14 Oct 2009

Techno Hurdles and Writers Block

You’ve patiently awaited results (don’t deny it) from my previous post, and indeed I’ve been planning on it. Sometimes plans don’t work out how we expect them to. And sometimes they do. Here is part 2 of Learning how to focus.

Approximately 6 weeks ago I deleted my Twitter and Facebook accounts. It was an impulsive move. An idea came to me, I talked to my wife about it, we agreed, and I just did it. There wasn’t a lot of drama involved, I had just gotten to the point where I felt I was losing valuable time using those services. I’m not going to go into more of the “why” details, I already did that.

The positive stuff

Since purging the web-social scene from my daily life, I’ve noticed a lot of positive gains. For one, I’m a lot more focused while at work. We’re talking orders-of-magnitude more focused. Before it was easy to spend a lot of time posting stuff on Twitter or reading people’s Facebook updates. Now, those distractions are not just archived, they’re completely gone.

Since “the purge” I’ve hit all my project deadlines at work, something that is actually fairly difficult for a developer to do in a serial environment. Well, I hate sweeping generalizations; I have a hard time hitting deadlines in a serial environment, though I’m not alone, just go read some Fowler essays on Agile Programming.

Speaking of Fowler, I’ve totally come to love the essays he writes about software design, agile programming, test-driven development, etc. He’s just a genius, and a great writer. If you write code, you should read Fowler. I never would have had time to read any of his stuff had it not been for “the purge”. As a side note, I’m using Marco’s Instapaper iPhone app on any article I’d like to read, but want to “read later”. It’s my number one app. Go buy it.

One facet of the purge was removing a lot of RSS feeds from my daily intake. I kept around 40 or so, though most have a post frequency of less than 1 per week, so I rarely have more than 3 or 4 articles at a time in reader. This is really nice because I still can get some info I want, but my take has been that it’s completely non-pressuring me. I don’t feel the desire to constantly check, because I know that there probably isn’t anything there. There are stretches of days where I don’t even check it because it’s completely off my mind. This is exactly the kind of thing I was going for.

The weird stuff

There have definitely been some weird side-effects to the purge. For example, when I read an interesting blog post or listen to a cool song, or whatever, I still (to this day) think about posting it to Twitter/Facebook. I mean, that’s how addicted I was. It’s kind of like my withdrawal cravings I guess. Still, very weird.

Something else weird happened: I turned into an old man. Over the past few weeks, my average bed time has gotten earlier than before. I’m now going to bed between 10 and 11, sometimes even earlier. Just a few days ago I literally fell asleep at 8:30 pm. I’m crazy like that.

The “huh?” stuff

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a ding-dang thing since I wrote about the purge. Along with the purge came a huge case of writers block. I mean, we’re talking mammoth. I have had a continual desire to want to blog and write stuff that is random and annoying, but I just haven’t gotten to the point of writing it. It’s really weird, possibly coincidental to the time period. If you followed this blog before when it was on wordpress, you’ll know that I had gotten less frequent in those postings too, so maybe it’s a deeper issue. I do love how Marco talks about not caring about the frequency of posts on his blog, that he blogs whatever and whenever he wants to. This is totally the style of blog I want to cultivate. I’ve just not really had the drive to post at all lately. And it’s bugging me.

Sure, this post is a new post on the blog. So I guess it’s good that I’m getting some of it out there. I just want a bit more consistency. Not like, “I must blog every 2 days” or something stupid, just… you know, semi-regular updates. When I get an idea about a post, I want to just write it and post it. So that’s something I’m working on.

Probably the biggest frustration that I’ve hit is the lack of motivation to work on my entrepreneurial pursuits. I have literally done nothing towards furthering my goal of being an independent business owner. Usually I reserved evenings or saturday’s for times when I could push forward on my ideas, and I’ve just completely fallen out of that routine. This is probably the biggest head-scratcher of the whole purge process. It was when I was “addicted” to the consumption of information that I was passionate about working on my ideas. Now that the addiction is gone… so is the passion. I’m not entirely convinced the two are related, so I’m still working through a lot of that in my head. Crap… that makes me sound like a manic-depressive psychopath. Just know that I’m not. I promise.

What are some gains or shortfalls you’ve seen in me since the purge? What about yourself?