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Getting my house in order

For months, any motivation to work on my side projects has taken a complete nose dive. The running theme behind it has become all too commonplace - exhausted after a long day at work, lunchtimes hijacked with household chores (the not-so-glamorous benefits of WFH), ferrying the kids to school and clubs, eating dinner in the car, attempting (and failing) to deal with Amazon after one of their vans struck my house etc. etc. - all this has come together to knock my motivation down to zip!

On top of this, my previous attempts to set myself targets and deadlines for my side projects to, keep me "motivated" and "productive", have backfired. Knowing these deadlines were arbitrary, artificial and without any real purpose (or to put it more concisely - complete BS!) they only served to further de-motivate me when I inevitably failed to achieve them.

It might sound like I am making excuses, and to be honest I am. Life has been way too busy lately and I can't do everything and I've (finally) realised that is fine - and I am ok with that.

I do enjoy working on my side projects but regardless of how much I might enjoy working on them, they have never amounted to anything (yet!), and so I will continue to need to prioritise the here and now. I am still going to work on my side projects and if 10 lines of code are all I achieve in a month then I am going to be a glass-half-full kind of guy and be happy with the progress I've made rather than beat myself up over how much I wished I had done.

The start of 2024 has been somewhat rocky but I am slowly finding myself in a better place. I have been feeling a bit more upbeat and found myself with a little more energy left in me at the end of the day. Not every day, and more like sporadic bursts of energy here and there rather than anything consistent, but there are more of them (and this is one of them otherwise this would never have been written). I've also found myself rocking along to my music again for the first time in ages - and that's always a good sign.

So with all things considered, I think it's time for a reboot... again! (let's hope it lasts longer than the New Year's resolution)

I'm going to throw out the old to-do lists with tasks and ideas that I'm never going to get around to and start afresh. There are things I want to achieve, but to avoid overburdening myself I'm not setting myself any deadlines on these and I'll get to them as and when I can.

One thing I've learnt recently and I'll be incorporating is the Eat the Frog ABCDE prioritisation method. Although I'm not giving myself deadlines I still want to prioritise my tasks so that when my motivation is high, the tasks that I pick up will be the ones that have the biggest impact. I'm also going to try and keep my todolist quite light, maybe 10 or so items, and if my list starts to grow beyond this then it contains tasks that aren't actually important and should be discarded.

At the moment my initial tasks are housekeeping and automation tasks - i.e. deleting my Trello, ClickUp and accounts and consolidating back into Todoist so that everything is kept in one place, kept clean and simple, and I'm not getting bombarded with emails and push notifications from 7 conflicting services that are all trying to provide the same function.

I've also started looking into the app settings on my phone and hiding the push notifications from more of the apps and services. Google News was constantly pushing out notifications for clickbait stories that I knew would be a waste of time but I still ended up clicking - so they are now turned off. Google Weather was another one - approx 15 updates per day (according to the notification preferences) when I can just look out the window to see it is chucking it down. Turning off these too alone seems to have made a huge difference and has allowed me better focus on more important things.

Stay tuned for further updates but for now, I'm going to make a coffee, put my feet up, play a little Xbox - and I'm going to let myself enjoy it!

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