For a long time, I’ve attempted to work on side projects outside of work and I have either lost the motivation or strived to build something too big to keep the momentum going. This did result in some sort of a weird burnout feeling within me. I have often felt like a project with good intentions, a lot of motivation, and even decent planning was still run off track because I did something ‘wrong’. This ‘wrong’ feeling I was getting kept alluding me because once the intense motivation went away, I would let the project rot. Either the planning was not done properly or the technologies used were missing something. Needless to say, it had nothing to do with what I was working on, it always was mismanaging my time and motivation, motivation wears out quickly.
Recently, I found a post called My product is my garden, the author talks about how there are moonshot ideas or unicorn startups where growth is the only thing that matters, but then there are projects that are niche, small, and focused on something particular. For me, I’ve spent a long time thinking about how I would go about building a product. It usually boils down to a simple to use product (reduce complexity and resist adding features for the sake of adding features), respectful of the user’s data (don’t track everything), and slowly evolving (no sudden pivots).
The blog post really resonated with me, I had not heard of an analogy similar to this before so I’m fully embracing it now. Step one is trying to build something but step zero is to not build something huge, start it up just like you would start a garden.
Following this approach, I’ve decided to pick up work on Bookends (again, for the 5th time or something). And some other projects I have been neglecting even starting. My hope is that if the trend of the past few months continues, the gardening approach could yield some satisfaction. Satisfaction from my projects will first be achieved by just continuing work on them and also by launching them for my own sake. I don’t have large ambitious goals for my projects becoming the best of the best, just the best I’ve done.