Some observations on home coding

The way I program has changed a lot now that I'm doing a project of my own. Back when I was working in Japan I always had plenty of tickets to work on that were all about equally important, or at least easily divisible into only a couple of levels of importance. Back then the daily routine was: pick a ticket, put on your headphones, and start grinding. The tasks were not especially difficult, and all within my sphere of ability.

Not so any more. I can only describe the way I program as 'as little as possible'. For one thing, a starting project has a lot less tickets than an existing project. Since the project's not launched yet I basically discard almost everything that does not need to be in there before launch. The remaining tickets offer a clear view of the project, and most of the time I need to finish one ticket before I can work on the other, or in other cases it's very clear that I should not be working on something of 'normal' importance because there's another 'above normal' importance ticket that is much much much more important. Working methodology is linear and shows a lack of options in what task should be done next.

I've switched from mainly Java to mainly Python+Django these days. As a result I'm just writing a lot less code. There's so little boilerplate that needs to be written it makes me feel less productive while getting more things done. In fact I've spent the most of my time on this project writing HTML and CSS, and a non-trivial amount of time has been spent on Javascript as well. I wouldn't mind this so much if I also spent hours and hours on complicated business logic and interesting back-end challenges, but unfortunately the business logic on this project has been extremely thin. I've got Django to thank for that too.

Probably the worst thing about coding at home is the lack of motivation. On some days, when I'm really motivated, I can get about the same amount of work done as I used to do when I had a full-time job. On your average day I do about three times less. I'm not blaming working-from-home for this, rather I just think that I have a hard time motivating myself in general. If I'm 'forced' to be at work for 8 hours on end anyway I get a lot more done. I also feel more guilty about wasting the company's time compared to wasting my own time.

I realize that I don't have Steve Jobs' reality distortion field. I wonder if this is perhaps an American thing because I cannot imagine a cynical British person or a critical Dutch person to have one of those. Instead, I'd rather be realistic, bordering on the pessimistic, focusing on what I could minimally get out of this project. Most importantly, I will learn what it's like to launch an idea out into the public, which will be a very valuable experience. It's also something to put on my CV, regardless of whether it works out or not. Anyway, I just don't see the point in distorting reality. That's why I have other people do the marketing.

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