Okay, this is awkward. You're getting this email because you signed up for my newsletter a looong time ago. Sorry that it took so long to get started.
Let me introduce myself
Other than the tech stuff, I play football, skate and surf! You should follow me on twitter 🐦
Okay, that was a long intro and that's something I want to talk about in today's newsletter :)
But first, your turn! Reply to this email introducing yourself (if you'd like), I'm going to read and reply to all of them.
Why start the newsletter now?
Good question! Well, part of the reason is guilt.
The other reason is slightly selfish, I want to be able to share what's on my mind and get some ideas and feedback, have a conversation with you. Hopefully, inspire a few to start something of their own.
Okay? Okay. So, here's what's up:
Every time someone asks me what I do, I have a mini existential crisis.
Should I say I work on design systems? Maybe that's too specific. Should I just say I write code? Is that plain boring? Should I mention that I'm building a sticker company on the side?
See the problem? Introductions should be a small sentence that people can use to find a common interest to talk about.
I like to think I'm more than my day job but the things I work on keep changing every month.
This also leads to bigger problems than social greetings, one of motivation. I get bored of things before I give them the time to mature into something bigger. And this month, I ended up in a spot where I wasn't motivated to work on anything at all.
I tweeted this last month.
I had to cut down.
So, I made a list of all the things I'm working on. I'm sure my handwriting is illegible but looking at the number of projects in that list you can tell there's no way I can work on all of these at the same time and give each one of them enough focus.
Which brings me to the big question:
How do you decide which project to work on?
For each of the projects in the list, I tried to answer 4 questions. You can use these questions to filter ideas that are worth working on.
- Describe the project in one line.
If you can't describe it in a simple sentence, it would be difficult to explain it to others as well
Example: Polar is a visual organisation tool for creative people like designers, developers and photographers.
- What about this project excites me?
There needs to be something about the project that you are really excited about, otherwise your motivation will fade away.
Example: It's a tool that I want to use. There's a lot of tiny interactions that are fun to build.
- Why should I work on this?
This is to satisfy the logical part of your brain. On a lazy day, when you ask yourself the question: "Life is comfortable, why am I even doing this?". This answer will remind you why you decided to work on this project.
Example: I miss building products and this is a great creative outlet without the pressure of deadlines or requirements from other people.
- What's the next step in this project?
Think about the next task to take the project forward. If the next task seems daunting, chances are you won't feel like doing it.
Example: Build API layer to fetch list of files from firebase. (I've done this before, so I should be able to complete this comfortably)
After completing the exercise,
Here's my shrunken list:
- Cosmos (design system at Auth0)
I really like this project and it pays the bills, so this definitely makes the cut 😅
Link to: Docs | Repo
This is the project from the examples above and I'm really enjoying spending time on polishing minor details. Link to some teaser shots.
side projects also serve as an excuse to spend waaay too much time on tiny details
- Stack stickers
I'm starting a sticker company with my friend Nitish, and we're doing this out in the open!
All the discussions and decisions will happen over a call that we will publish/live-stream. In fact, we have decided to spend only 1 hour per week to make this happen.
You can register on https://stackstickers.shop to follow our journey.
I'm excited about these. I'd like to talk more about the journey of each of them (and future things that I'm up to 😉)
Hope this was helpful for you on your journey!
How do you pick projects to work on? Reply to this email with your method. (I'd share them in the next newsletter)
Also, feel free to reach out to me with questions or suggestions!