My mind has been exceptionally active lately, and I don’t just mean busy either. I’ve had a really hard time focusing on any one thing. It seems that in a given week my brain is bouncing between five or six big, long-term projects or ideas. Not that having lots of ideas is a bad thing. Ideas are good. I love ideas! But not being able to stay focused on any particular one makes it impossible to make any meaningful progress toward them.
In the past month, for instance, I’ve hacked on this website, Theodore, Blimp OS, and robot.ink, not to mention all of the time that I’ve spent planning my next D&D campaign, cooking for family, and doing some creative writing to clear my head. Sure, I’ve made some progress on some of the projects but not really enough to have any impact on them.
Thankfully, I’m always able to not let this in the way of my client work. Feeding your family is a strong motivator, it would seem. The problem is that I get almost all of my professional fulfillment out of the personal projects that I do. Money for money’s sake is a weak motivator for me and I think it always has been.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’ve been so easily distracted lately—which, honestly, is sometimes just another distraction—but so far I haven’t gotten anywhere. When I think back to a time in my life where I was exceptionally productive, I was a different person. I only had one child at the time—who was a baby—and I was also much younger myself. And I definitely wasn’t tuned into social problems, especially those caused by technology and the sort of things that I help build.
There also wasn’t Slack either. While I don’t think that Slack is at all “the problem” is certainly exacerbates it for me. But this is something that I do have some control over, in the form of quitting applications and using the do-no-disturb setting on my phone and I probably need to do a better job utilizing those things.
So, what’s a sole builder to do? I definitely get this feeling that I’m waiting for someone to tell me which thing I should focus on. Which I know is silly. If I’m going to stay working for myself I’m going to have to make these sort of decisions on my own. Perhaps that “someone” part of that feeling that I’m having is what is interesting. Maybe I’ve gone on too long pretending that those weakness in myself don’t exist. Could it be time to find someone with a complementary set of skills and partner up with them? Perhaps there is another model to fulfillment out of the work that I do that I haven’t explored.
That’s enough rambling for one morning. Here’s to finding some focus in the coming weeks, months, and rest of the year!