He asked why I thought tensing up was a problem.
This was a good question. I had thought I wanted to avoid tensing up because the tension would eventually get me tired and stuck and possibly give me a headache.
However, it occurred to me that that isn't true. I can think for days or weeks about a difficult math problem, and I love it.
The things that get me tired and stuck and give me headaches are particular types of problems. I will try to list some of them here:
- Figuring out whether to throw something out.
- Responding to an e-mail.
- Planning a date and time for something where other people are involved.
- Deciding when a flight should leave.
- Context switching, especially into a difficult project that I don't want to work on (though once I'm working on it, I'm fine, and it's actually painful to context switch away from it).
I'm frustrated by decisions that seem like they'll potentially have a big impact on my life, but for which I'm not sure what that impact will be, especially when other people are involved.