What to work on / too many projects / when to show unfinished stuff

What to work on / too many projects / when to show unfinished stuff

Dominic

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Oct 5, 2019
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Dear Webwide

i want to write about a topic which bothers me for some time (weeks?, months?). I have lots of ideas. Which is great. But I end up with lots of started and unfinished projects. It happends that I'm sitting in front of my computer and I don't know what I should work on. Everything is still too far from being finished that I can finish it in a few hours. Sometimes projects are interdependent. So in the end I procrastinate with Facebook.

In the end, I still finish a lot of stuff, even when it's two years later. But who cares? Most of them are non-commercial side-projects. But I think it's the awareness of having so much stuff unfinished, which blocks me. So I was thinking that should show more unfinished ideas to others (perhaps here?) to get some motivation or momentum? How do you handle this? Sometimes, when I have the intention to share something, I feel blocked by not wanting to share something unfinished. But it's probably a kind of perfectionism or anxiety of people disliking it.

One time when I was overwhelmed, I made a list of (most of) my projects. It's on my (unfinished :)) relaunch of my personal website. Perhaps you can give me some motivation. https://dominiclooser.netlify.app/projects

Thanks for reading

 

Gummibeer

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Hey,

there was a discussion on twitter some months ago (will never find it again 😂 ). The conclusion was that posting unfinished to get motivation doesn't work in the long term.
reason: if you aren't able to motivate yourself for the project you won't receive enough "cheers" by posting it and it's also not motivation but pressure. Because others see it and want to use it, so they expect you to finish it in a reasonable time.

You should at first work on only one (new) project at a time. Otherwise, you start jumping and find the "cool fancy" tasks in new projects and don't want to work on the remaining "boring" ones. This way you always start with a hype-phase on the new idea/project, get a downer from not finishing it, and go for the next hype.
So you are riding a sinus curve of motivation which has a negative direction on the long.

I can also recommend you split out smaller chunks of your app, clearly define a MVP and so on - the typical SCRUM/agile/story planning. And don't start doing something if you only have 10min. Take explicit time slots for your side project that is long enough to finish one of the smaller tasks. If you aren't able to find slots of several hours create much smaller tickets. So instead of "create registration process" you could use "create a user on form request", "send verification email after creation" ... these could also depend on even smaller tasks like "create email template", "create input component", "create form component", create alert component" ...
This way you are able to finish one or even more tasks per "side project time slot". You should also commit, push and in best case PR like this. So you really have the full "done" status of your task.
And depending on if you are more a digital or paper guy - you can for sure use real post-its which you can crush, strike or put in another box/stack/board if done.

And reduce your project on the lowest MVP possible. I can also recommend offloading the app overhead (auth ...) to a service like Firebase which is easy to implement and just works.

And as soon as you have a working MVP you can publish it, get feedback and so on.

 

Dominic

Member
Local time
11:35
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
130

Hey,

there was a discussion on twitter some months ago (will never find it again 😂 ). The conclusion was that posting unfinished to get motivation doesn't work in the long term.
reason: if you aren't able to motivate yourself for the project you won't receive enough "cheers" by posting it and it's also not motivation but pressure. Because others see it and want to use it, so they expect you to finish it in a reasonable time.

You should at first work on only one (new) project at a time. Otherwise, you start jumping and find the "cool fancy" tasks in new projects and don't want to work on the remaining "boring" ones. This way you always start with a hype-phase on the new idea/project, get a downer from not finishing it, and go for the next hype.
So you are riding a sinus curve of motivation which has a negative direction on the long.

I can also recommend you split out smaller chunks of your app, clearly define a MVP and so on - the typical SCRUM/agile/story planning. And don't start doing something if you only have 10min. Take explicit time slots for your side project that is long enough to finish one of the smaller tasks. If you aren't able to find slots of several hours create much smaller tickets. So instead of "create registration process" you could use "create a user on form request", "send verification email after creation" ... these could also depend on even smaller tasks like "create email template", "create input component", "create form component", create alert component" ...
This way you are able to finish one or even more tasks per "side project time slot". You should also commit, push and in best case PR like this. So you really have the full "done" status of your task.
And depending on if you are more a digital or paper guy - you can for sure use real post-its which you can crush, strike or put in another box/stack/board if done.

And reduce your project on the lowest MVP possible. I can also recommend offloading the app overhead (auth ...) to a service like Firebase which is easy to implement and just works.

And as soon as you have a working MVP you can publish it, get feedback and so on.


Thanks a lot for your extensive answer!
I understood:
  • don't publish unfinished stuff (before mvp)
  • make small enough tasks to finish in one time slot / 'sprint'
  • define mvp as small as possible
Makes sense!

 

Gummibeer

Astroneer
Moderator
Local time
11:35
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
1,169
Pronouns
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Thanks a lot for your extensive answer!
I understood:
  • don't publish unfinished stuff (before mvp)
  • make small enough tasks to finish in one time slot / 'sprint'
  • define mvp as small as possible
Makes sense!
A short not on the first - I would rewrite it to: don't publish until it will 100% happen in near future.
So if you know that only 2 things are missing for MVP and you have 3 slots in next two weeks: go ahead with teaser/hype posts.

The most important is: never publish for motivation!
Feedback: okay.

You could also start an early access/closed alpha/beta during last development phase. This will give you a "free" marketing team.^^
But also this: only if they are happy with timing and result.

And at least for me: the deadline pressure is the worst for side projects. I have them already at work and know that most times a deadline results in crappy code. If I notice during last feature that I want to rework my whole notification system to better fit the app: I will do it.
For me my side project is like Lego - the cool/fun part is to build/create and not to look at the final result. 😉

But this can also get dangerous if you "optimize" it to death because you never finish it. 🙈

 
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