Self Care January 29, 2021

It's been ~35 days since I've made any progress. Self-motivation is tough!

Angus Woodman @angusw

Hey folks,

So, I worked my 🍑 off towards the end of 2020 trying to get a big new release ready. (Working on a SaaS B2B version of my B2C app, Grapefruit.)

I didn't quite get there, but when the holidays hit I decided to take a week or so completely away from it, except for customer support. That week turned into two. Which turned into three. And then four.

Every time I sat at the computer, I just could not find the motivation to get back into development. So I poked around at some other projects. Wondered if I just wasn't that into making software anymore. Considered becoming a professional dancer instead. Went down the existential rabbit hole. I'm sure many of you here know the drill.

Normally I would push past it, but after last year being what it was I felt like I should take the time. Luckily, I was able to take the time. But at the same time I was getting worried if the motivation I had just a month or two ago would ever re-surface.

Anyway, this past week, for reasons I couldn't explain, the motivation finally started to creep back in. I fixed a bug on Monday. I wrote some more tests and documentation on Tuesday. I ate pancakes on Wednesday. (Progress ain't always a straight line.) And today I've been feeling pretty excited digging into the meat of it again.

I'm not sure that I have a point, I just wanted to share that 'cause maybe it'll help someone to hear? Anyone else take a super extra long holiday to shake off the layers of metaphorical grime that 2020 covered us with?

  1. 2

    Know this feeling.

    Sometimes we need more time off/away than we realize at first.

    I think unless someone really developed a chronic condition, energy and motivation will eventually return.

    Side question:
    As a dancing indie hacker myself, with aspirations to teach, what do you dance? 🕺

    1. 1

      You're a dancer? Awesome! I don't right now, but I love the idea of giving up everything I know career-wise and putting all my energy into an unknown area of creative expression

      1. 1

        You put that beautifully! I often talk with programmer friends about the idea of ditching it all and becoming a gardener (or dancing teacher).

        Seems pretty common for desk workers to dream about doing something entirely different!

        If you ever get the urge to dance, take a look at West Coast Swing. That's what I dance and I absolutely love it. Also: a surprisingly large portion of the WCS community is software developers. There must be something with that dance that resonates with devs.

        Of course there are so many more dances than just ballroom or WCS ;) find something you love!

  2. 2

    That's just classic burnout symptoms.

    When you can't even stare at your computer screen, you feel like dying, etc.

    I took 3 weeks off last year too, barely touching my computer except customer support.

    What a difference it made.

    I was more productive in 1 month than the 3 months preceding that.

    1. 2

      That make sense. I never thought of it as burnout, because I had to force myself to stop in the first place. But it's probably like that thing where you don't know how tired you are until you lie down :)

  3. 1

    One of my favourite quotes is "It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop" by Confucius. It's fine if it takes you 30 or 60 days to continue. It's important that you do continue.

    Btw I was going to download an app, but it costs 30 PLN (8 bucks?). I very much like the idea of your app, and it would definitely help countless patients and doctors in their journey to get better.

    1. 1

      Super true. I've settled on doing 'at least 30 mins per day' now. Often it's more but it's just enough to get the inertia started

      A free version of the app is just out for iOS and soon will be for the other platforms as well so folks can try it out without the upfront cost. There's been tons of positive feedback from folks whom its helped, so really want to get it into more hands and the upfront payment is a blocker for some for sure.

  4. 1

    🕺 I'm not doing anything from the start of the year. I guess I need some pancakes.

    1. 2

      Ha, good idea. Mine were pumpkin buttermilk, if that helps

      1. 1

        You know what, my mood changed. I'm not sure if it's because of this post but it surely helped. But I'll pass the pumpkin :)

        1. 1

          Yee haw, get at it! 🐴

  5. 1

    I also took a couple weeks off in the beginning of this month. I had a plan to create a new project which is quite ambitious, but I lost motivation (probably because it seems so hard). Now I started with another project and my motivation to get programming again exploded. :) It happens from time to time!

    1. 1

      Glad you found it somewhere! What's the new, exciting project?

      1. 1

        It's called FriendTime.co - It helps you to maintain better relationships. Right now it's an old version that I made 2 years ago. The improved version is going to have much more retention (push notifications in the form of reminders) and better onboarding.

        1. 1

          Oh nice, I like this, I have trouble myself keeping up with relationships even though I want to and know that I should put more time into it. Lmk if you ever need feedback or a beta tester

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