Refocussing

· by Steve · Read in about 4 min · (691 Words)

lensSo, I’ve been a little quieter than usual since the new year, and that’s because I’ve been in  a rather reflective mood as I plan out how I’m going to spend my time in 2010. That’s right - planning! Talk about the final frontier 😉

Basically, as you may have gleaned from my previous post, I’ve been looking to make some significant changes to the way I do things in 2010. I spent 2009 reeling from a back injury and trying to figure out how to deal with that given that I’m self-employed (ie I don’t get paid when I’m not working, regardless of the reason), and a leader of an open source project (with the inherent time requirements that comes with). This meant working out on the fly how to stay afloat financially, and still keeping my own interests and open-source plates spinning, without slipping back into the ‘permanent voluntary crunch mode’ style which triggered my back problems. I can’t stress enough how difficult that transition has been for me - it’s not like anyone was forcing me to work/live that way, I did it because I wanted to, but then it suddenly had to stop. When you invest so much of your time and perceived identity in something, backing away from it is very, very hard.

Of course the economic climate wasn’t great either, meaning I spent a lot of time jumping around between many small projects, leading to more overhead dealing with admin & business relations. I ended up just going almost month-to-month on-demand, not  planning very much and just being grateful to be able to work a decent amount at all - which given how unwell I was at the start of the year was definitely something to be glad about. But, now I’m back on my feet and pretty confident of my future health again (within reason - I’m not going to be bungee jumping any time soon!), I’m ready to start being more pro-active again and to map out some plans.

One thing is for sure, there’s no going back to how I used to do things. My days of saying ‘yes’ to almost everything and being at the keyboard until past midnight most days, and most of the weekend, are gone forever. I don’t regret doing it, despite the pain it ended up causing me, because OGRE wouldn’t be here otherwise and I learned a vast amount and had a ton of fun - but I’ll leave that to the under-35s in future; have fun guys 😉 From now on, I’m being ruthless and somewhat selfish about what I work on, and concentrating on things that maximise my personal love-growth-cash triangle. It means I’m passing on a lot more projects, and concentrating far more on things that are strategically significant to me, rather than anyone else.

I’m still planning to lead OGRE, so long as the community is happy for me to do so, but by necessity I’m stepping back a bit to let other people take more responsibility where they want to, and to refocus my time on mentoring and advisory roles rather than trying to be everywhere at once. We have some great people in the team and in the wider community, and I hope our MIT license will foster even more in future. Both I and the community have gotten used to perceiving me as the ‘go to guy’ in the first instance, with responsibility for pretty much everything, but in practice for some time now it’s been very much a team & community effort, just one that I happen to lead (and financially support where needed). In fact one of the things I’m quite proud of is the way so many others have picked up on the way I do things, and taken things forward themselves in a way that I wholly approve of. That’s open source in action, and I’m glad to be part of it, even if I can no longer have my fingers in absolutely every pie with an OGRE symbol on it 😀

Here’s to 2010 anyway. It’s going to be different, but change is good.