Summary: Different goals, tasks or projects require varying degree of emotional engagement. Some are emotionally intense, while others are rather bland and light on our emotions. It helps to be aware of the load coming from those intense projects.
Projects are emotionally intense when:
- situation is new
- we experience uncertainty, anxiety, ambiguity, indecision
- there is risk
- stakes are high
Examples of emotionally intense projects (for me):
- starting a new business or product
- buying a car for the first time
- deciding on a brand name for a new business
- shopping for something expensive where I'm not sure what I need yet
Things are emotionally easy when:
- stakes are low
- we've done them before
- there is no risk
Examples of projects / tasks that are usually emotionally easy for me:
- paying bills
- buying food
- doing taxes
I noticed that at any given time I may have any number of upcoming, emotionally easy tasks. It doesn't hinder my productivity in any way.
But if I have multiple emotionally intense projects in a short period of time, my productivity goes down.
Risk, ambiguity, anxiety and uncertainty that come from those projects are costly to handle. Since earlier this year I began to plan consciously for closing an intense project before starting a new one. It builds some momentum in accomplishing goals and helps me stay focused.
Every time I start something new I try to assess how emotionally difficult it will be. I try not to put too much pressure on myself at any given day or week.
In other words, making difficult decisions (in those emotionally intense projects) is hard enough on its own; adding multiple different decisions in different areas of life to be made in a short period of time is too stressful and/or unproductive.