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When Should You Actually Move On To The Next Project?

stephaniestrano profile image Stephanie Strano ・1 min read

This is a question I asked myself today in the midst of anxiety and overthinking. Being self-taught I've had to pave my path based on the amazing advice of others and it's been wonderful but lately I've been asking myself questions that I feel would be better answered on a platform like this.

Some context: I've been working on a basic survey form that for now is purely HTML and CSS. (later on that will change) The first time I tried to work on it I found myself worried about just getting it done and moving onto the next project that I didn't stop and actually look at my code to see if it made sense. Why am I rushing myself?

After a walk outside, a drink of water, and a few deep breaths later I sat down at my laptop and tried again. This time I tried to focus not on how long it was taking me but the actual structure of the form itself. Is my code messy and hard to understand? Do I know why this particular part has a class of XYZ? If I don't know how to style something will I take the time to figure it?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I could spend forever tweaking projects to satisfy the perfectionist voice in my head. But when is the appropriate time to wrap things up and move on to another project?

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Stephanie Strano

@stephaniestrano

self-taught programmer | yogi | bookworm

Discussion

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Good question, Stephanie.

I believe that you are not only with that voice in your head.

Unlike you, I'm so rushing with my project - insanely. And I know that can be so bad, but sometimes so good.

For example: if I'm learning one thing I can't stop thinking about how it will be cool to learn the next thing, and repeat that for the third thing haha

 

I relate! Some projects I work on I get so into that I'm rushing and I do believe that is a good thing! I think it's when you are rushing just to complete the project (and now truly understanding what it is you're doing) then that's not ideal.

 

I generally look at projects from two perspectives - am I doing this because I want to learn something? If yes, have I hit all the check marks I wanted to hit? If yes, then it's time to move onto the next project and try something different.

My mindset changes if the project is something I want to publish or have people use. What I find useful is walking through everything I need to get it there and working exclusively from that list. When I have a new idea on something I should add to it, I put it into my backlog for the second release - if the project gets traction, I'll ressurect them.

When I had to ship a product by myself a number of years ago, this was what I did to help me get the first release out the door. Up until that point, I had just kept adding and tweaking, obsessing over every little detail. If I had been in a team environment, many of those bugs and features would have been dropped to the bottom of the pile.

 

Hey Stephanie, I can relate to your questions :-D I can really recommend Eric Ries book The lean startup. After you've read that you'll probably say goodbye to the perfectionist in your head.

 

Awesome! I'll definitely pick this up. Thank you!