Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How To Start AND Finish

I came across this on 43 Folders. Anytime I'm lacking motivation I always pick some random article from the site. I was procrastinating tonight and came across this talk about starting something AND finishing it.

Like most people I have lots of ideas that I think are great. I've started many of them, but never finished any of them (outside of work of course) - basically I'm suffering from brain crack. Starting is generally easy for me, but finishing is hard. I have come up with all kinds of excuses in the past.
  • I'm too busy
  • The idea sucks
  • Technology is too hard
  • I not smart enough
  • I don't have time to learn it
What's interesting is that I write software at work all day and these excuses never get in way. I start and finish project after project. So, I've decided to start and finish two personal projects before starting any others. It doesn't matter if they suck or if I find the ideas have already been done (more excuses). The point here is to take these two projects to completion before moving on.

Why two projects? Well sometimes I really do need something else to do. I solve a lot of software problems while I'm in the gym, taking a shower, or simply working on something else. I think that having two projects will help me stay focused instead of running into a problem and getting sucked into the internet vortex.

Project 1 is an iPhone application. It's a pretty simple utility app, but I think it is genuinely useful. As I get closer to completing it I'll give a full description of what it is and how I think it can help people. I have already learned a lot about iPhone development and objective-c in general. I have a few posts planned that should be up soon.

Project 2 is a small website developed using RoR. I've played around with RoR in the past, but never took a project to a releasable state. I'll explain more about the idea later, because it's currently taking a backseat to project 1.

Finally, the main reason I put this out here is because telling people I'm going to do something is a motivating thing. Doing something in secret means I can quit and no one will ever know. When I start telling every person I see that I'm working on something it creates an expectation that the next time I see that person I want to have an update for them.

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