One thing that is starting to be clear as I evolve into web programming is that I have a lot of problems with personal projects that take more than 3 months from start to “finish”.

My GoDaddy account could tell you this, the domains tab is a land of broken dreams & unfinished projects. Some of my unfinished projects :

  • SlideIt (a web powerpoint like editor)
  • BambinBazar (a french classified ads website focusing on the children vertical)
  • mobile-slides (a web ios app for creating mobile prototypes with html)
    – Worst with that one I wasn’t far from releasing it.. 2 years ago, check that video and website presenting it. Still it did not uphold the standards I wanted to meet at that time..

This is also an effect that I am currently experiencing with Weddingdeck. After putting more than one hundred hours (maybe 200), the motivation is starting to fade and my mind is drifting away on other “cooler” projects.

My best projects also always has been short, my form validation script was a 5 hours project that evolved over the years into the monster it is now. I also have multiple plugin that took around 5 to 20 hours, I am particularly proud of my github releases project that I currently use for Weddingdeck. It’s nice to put something out there fast when you compared that to the general cycles of software development.

It seems that I really need to reap the reward of my efforts as soon as possible, and I’m quite not sure how to get out of this pattern. One of the way I accomodate with it is to work per feature, finishing one feature of a project certainly feels good like anyone know.

This is also something that I replicated in other areas of my life. I love to discover new things, learn as much as I can from it, and after sometime I move on a bit. An example would be Porto wines, 1 year ago I was all about creating a cellier in my basement, read on the best brand, how to conserve it and etc. While I still like porto wine, I stopped buying vintage bottles more than 6 months ago. Now I pretty much moved on into Scotch (okay now I sound like an alcoholic).

Currently, (as personal projects goes) I am focusing on a html5 mobile app for Cakemail, and I also started a small rss reader for tablets and phones similar to pulse, the goal with this one was to see if it was possible to create a “native experience” with html on the latest ios and android (and it seems like it’s kinda possible).

What about you guys? Having the same problem?

11 thoughts on “Being a short burst coding guy

  1. It’s like you see into my soul. I’m the *exact* same way ,as if my programming skills have the attention span of a five year old. It’s extremely hard to get out of that funk.

  2. > “the domains tab is a land of broken dreams & unfinished projects”

    That is so me. I know other people that are the same too.

  3. I have a dedicated job, so for my personal projects I have just a little time, like 2-3h/day and some of them remains on concepts and ideas, and when a cool one appears one has to die. XD

    Do you have any advice?? any strategy?..

  4. Work on something -you- need. A tool that will make your own life 340% better. That will help keep your interest piqued and alive. Choose necessity over cool.
    Just like with software design patterns, challenges that people face in life follow common patterns. Chances are a lot of other people have the same problem and welcome your solution.

  5. I’m currently trying two ideas to help me with the same problem. Firstly I’m trying Kanban, in an effort to force myself to finish what I’ve started. Secondly on of my projects on my Kanban board is to “make setting up new projects quicker” e.g. build scripts, logging, dependancy management. Unfortunately my WIP queue is currently full of stuff that has nothing to do with development

  6. I know that too. However, I learned to be a post-perfectionist, and I try to release as early as possible, keeping things simple. The pressure of knowing I’ve got something in the wild for people to see that isn’t quite as perfect as I’d like it to be suffices then to motivate me for the last stretch. After that I iterate to add what’s missing, but at least the project is out.

    I also take my time: I’ve got a wife, kids, a day job and a house to take care of, so I only have a couple of hours in day for my own projects, when I’m not too tired. After all the pleasure is in planning, designing, learning and coding, so I might at least relish every moment of it.

  7. “It seems that I really need to reap the reward of my efforts as soon as possible, and I’m quite not sure how to get out of this pattern.”

    This is exactly correct. What you need to do is learn some lean startup, or customer development practices. You need to build a minimum viable project. The smallest thing possible you can build and then get it in hands of users as soon as possible.

    This will not only tell you if its worth continuing. But get you excited and make it easier to continue working

  8. I have exactly the same problem. I would bet my GoDaddy account has more inactive domains than you though. Once I complete an exciting feature for a site, I just loose interest in it. I think the best way for us to avoid this is to have some sort of workflow for our projects. But anyway, at least we had fun while they lasted.

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