How do you prioritize interests?

I have too many things that interest me and/or that I want to learn to do. The trouble is that I spend a lot of time skimming off of the surface of all of them instead of diving deep into any single area of interest. Does anybody else have this problem? How do you prioritize?

What’s wrong with dabbling in lots of stuff?

If you need more time, I’d start with passive activities like TV shows and web browsing. That’s what I’ve given up.

I get frustrated with myself because there are things that I want to know how to do well, but then other things that I want to know how to do well distract me. For instance, guitar playing and 3D modeling. There are other things, too. I don’t watch TV much at all, or browse the web much. I just can’t commit to sticking with a single one of the things that interests me a lot.

Maybe make a list of what you wanna tackle, then prioritize it in the order you want, then chip away at each thing until you feel satisfied? You don’t need to put so much pressure on yourself.

I am in the same boat, and I don’t have a good answer for you. After work/commute, daily cleaning, cooking, etc, it seems I have little time to do things I want to do, like read, game, and various other hobbies. For instance, I am trying to get better at Excel, which means watching YouTube videos and experimenting, but I need to be in the right mindset as well, so it means it falls to the wayside most days. Plus, it is easy to fall down some hole with random internet searches that waste time I should be doing other things with.

I just don’t have enough time in the day. Being an adult kind of sucks sometimes. :-)

A set time for each would work, no?

I find that a task like this works much better when I work it into one of my other interests. For instance, when I was playing Out Of The Park baseball a lot this summer, I started tracking all sorts of things using a Google Sheet (basically Excel). I was able to develop a lot of complicated formulas and macros in the course of following my baseball interest. I never would’ve developed that proficiency if I had simply told myself I needed to get better at Excel.

@Clay maybe setting specific goals would help you improve the skills? Like setting a deadline for wanting to play a certain song on the guitar, or modeling a specific item using a 3-D program. That way you might be motivated to improve your skills as a way toward achieving that goal

It’s not pressure, really. Just things that I want to be able to do. I just get frustrated when I skitter across the surface of all of them. I think I’ll start to prioritize non-computer hobbies.

But that frustration comes from somewhere. Regardless, listing it out will definitely clear out brain space to help deal with it.

I play the guitar, and dabble in art. The problem with letting these slip is there is a sharp drop off in skill if you don’t keep it up. I haven’t played seriously in a few years, and every now and then I will hear an easy song like Waitin’ on the Bus, and realize that I a: forgot I evern knew that song; and b: forgot how to to play it.

For guitar, what I recommend are a series of maintenance exercises. Play a few songs that use all the open chords, and a few times a month at the least run through scales.

I’m like you. Lots of interests and not nearly enough time/energy for all of them. My first rule to prioritize is “what do I need the most?” So, if something has a practical application that aligns with my personal/professional needs (present and near future), I’ll tend to prioritize those. But if it isn’t something I need in any urgent, practical way, I tend to just “follow my mood” and do whatever feels better for me at that moment. I find it’s less frustrating that way.

Life is too short. Don’t force yourself to stick with something you don’t find thrilling.

I agree with jpinard. Do whatever happens to inspire you right now. If that’s not the same thing as yesterday, that’s not your problem.

Commitments are for loved ones or your work.

I hear ya @Clay. There are a number of things I would love to do more, but by the time I am done in the evening it is hard to actually work up to do any of them in the hour or two before I go to bed. And on the weekends I want only to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Unfortunately I don’t have an answer for you, as I am in the same position.

Don’t waste time reading message boards.

I have trouble sticking to one avocation as well. I decided a few years ago I’m going to have to pick something and stick to it for awhile and see if I can stop being Beginner at several different things, and get to Intermediate+ at one thing.

Answering the question “which thing on my list gets me the most excited to get off work today” is probably a good start.

The struggle is real , especially with so much good entertainment to choose from.

I make lots of lists trying to prioritize stuff and try to stick with something and finish it before moving on to something new. I fail at this constantly with PC games, always starting something new before finishing other games. I am playing something like 23 games right now at different parts of their respective stories. But for TV, Movies, and Books, I am pretty good at finishing what I started.

I can absolutely relate to this and yeah it does frustrate me sometimes too. There just isn’t enough time in the day and I tend to pick things that take significant time investment to get good at.

My main problem now is my social life is as active as it has ever been and I tend to prioritize that now. My wife has finally met a good friend in town so whenever they want to do something as a couple, we do that now. We normally go to the local pool hall at least once a week, so at least I have become good at playing pool now, which has always interested me. I also bowl two nights a week, which has been another lifelong passion, and I am on our local association board and run our Facebook page doing weekly updates of scores and events. I even run all the jackpots and collect scores and money for both leagues so that gives me an opportunity to meet and share stories with lots of people each week. I have had a deep desire to get better at bowling all my life, but age has caught up to me and I don’t have the time to put in the practice time right now to get better. I spent decades mostly at home so being out more and socializing is a bit more of a priority than it has been in my life so I have had to adjust some things I am used to doing.

The things that I miss the most are diving into deep RPGs or strategy games or working on my game design project, which I have basically given up on and pushed it to a low priority for now. It was always a passion and lifelong goal to finish at least a demo of a game I have had in my mind for a long time, but I just don’t have the time to commit to it now, or at least I am not willing to give up the other things I am doing. My mind is still trained as a Basic programmer and I am not at all fluent in object oriented languages, so I need significant time and practice to get off the ground again. I was starting to feel barely competent in Unity with C# a few years back, but I haven’t touched it in years. I did complete a functioning bowling game and a D&D rogue-like on the C64 that were actually fun to play, so I will have to just let that be my accomplishment for that goal and give up on my other project.

Browsing the forums here helps a bit on the games as I can read and experience them through all of you by reading your experiences and strategies so at least I can feel I didn’t completely miss out on them. It actually works on many hobbies and interests which is why this is such a valuable community to me.

I convince my offspring to pick up my slack and live vicariously through him ;)