I’ve been swamped with real-life concerns of late, which hasn’t stopped me from mulling a few things.

First off, time. I’ve precious little of it to enjoy, let alone to spare in search of entertainment or whatever hobbies I might otherwise indulge in. There’s an infuriatingly huge amount of stuff I’d like to have done or written about clogging up my mental gears, and yet I currently lack the stamina (and regular amounts of sleep) to handle it, inevitably resorting to spending a lot of time with my nose in a book in the wee hours just to get my mind off things.

My personal to-do list is, therefore, on the far side of long and verging on the kind of “epic” that equates to being told by the campfire if I were miraculously to achieve it all inside of a couple of years.

Second, culture. I’m not overly fond of the Portuguese approach of “sorting it all out later”, since people tend to over-commit and under-deliver as well as leaving behind a veritable minefield of misunderstandings and loose ends, and I’ve been trying a number of different (perchance too strict) approaches to tackle that, including (oddly enough) playing along with it on occasion.

Guess what, going native doesn’t work. And being up-front and factual apparently also doesn’t, so I’m trying out other stuff - which, regretfully, means I haven’t done anything but e-mail and meetings lately.

Third, focus. Lack of time would ordinarily be the perfect stimulus towards focusing on the essentials, but I have run afoul of emotional attachments - I hate giving up on things nearly about as much as I loathe being dragged into inconsequential and unfocused matters (of which there appears to be no shortage of, thanks to the way the economy is going down the drain).

So the first thing I did this year was to grit my teeth and start trimming. Loose ends at work, life, the net, the works - anything that isn’t essential is out. I need to do something meaningful with my life as a whole, and right now I’m not overly happy with the way it’s turning out - there’s a sense of purpose, there are some decent prospects on the horizon, but there’s too much stuff in the way.

I’m still busy getting rid of some of it, and it’s not going to be peaceful nor pretty, but life (at work or otherwise) isn’t a popularity contest - it’s just something I want to enjoy as much and as long as possible.