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Well, basically I have recently figured out one truth : if one doesn't study systematically, one will never succeed or reach advanced level in the field of studies. The problem is that I have too many interests to be good at all of them.

They include : computer science (my uni bachelor program), foreign languages (I am currently studying Japanese and Swedish), literature (reading, writing reviews, watching online lectures,writing fan art), guitar playing, computational linguistics, animation (just began to learn the basic concepts).

The uni studies take most of my time, and as a result I am really frustrated in the other fields. In each of them I would like to feel confident enough to be able to do meaningful projects. E.g. I would really like to animate my own little film (about 1.5 minutes at least), write a web-service to help disabled people, reach advanced level in at least one language, become proficient enough in literature... But there is that scheduling problem. I have already forgotten much from the other foreign languages I know (e.g. French, German, Czech, English, Finnish), because I can't afford even one hour a day for one language. I still read books in original languages, but this is nothing without vocabulary work. I have stopped playing the guitar because I value reading much more, so I had to choose. I really wish to have a blog but I can't write there every day.

Another problem is that I know what I have to learn in order to be good at something, and this amount grows exponentially as I increase the deepness. Let's take animation as an example. It consists of two concepts : movement and timing. Let's take movement. It includes gestures, speech simulation (movement of lips), physical laws, material properties etc. Thanks God, I know enough of physics due to my uni studies. But what about materials? Or - gestures? In order to capture them right, I have to know human anatomy well enough, watch lots of movies just to know how the emotions are expressed, etc. Knowing anatomy includes knowledge of world art history after all! And so on, and so on... Not to mention that I need to know lots of examples of good and bad animation.

What I feel... Well, I miss school days when we all had to be good at several subjects at once, and the focus on general outlook. Right now I really doubt I can call myself an educated person... And I want to be well-rounded! Really! But, no matter how much I study, I still feel that I still must improve, and I don't gain that feeling of being proficient (or at least good at).

How do you people manage to solve this scheduling problem? I really can't abandon any of the fields, they mean too much for me. I have already tried to make projects that include two-three fields at once. But I still feel not competent enough.

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You are welcome to close this question as a duplicate. I have just seen a similar one from a 9-year-old colleague (the previous one). But, I think, we have a bit different situations because of the difference in ages and goals. – petajamaja Jan 11 '14 at 21:36
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Obvious advice - pick one or two interests of the lot and stick with those. But, that's not the answer you're looking for.

First, as you said, many of the fields you're interested in are very vast and to be good at each of them requires many months, years of hard work. If you want to become good at all of them, it stacks up. Now, take change into account. The fields are evolving - keeping track of where they're going is a job for itself (computer science, animation..). Doing it all at once? Well...

Alright, can this be done? I think it can, but it would require a lot of discipline and most of all, patience. But from what you've written I get the idea that patience is what you're lacking.

Yes, you need a systematic plan - but even if you have one it will still take years to get to the finish, and if you don't have the patience and discipline to follow it through, you'll end up where you started.

Anyway, sorry for all this preaching. Here are some ideas:

#1 You'll need some sort of tracking software. Nothing fancy, just some app that will help you track your progress and remind you when to do what. I'm not sure there is something like that on the market. Once, I wanted to write my own. You might want to do the same if you don't find any. Though maybe just pen and paper will do.

#2 Get some books on discipline and patience. You have to learn to follow a strict plan which might not seem to bear any fruit at first. Keep your pace and you'll steadily build yourself up.

#3 Don't do all this just for the sake of the goal. Learn to enjoy the path. This way, even if it takes you years you'll enjoy every day of it. If you're too goal oriented you won't ever get to the finish. And if you do, it won't make you happy for long (Hedonic adaptation)

#4 Learn to embrace uncertainty. You won't be able to plan every detail. Even though you think you know exactly what steps to take next, it won't be that way all the time. You'll face many choices with no clear path to take.

#5 Build on firm ground. If you're rock solid in your basics, it will be that much easier to build upon that and incrementally work towards the goal. To do that, you'll need to backtrack, re-visit and revise ideas, question the basics etc. Do not regard this as being slowed down, it's just part of the process.

Anyway, the main idea is to just understand that it takes time to develop any skill. Don't expect it to happen in a moments time. Maybe you should just slow down and enjoy what you're doing without stressing too much about the timeframe.

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