We live in a hobby-rich world. There is no shortage of pastimes to grow a passion for. There is a shortage of one thing: time to indulge those passions. If you're someone who pours your heart into that one thing that makes your life worthwhile, that's a great deal. But, what if you've got no shortage of interests that draw your attention and you realize you will never have the time for all of them?
If I look at all the things I'd love to do with my life as a rose bush I'm tending, I realize that careful pruning is essential for the best outcome. This is a hard lesson to learn, because it can mean cutting beautiful flowers and watching the petals fall to the ground to wither. It has to be done.
I have a full time job that takes a lot of my mental energy. I have a wife and a son and family time is very important in my house. I try to read more, and I want to keep up with new developments in my career, and I'm trying to make time for simple, intentional relaxing to lower my anxiety and stress. That doesn't leave a lot of room to pursue any of these hobbies.
I used to play the guitar, if only a bit.
I've always had my eye on becoming a writer.
Software development began as a passion hobby, and now that it is a carrier I still feel that draw to it outside of work.
A lot of my life was spent under the assumption that I would end up in some career as an artist, and I was even on a trajectory towards art school in my teens.
But there aren't enough days in the year, or hours in any of those days, to scratch 100% of those itches.
So, I'm committing to saying "No" to myself more often. When I'm looking for a small app or tool and can't find just the right thing, I'm going to say "No" to building my own, instead of making the best option work. When NaNoWriMo rolls around next year, I'm not going to cause myself anxiety over the "Will I? Won't I?" leading up, and I'm going to admit that it just doesn't work for me. When I end my work day, I'm going to leave the web development at work.
I will be saying "No" to myself on all these interests so I can direct my "Yes" whole heartedly to one: my blossoming foray into game development. And this is a really deliberate choice! Game development is what got me into computers and into programming. But, its also something multi-faceted in a way that few other pursuits are. By throwing myself fully into my game projects, I'll be able to spend time created art, to code outside of work and learn new techniques and paradigms, and to tell stories.
I'm putting down a lot of interests, and shelving a lot of personal projects. I have dozens of bits of code that'll only collect dust from now on, even though I think of them often and constantly feel the pull to hack on them in the evening or weekends. But, I have convinced myself this is for the best. I'm working on making 2017 a big year for me, and I can't do that when I'm pulled in a thousand directions.
Learning to give up just may be the ticket to finally succeeded.
Tuesday, January 03, 2017
In software development, slow solutions can be worse than no progress at all. I'll even say its usually worse and if you find yourself making slow progress on a problem, consider stopping while you're a head.
Its easy to see why fast progress is better: either you solve the problem or you prove a proposed solution wrong and find a better one. Even a total standstill in pushing forward on a task or a bug or a request can force you to seek out new information or a second opinion.
Slow solutions, on the other hand, is kind of sneaky. Its insidious. Slow solution is related the Sunk Cost Fallacy, but maybe worse. Slow solutions have you constantly dripping more of your time, energy, and hope into a path that's still unproven, constantly digging a hole. Slow solutions are deceptive, because they still do offer real progress. It is hard to justify abandoning it or trying another route, because it is "working", technically.
We tend to romanticize the late night hacking on a hard problem. We hold in esteem the feeling of banging out heads for hours before gold. We have to be on the look out for the solutions that leech our time and our energy and our souls. Even the solutions that actually work! Maybe you've got a path that will lead to the solution, but if it takes you forever and sucks out your soul: find something else.
If a path is an objectively better one maybe even compromise on the destination. Hawaii and Virginia both have beaches and you need a break.
I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.
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