I’ve been a bit lost lately at home. Where I used to be constantly working on personal projects, I’ve found myself more frequently looking aimlessly at huge time sinks like forums and tumblr. I’ve been finding myself lacking the drive to work on personal programming projects even though I know I’ll enjoy it a lot once I get started and I’ll most likely learn some cool stuff from it. I’ve been suffering from a distinct lack of “Getting It Done”, in that I haven’t even done anything on any of my projects, or so much as looked at them in the past month or so. The slump may be from my work life; I’ve recently started to hit my stride as supervisor after being promoted near the end of last year but that has come with tradeoffs.
More time supervising and ensuring that a high quality of code is at work has left me with less “Getting It Done” time at the office as well, and by that I mean actually writing and shipping software myself instead of planning and architecting it for others and finding work for my team. I’m enjoying being the supervisor, it is an entirely different role with different responsibilities and I’m sure I’ll find myself writing less and less code at work. It’s all about letting go and firing yourself from your own role. That’s why I’ve decided to start “Getting It Done” at home instead, and start working on my personal projects again. There is a couple of different motivational methods that I’ve found today that has gotten me working again, and I hope that these will help anyone else who may be feeling burned out on their personal projects as well. Here is how I started getting it done:
Separate work and play
One of the most effective ways I’ve found to be more productive at home is to separate your work and play zones. If these are both on your computer, the easiest way to do it is to create another user account on your computer strictly for work. Have it set up for development and coding, have whatever tools you need on there, and whenever you are working in that account resist the urge to check social media or open up tumblr. Force yourself to switch to your play account to do stuff like that, as this will make you reconsider whether you even want to be distracted. Trust me, a different mindset makes all the difference when you want to be getting it done rather than wasting your time.
Organise your personal project
One of the biggest problems I had getting started again on my personal project is that I didn’t know what I needed to do. It was an unknown unknown, outside of a vague idea of “oh, I’d like to do this and that”. Open up something, anything, and starting WRITING OUT everything that you want to do with your project until you can’t think of anything else. Task lists, bugs to fix, ideas, feature specifications, fixes, user stories, whatever helps you out in visualising what needs to be done. I’ve taken to using trello at work for organising my team, and I decided to use it at home.
Once you are done visualising, then attack! You should have tons of stuff to do now on your personal project. You don’t need to worry about thinking of more stuff to do for now; it will start piling up once you actually start working! Keep adding them to your todo list or sketches and you will never be wanting for stuff to code.
Getting it done
Now you should be well on your way to working on enjoying your personal projects again, as am I! Comment below with ways that you get yourself going when the fire goes out, I want to see more ideas!