I’m tired of distracting myself with too many things at once. I’ve always been Captain Side-Project, but it’s time to start stripping away the noise

Having recently (and eagerly) taken on yet another random side-project, I’ve started to think that I’ve got life all wrong. Skipping the preamble; I want to be able to take one of my side-projects, one I particularly loved, and make it my 100% full time thing, to concentrate every waking work moment upon it. Having spent so many years diluting my efforts by taking on too many disparate endeavours I’ve realised that this isn’t the way forward. I want to spend my time doing just one thing.

At this point you might be thinking:
“Shock-fucking-horror; doing what you love for a living, what a unique dream you have there. Zero sarcasm intended.”

Despite the triteness I’m still going to give it a shot. Doing what you utterly love (shudderingly I shall proffer “passionate” about. I hate the word passionate in this context. I hate passionate with a passion) for a living is everyone’s pipe dream, but I’ve decided to take immediate affirmative action towards this goal.

I shall attempt to move many of my current work assets. RopeWeaver Business Systems takes massive, glacier-sized chunks of my time, so I intend to sell the business (or at least my share of it). At Twelve Gauge Software we’re already on this path; trying to flip our one app, Indoor Cycling Coach, to a more dedicated, time-rich developer (with little success as yet, Apptopia really isn’t doing it for us).

I shall begin orientating my life around fewer projects, the target being just one at a time. This doesn’t have to mean the same one project forever – it means one thing at a time, for a time. I need to stop juggling several things at once, to concentrate brain-cycles on a single endeavour. It’s going to take at least eighteen months to turn this ship around, to strip the cruft from my working life, but I have to start somewhere.

The worst part; to realise my dream of single-tasking, I’ll actually have to spawn a few more projects to realign myself towards the new goal. RopeWeaver, in its current on-premise-client-server-intranet form, presents little enticement for would-be acquirers, so we’d need to build a version two in pure software-as-a-service form to make it a more attractive technological proposition. This feels a little like telling myself that I can quit my addiction any time I want whilst continuing to feed it, but in the long run this is the right thing to do; a company sale would generate money, but more vitally it would unburden my time. Currently the business is doing satisfactorily, and I hate that – I want it to be either utterly frigging brilliant (so I could commit more resources to it), or dying on its arse (so I could discard it). At the moment it’s in the horrible centre ground of doing well enough to make it a worthwhile business, but not well enough to excite me any more.

Within Mozilla Thunderbird I have somehow amassed twelve email accounts, in addition to my personal ones, and twelve is too many. My first success metric is to remove eight of these accounts, as email management isn’t enjoyable or productive. So that’s the first task; disown email accounts. After that I need to finish off Twelve Gauge Software’s sale of the Indoor Cycling Coach Android app. Selling RopeWeaver is a daunting task, and I guess the process of selling could take years, but I have started the discussion. Removing these still leaves several other enterprises still on my plate;, my contracting and consulting work, the new boxing game app (still untitled, though the prototype match engine is coming along very well). These are the items from which I will select my primary endeavour.

I watched the film Minecraft: The Story of Mojang a few weeks ago, and I’d like a worklife more like Markus Persson during Minecraft’s early days; beavering away solely on something you truly believe in, prior to Mojang’s later excesses of a horde of staff and a massive office (although I wouldn’t complain about the accompanying wealth that Minecraft later generated).

I suppose the one thing I’m really after is freedom from complexity. Organisation and control are two of my key skills, and there are different ways to use them: do I want to be the air traffic controller, managing and guiding in multiple aircraft to land simultaneously; or do I want to be the pilot, concentrating solely on bringing my plane in to land as comfortably as possible. I think I’d prefer the latter – one thing at a time, for a time.