Archive for June, 2011

The Hardest Mile

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Motivation, motivation, motivation.

Any sensible, self-employed person will tell you that you need self motivation in spades. And they’re not wrong. Unfortunately I’m not a sensible person, and my motivation falters.

I’m nearing the end of my Mesh Tools project. That is a relief, because I’ve been working on it for far too long, with little prospect of earning enough back from it to justify the time spent. I’m hoping that eventually it will prove its worth in other ways.

And yet, like most projects, the closer I get to the end, the more I find there is to do. The more things occur to me that make me think – that would be cool, I should really do that, add that feature too. Fortunately my years in the industry have hardened me to these temptations, made it easier to say – no, that’s a version two feature, that one’s for a whole other project.

Still, it seems I’ve had ‘about two weeks worth’ of work left for about two months now. All too often a week goes past where I barely touch the code, I get distracted by other projects and hobbies, I feel sick for a few days and it throws me out of whack, I become the king of procrastination. We’ve just had E3 week, the biggest trade show in the industry calendar. It’s all too easy to make following the drip-feed of hardware and software announcements and big conferences a full-time, fifteen-hours-a-day concern, backed up with hours of reading the gossiping, discussions and flame-wars of our passionate community.

Motivation, motivation.

It can, however, be good to take the occasional break for reflection. Of that I’m sure we can all agree. Last week, although I somehow didn’t write any code, I did create a new page on the website for Mesh Tools [ ]. Spending a few hours taking screen grabs and tidying them up, editing html tables to present them nicely (I’m doing all this the ‘old fashioned’ way!) and simply writing out the features currently implemented allowed that moment of reflection. The screenshots were worth the thousands of codewords. ‘Wow’, I thought, ‘I’ve actually done quite a lot of stuff!’

And still, it needs to be finished. My todo list is still substantial. My buglist is not empty. Other concerns creep in. The cost of acquiring a Mac for compatibility testing. The additional web accounts and management involved in getting it packaged and into an online store. What am I cooking for dinner tonight… Ooh, it’s sunny outside, 22C, be nice to go for a walk…


The last mile is the hardest. The hurdles aren’t getting any higher, they aren’t getting any more frequent, but sometimes it feels like each one takes more effort to clear. I will soldier on. I feel I must finish this project before starting the next one, no matter how eager I am to move on. I know the satisfaction of finishing it will be a huge boost. I just need to stay focussed.

Though perhaps I’ll just have a short walk around the park first…