Not the progress report I expected

Today I wanted to give you an update on how my next feature is coming along.

Instead I need to be honest with you.

I don’t have any progress to report.

One thing characterizes the last four weeks:

Not showing up.

I have reasons, some good, some excuses.

Exhibit A: our new time suck, I mean puppy.
Exhibit A: our new time suck, I mean puppy.

At the end of they day they don’t change the fact that my feature is at a standstill.

My guess is you’ve been in my shoes before, haven’t you [FIRST NAME GOES HERE]?

How do we get back on track from here?

Turning failures to lessons

If you’re anything like me you’re terrified of failure.

That’s why we need reframe our mindset and be open to the possibility that failures can be lessons that help us get better.

If I keep not showing up for this feature, there’s no way I finish it by Christmas 2024.

Whether it’s at the end of a project or, like now, at the first sign of failure, it’s important to figure out why this happened.

The sooner we can catch these failures, the sooner we can correct them.

Looking at my own situation I’ve noticed a few things:

  • The feature gets pushed to the back of the line whenever something else comes up.
  • I have new responsibilities that take up a lot of my time. I’ve not been able to keep up the level of production I had before.
  • I think a lot about the feature, but very little ends up in writing.

I need a way to show up consistently for my feature, with a time commitment that’s achievable and flexible. I also need a way to capture my thoughts whenever they happen.

The last one is simple: I’ll start jotting down ideas on my phone, or with a voice note app while I’m out and about, and set aside time to review my notes regularly.

For the other points it’s…

Challenge time

I read about the 30-for-30 Challenge, devised by blogger and internet dude Sahil Bloom.

The idea is inspired by Jerry Seinfeld and his habit of writing a joke a day as a tool for improving as a comic. He kept a giant wall calendar and every time he wrote a joke he’d write an X over that day.

“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
- Jerry Seinfeld to up and coming comic Brad Isaac

The premise is simple: spend 30 minutes a day for 30 days working on a project, improving a skill or building a habit.

  • Pick something you want to improve.
  • Schedule 30 minutes a day to spend on it.
  • Commit. Create some pressure by telling someone about your challenge.
  • Keep track of your progress.

I’m committing to spending 30 minutes a day for the next 30 days doing focused work on my feature.

While 30 days is long enough to require a real commitment, 30 minutes is short enough that it removes intimidation and allows you to mentally attack it.
- Sahil Bloom

This challenge fits my schedule, and forces me to show up every single day.

30 minutes of writing doesn’t seem like much, but over 30 days it adds up to 15 hours.

Imagine what you could achieve in 15 hours of focused work?

One important addition to this challenge:

Missing a day is not a reason to give up.

I’m a recovering perfectionist.

If I can’t do perfect, what’s the point?

The point is to be as good as you possibly can!

Habit expert and author James Clear has this thing about never missing twice.

If you miss one, make damn sure you don’t miss a second one.