Putting Things Aside To Focus

Balance. As a solopreneur, finding balance between work, side projects, family, chores, reading, etc… Finding balance can feel like a job by itself. I don’t know that it stops feeling that way. Life is a balancing act. However, I have also found that sometimes, to move forward, I need to stop balancing and let everything tip to one side.

Mac on desk

As I previously mentioned, I’m on to a new project. Wingman may be one of my biggest personal projects yet. I am using a new language. I am using new tools. I am doing new things with those tools. And I love it!

But with so much newness going on and such a limited amount of time, it can all get very daunting. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed.

I make some progress on the app. Then I go to my day job. Then I come home to work some more and find that much of what I learned the previous day is hazy. I feel like I’m doing 2 steps forward and 1.9 steps back.

Shifting for better focus

Instead of trying to keep each day balanced, I will instead put all my focus into the app.

See I have found that if I spend all my free time on a new project I make quick and significant progress. Not just because I am throwing more time at it, but because the extra time has a compounding effect. The gaps between the work get minimized. As a result the new things I learn stay fresh.

When learning something new, it can be hard for the brain to process all the new information that you throw at it. It can turn into a fight to keep up with everything else you need to get done and are learning. By temporarily focusing on the new skill you solidify the knowledge in your mind.

When I was working on version 3 of Chime Squirrel, I followed this method. For almost two months I spent all my “free” time working on it. I made a ton of progress fairly quickly. I felt like I had put out some of my best work.

Where I am going

For the next couple of months I am going to take a similar strategy with Wingman. I am going to put aside things like my reading time and my blogging so that I can keep my mind focused on the project at hand.

I do hope to still get blog posts out. But they will likely be more programming focused so that I stay on task. I will also remove my self-imposed 500 word requirement for posts to shave off some extra time.

Have you found an effective way to focus and progress on new projects?