Stop starting, start finishing

Stop starting, start finishing
Photo by Jeffrey Eisen / Unsplash

Too much going on this week! Finishing up one pop-up newsletter, starting another, editing the video pairing course, an Elixir side project that exploded into a big ball of yak hair, plans for multiple trips– it's a lot.

Welcome back to Simpler Machines, which isn't feeling so simple today.

I'm actually writing this on Friday, because as you read this I'm going to be in Point Lobos, taking photographs and writing for a very short-run, four issue newsletter that starts tonight, Sunday. Sign up now to make sure you won't miss it.

I've been soloing a lot. Both on writing (which is familiar) and code (which is a little weirder.) I've put far, far more of my coding hours in as a pair than as a solo coder.

Working alone is, honestly, really nice. I don't have to justify myself to anyone, can follow technical curiosity wherever it goes. Hence the yak hair: I started out by working on an implementation of Robin Sloan's Spring83 protocol, detoured into learning Elixir's interprocess communication primitives to implement status reporting during key generation, and then found myself working on an ExUnit formatter that emits test results as trace spans.

None of it is finished, of course, but it's something that I needed to do.

Similar story with the photography. And of course there are all the little home life chores that have piled up behind the weight of I have to get this done and but I don't want to.

So I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

I know, of course, what the solution is: Stop starting, and start finishing. The same advice I'd give to a product team in this situation, with too much work in flight to make consistent forward progress on any of it. But it's hard advice to follow.