Subtracting projects

Subtracting projects
Photo by Jerin J / Unsplash

Lately, I've been exploring the idea of simplifying my life by subtracting rather than adding. This journey began with the book Please Unsubscribe, Thanks! and was further inspired by Subtract by Leidy Klotz. In this post, I'll focus on subtracting projects I've started over the past years, in a future post, I'll write about financial, physical, and other areas of my life.

This is a good time to share that I started working full time again. I joined as a web developer at a company called Numeral. They're a small startup focusing on making taxes easier for online stores. I'm really enjoying working with the people and the tech stack. Because of this new change in my daily life, how I was structuring my days and time overall has changed a lot.

Previously, I would start projects that popped into my head. I would work on them for a while to see if they had potential. If they did, I'd continue; if not, I'd move on, despite feeling disappointed about the time invested.

The issue was and the reason I'm posting this is that they all sort of lingered or more like languished in the background and in the back of my mind while I worked on other things. This has been a sour feeling as it leads me to hoard unrelated projects and I don't want to start new ones because there's so much I would like to get done on my previous projects.

It's a Monday and I have the day off so I decided to use this time to help my mental state my clearing out some of these old and unused projects. It's going to be mostly tough for me but I think making a semi-public post about it would push me to really get rid of them.

Let's start with the oldest projects first:

  1. Bookends. My forever neglected project, this is like my precious baby that I never want to get rid of but I also never pay enough attention to to make any progress on it. I think it's time now, after almost 6 years to give this up. The domain was registered in 2018 and ever since then, I've worked on many versions of this project. I've learned a lot of web development skills especially with node.js using this and most recently learned next.js with this project too. For now, I don't see it ever taking priority and I think it's best I say goodbye to this one. An alternative to Bookends I've found and have loved using so far is Italic Type.
  2. Treat Samples: this is a pretty cool domain I got as a dot com but I think it's best I don't spend more time on this one. My initial approach with this one was that I build an ecommerce store that focused on putting together treat samples for pets. I was trying to scratch an itch I had and I thought others would too which is that there are just so many treat options out there but no real way to sample them. A pack of treats can be anywhere from $10-20 which is pretty expensive if your pet ends up not liking it. The way I wanted to approach this was by offering a $10-15 sample pack with almost a dozen treats in them. The issue was that I didn't want to deal with all the treat packing and putting together packs. This one is an easy one to let go of because I wasn't too connected to it.
  3. Wildwood Pixels: while I was on my sabbatical, I wanted to test my appetite for running a web development agency. The very short summary of this is that building your own agency from scratch, with no clients and no sales skills is really tough. I tried to get a few clients and work on some projects but nothing amounted to real paying work so this one felt very short-lived and I got very uninterested because it really felt like a chicken and egg problem, I didn't have projects I can show off so I couldn't convince anyone to let me build stuff for them.
  4. NextJig: since about October, I have been attempting to build a place for contractors and homeowners. The biggest differentiator for this project compared to what exists out there is surfacing information that is already required for certified contractors e.g. licenses. I made pretty good progress on this, I also had some real people interested in using it but the homeowners' side of this was way tougher to convince someone to give this a chance. With this project, I learned a lot more about Next.js and building a working app using all the other tools in the ecosystem. I loved building this project but for now, I am subtracting it from my life to make time for other things.
  5. KeyChronicles: kind of. This one is mostly going into a less expensive set up, I like writing about keyboards, just not as much as I thought I would and so paying almost $130 a year to just host a blog that gets a handful of views is wasteful so I'm going to move this to a static website, hosted for free and I'll just pay the $10 for the domain. This way I won't have the urge to get rid of it in the short term.

These are the four main projects I'm leaving behind and opening up my mind to new things along with focusing more on work during the week. In January, I was learning iOS pretty seriously and I think my new next few projects will be focused on building iOS apps for fun, and maybe for profit in the far future.

Subtracting these projects from my life is a bittersweet process, but it's a necessary step towards focusing on what truly matters and embracing new opportunities.