Last month I spent a week in Amsterdam, living in a rented houseboat with some friends. For a couple of days, I had no plans, no demands on my time, no obligations. I also did not have the opportunity to do most of the things I normally do while at home, which take up most of my time.

As a result, I concentrated on a specific hobby programming project of mine. In two days, I got more done than I had during most months of the preceding two years.

After that, I've been easily irritated, even angry, when I'm stuck doing the other things that use up most of my free time, and not hacking on my hobby project.

It took a while for the lesson to sink in, but I eventually got it. By eliminating things from my life that take up my time and energy, but are not important to me, I can concentrate better on the things that are important.

Thus, for the past couple of weeks, I've been slowly weighing what is and is not important, and dropping or handing off things to others. I've unsubscribed from some mailing lists, left some IRC channels, dropped various RSS feeds, and so on.

This means I might not be as visible to some people as before, and vice versa. I will try my best to keep in touch, but I don't want to do so by hanging out on a dozen more IRC channels than I really want to. I welcome private messages and e-mails, and will use them myself.

As it happens, I've picked up a new habit, microblogging at http://identi.ca/liw. I don't intend to let that become a time-waster, but if microblogging is your kind of thing, you might be able to follow some of my outbursts there that would earlier have been on IRC.