I’m the kind of person who likes to keep busy; not in a ‘mad about DIY / the garden’ kind of way that tends to be the most socially acceptable form of being a ‘project oriented person’, but I always have a bunch of things on the go and never seem to have enough time to do them all. I’m always ‘working’ evenings & weekends, but a lot of the time I really don’t think of it as work, because a large portion of the time I’m doing exactly what I want to do.
If you’re anything like me you’ve had difficulty explaining to your wife / significant other that in our kind of world, there’s really no discrete black-and-white transition between ‘work’ and ‘not work’ that starts at 9am and ends at 5pm every day like clockwork. In fact there are a multitude of subtle levels ranging from ‘definitely work’ (e.g. something I don’t particularly want to do but someone has paid me to do it), to ‘not really work at all’ (e.g. having fun with technology that as a spin-off might help make a living now or later). Unfortunately these subtle graduations are invisible to the casual observer, often leading to discussions which begin with ‘You’re working again!’, ‘Not really…’, and from then on get complicated.
In the end, it’s probably not a solvable problem, but one thing that does help is taking the odd break, where you at least pretend not to think about what others would deem ‘work’ for a while. Holidays are obvious candidates, but also a good trigger for maybe taking a weekend off or something is recognising a milestone, or a cluster of milestones.
OgreSpeedTree and OgreSpeedGrass emerged from beta this morning, with official 1.0 versions being released. I’m pretty damn pleased with the result, and that’s a fairly unusual situation; I normally have a list of things as long as my arm that I consider ‘unfinished’, but in this case I’m very content with stamping a 1.0 badge on them. My attention can now switch to finalising Ogre 1.6, which is currently at the Release Candidate stage.
It’s also 2 years since I made the decision to give up having a regular day job and try my luck as a free agent / start-up. My initial measure of success was not to go broke (either personally or bankrupting the company) in the first 2 years, and I’m pleased to say that hasn’t happened. It’s certainly had ups and downs, and probably given my prior senior tech position I’ve undoubtedly earned less personally as a result, but the company has still grown, I’m still paying myself a wage that isn’t too insulting, and the benefits have easily compensated for that. Besides the flexibility and the satisfaction of knowing I’ve found and earned every penny I’ve made (which somehow makes the money feel more valuable than a guaranteed monthly paycheck), it’s been good for my personal development to mix it up a bit. And most importantly, I’m not bored 😀
It’s also almost 8 years ago that I wrote this fateful message in my (very old, very manual) blog:
“18th October 2000: Exam done! Work on OGRE will restart soon. First, web site revamp to be done.”
Inauspicious, but that was the seed - the time when OGRE as we know it swung into full development and started this whole crazy sequence of events off; if I’d known the significance of it at the time, I wonder whether it would have affected how I did things?
Laozi was right when he said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”. Those words motivate me to this day - that no matter how big or challenging something looks, the most important thing is to start. My experience certainly tells me that genius and raw talent / ability is often not the most important factor when it comes to achieving things, it’s usually more about taking that first step, and having the tenacity or pure bloody-mindedness to keep going for as long as it takes. That’s particularly good for me since even if I might not be as smart as some, I’m probably more stubborn. 😀And that in turn feeds back into what I was talking about at the start of this post.
But, stopping occasionally to admire the view is good too 😀Maybe I’ll do that this weekend.