A feeling of being scattered is pretty common for people seeking to carve out their own path, especially those with the portfolio career who are juggling and balancing a number of client and personal projects simultaneously.

There are usually three elements at play when the scattered feeling kicks in:

– Wanting to be productive

– A desire for some kind of measurement (could be qualitative or quantitative – page views, feedback from a client, number of words written, etc.)

– The need to experiment, to be creative

All these elements connect to feelings of uncertainty, fear, and value.

Looking at these as a triangle you can probably quite easily place your current feeling:

Measurement, Productivity, Experimentation

It’s pretty rare to be at the center position where there’s a feeling of creativity, productivity, and a rapid and regular feedback or measurement loop. 

Usually you’ll be somewhere out towards the edges. That’s often a very positive thing (especially when in a flow state of productivity or experimentation), but when the sense of being scattered comes up it’s easy to feel you’re suddenly floating somewhere outside the triangle altogether, or even pin-balling between the angles.

To reconnect and realign it can be helpful ask some self-coaching questions. 

Here are a few that I’ve found to be useful when the scattered feeling arises:

– Is being scattered tolerable when it’s worth it?

– What if you knew experimenting was worth it? What would you feel?

– What’s important about having measurement? What does that give you?

– What’s a good definition of ‘productive’ for you? (not someone else, not society, but you)

Bottom Line: Maintaining the portfolio is never easy, and the scattered feeling rarely goes away for good, but it’s definitely possible to keep it in check using a few good questions.

Managing the feeling of being scattered

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