It's 5pm on a Sunday and I've knocked out a ton of tech debt on my personal projects, written a blog post, updated my side projects, and learned how to fix a bunch of garbage SEO on my site. Oh and I made lunch for the kids. And finished the book I was reading. Don't forget I also took some pictures with the kids for a little "I Spy" book. I did all of that on a random Sunday in January.


If I've learned it once I've learned it a thousand times. Do something. Literally do anything. Just get up and go do one thing. You can do it. I know you can, it's really just one thing, it's no big deal. One pushup. One CSS tweak. Make coffee. Fix the misleading error message. Take a single dish downstairs. Add a tiny new feature. Do literally anything. ONE thing will get the juices flowing. I promise.

I spy bears and cars
One of the pictures for our homemade "I Spy" book had the theme of "bears and cars". Do you spy the bear on a car? Hard mode: find the car on a bear.

I have always struggled with the nature of software. It's never done. There's technical debt to clean up, new features to ship, and there are at least three bugs you forgot about. One subtle consequence of this (that has taken me a long time to realize) is that when the job never finishes, it slowly builds up in your mind as this monolithic thing that can also never be accomplished. It can easily be paralysing.

There are lots of strategies people use to deal with this. Fancy todo lists (sprint planning). Not so fancy todo lists (backlog). Even really shitty todo lists (that archived backlog that only a few oldheads remember exists). And that kind of works… in a company that literally hires full time employees to manage the todo lists.

Let me say that again:

Software companies hire FULL TIME employees whose ONLY job is managing todo lists.

I love writing software and I love making new things. But sometimes the beast can't be tamed with a todo list, and I do NOT have the time to manage that todo list. It's too long, there are too many priorities, and I simply can't do it.

There are three things I want future Jon to remember:

  1. It is okay that you don't have a process that is as streamlined as the ones you create professionally. You don't have a full time employee (let alone an entire team) helping you with it.
  2. Nothing you do or don't do will change the fact that your pet software projects will continue to have a thousand things that need to be done.


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