Declaring code bankruptcy for the rest of 2016

This is a small PSA.

It probably hasn’t been too visible from the outside, but I’ve not been doing very well recently.

In particular I’ve been finding my productivity has pretty much gone through the floor over the last couple months. 2016 is stressing me out for a whole pile of reasons (about 80% the same ones it’s stressing everyone else out), and I’m not dealing with it very well. This is making it very difficult to stay on track and motivated.

It’s not a problem when I’ve got something external to focus me (e.g. a client), but when I have to self-motivate on a programming project I find that I can’t right now, and the result is that I’m unproductive, which makes me depressed, which makes me even less productive.

So I’ve decided to stop. If I’m not getting any programming done and feeling bad about it, it’s clearly better to not get any programming done and not feel bad about it. Being depressed isn’t doing anyone any favours, let alone me. So, for the rest of the year I will not be writing any code unless someone is explicitly paying me to write it.

I currently have one client and a few potential clients, and my obligations to them will absolutely still be met (and probably be met a lot better than they would have in my previous mood). I am happy to accept new clients, but I probably won’t be actively seeking them out until the new year.

I’m also going to keep reviewing pull requests on Hypothesis and doing Hypothesis releases with other people’s stuff (there will probably be some Hypothesis releases with paid work from me too).

I’m probably also going to keep coding when it’s required to solve an immediate problem I have, and maybe when I need it to answer a question for a blog post or something.

So it’s not a complete cessation, but what it is is a freedom from a sense of obligation: If it doesn’t fall into one of these categories then I shouldn’t be doing it, and as a result I should be looking for something else to do if I don’t have any programming to do in one of those categories rather than procrastinating to avoid some vague sense of obligation to be coding.

This is going to give me a lot of time that I’m currently filling with failing to program in, so I’ll probably end up with some non-programming projects. I don’t yet know what these are going to be, but I’ve got a couple candidates:

  • When I first started working on Hypothesis I was taking a work break in which I’d intended to brush off some mathematics textbooks. This didn’t happen. It might happen this time. I started working through some of the exercises in Bollobas’s Combinatorics earlier and I’m finding it surprisingly enjoyable. I may keep this up.
  • I’ve been working on getting in shape the last couple of months. I don’t want to throw myself into this too vigorously because I’m more likely to just do myself an injury, but I’m likely to step this up at least moderately.
  • The War On Sleep must still be waged.
  • I’ve been thinking of doing NaNoWriMo, but I probably won’t.

Other than that, I don’t know. Watch this space while I found out.

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One thought on “Declaring code bankruptcy for the rest of 2016

  1. David Boddie

    It’s not worth coding for “fun” if it turns out to be a burden. Better to take a break and do something else – being “unproductive” in that sense might help with motivation and also turn up some new ideas, whether for programming projects or for other things. Good luck!

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