Saturday, January 20, 2007 8:09:41 PM "Firefighting is good only as a finite experience." -- J.B. Sometimes a new friend can give me a new perspective. At the time I received the thought quoted above, things were shifting in my life as well as in my friend's. I had taken a contract last May, and it expired in November. At the time the contract was due to end, I felt that I had done all I could do for the client. The days were slow, and the list of things to do was short. In a word, I was bored. The contract was renewed, and some time in December the work requests started to come in more quickly. As tasks piled up, I found myself wondering what could be done quickly, and what would be delayed. I was developing a priority list. By the end of the year I was working on a major program I had not foreseen in November, and the backlog was up to eight tasks. My reaction was slow, partly because of the magnitude of the new program I was asked to design and write. Avoidance behavior tempted me, and progress slowed to a crawl as my creative mind grasped and digested the new task. The backlog of tasks haunted my unconscious, leading me to feel inadequate. Now I have written and tested the program. It's not so monumental in retrospect, but it is definitely something others have tried and failed to produce. It is in a new phase of development. Once again, I can turn my attention to the backlog sitting in my to-do list. And of course, another unforeseen program has been requested. So, instead of thinking of the to-do list as a backlog of tasks, I need to view it as a map for future activity. I need to look at all this activity as a good reason why I was retained for another six months, and to take it as my new operating mode. Perhaps, by the end of next month, all these tasks will be completed. By then another eight may have appeared. More tasks are probably looming over the horizon, waiting for a future time to appear. Instead of trying to clear my plate, I just need to make sure that the waterline is falling instead of rising. No more firefighting for me. I have to change my lifestyle.