Don't stop

November 12, 2022

In the past, I’ve been awful at following through on things that I start.

I go through a period of excitement that I’ve got a new project. Some work gets done, usually the most fun part. But then something hard comes up and I start to lose momentum. Before long I’ve given up and discarded the whole thing.

Right in time to dream up another new idea to take my attention away.

It’s a cycle, and one I’m acutely aware of.

There always seems to be such a logical thought for stopping a project and starting something new.

“It wasn’t a good idea anyway.”
“That was never going to make any money.”
“Life is too short to just do xyz.”

These may or may not be true, but they’re not the reason why I stopped. They’re my rationalisations after I’ve already given up. The afterthought, not the original cause.

The actual reason for stopping is usually fairly simple.

I get bored.
Bordem is the downfall of most of my grand ideas.

I get to some part of the project that is necessary but not thrilling and I just decide the whole thing isn’t worth doing. A lot of coding examples fall into this category, things like user authentication (login pages), or dull parts of app development like getting set up on the App Store for the first time.

These are 100% necessary tasks that stop me dead in my tracks because I just can’t bring myself to spend my spare time doing something that is so dull. Yet if I was given something like that to do at work I’d probably jump in no questions asked.

Right now I’m trying to tackle this in two ways.

1 - By cutting out all sources of distraction and entertainment, see blocked.
2- By trusting and enjoying the process.

There was a quote by Steve Martin on playing the banjo that I think is particularly good. (At least I think it was Steve Martin, I can’t find it anywhere now so I’m just going to butcher it)

If you do anything for 50 years, you’re going to be pretty good at doing that thing.

I don’t know if I’ll be writing blog posts or code in 50 years time but I need to trust that time put into these things without switching focus too much will lead me forward.

Val d'Isere

Photo is Val d’Isere in France, from a work ski trip in 2019.