Luke Ryan Jernejcic

Putting Things Aside To Focus

June 28, 2014

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?

Written by Luke Ryan Jernejcic who lives and works in Austin Texas building useful things. Follow him on Twitter