Lost in the wilderness

Great post by Gus Mueller on losing your way in a project:

“Maybe you’ve been making foundational changes to your app. You’ve been spending time cleaning up your code, rewriting those hacks you’ve been wanting to fix for years now. Or you’re targeting a new SDK and there’s all these deprecated methods to replace. So while important change is happening, you don’t seem to be moving forward. You look up and all of a sudden notice this has been going on for weeks and you’ve been standing still all this time, and now you’re standing still for no reason at all. And you’re lost in the wilderness.”

I work on several apps throughout the week, evenings, and weekend. Most people would say: too many apps. The only way I can possible keep up is if every minute that I’m at the keyboard I’m productive, on the right path to finishing the project. Usually I can do it. But even so, I frequently fall into exactly the wilderness Gus describes, losing valuable time off in the weeds on things that just don’t matter.

The difference between those who can ship apps and those who indefinitely have a great idea that’s never complete often comes down to how much time we’re lost in the wilderness. By giving it a name we can recognize when it happens and hopefully recover more quickly.