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Project 1

This weekend I finished my first project in my twelve startups in twelve months journey. It isn’t everything I wanted it to be, but I am not sure it is possible to create something that is everything you want it to be.

This post will cover the creation of that project, things I learned during that time, and my thoughts about it.

The Project

Over the course of this month, I built Go Climbing To. To make that happen while also working full time I

  1. Woke up at 5 AM to get an hour of creative morning time before work.
  2. Dedicated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights to it. Tuesday and Thursday are climbing days.
  3. Spent multiple hours Saturday and Sunday on it.

I am not giving that description of my time spent to toot my own horn. There are lots of people who work much harder than I did this month. I just want to provide an accurate picture of my process.

I decided to use C# and the ASP.NET framework for the API of this project because I am familiar with them (I use them at work) and I wanted to keep at least one thing familiar so I wasn’t spending too much time figuring things out instead of actually creating. The front end is written in JavaScript (specifying because TypeScript is expected today) using the React framework. I had never used React before and I enjoyed learning it. I also used the CSS framework Bulma for the first time and it was great.

I focused on building the core functionality first, then added styling. Styling was scary for me. I don’t consider myself very good at that type of thing, but I will talk more about that in lessons learned. The last thing I did was deploy it to a Linode server and test everything; there were a few last minute fixes this weekend.

I will release it tomorrow.

Lessons Learned

Time is valuable

This month has required that I pay intense attention to how I spend my time. That necessity caused me to reflect on how I have spent my time in the past and that reflection left me disgusted. We only get so much time on this planet and I am horrified of wasting mine.

In the past, I have spent countless hours watching Netflix, playing video games, scrolling on my phone, and being generally lazy. I am not saying those things are always bad, but the way I took part in them certainly was.

Going forward I will attempt to spend all my time in one of the following ways.

  1. Working
  2. Exercising
  3. Learning
  4. Purposeful leisure

Take care of yourself

If you are going to push hard toward a goal it is very important to take care of yourself. You need to be in your best physical and mental shape if you are going to perform at your best. That is obvious in thought and speech, but very difficult in practice. It is easy to get caught up in what you are doing and not take proper care of your body.

To take care of myself while also maximizing my time spent on my project it was very important that I had a routine of good habits I didn’t have to think about. My routine included cleanliness, proper nutrition, exercise, and necessary chores. The routine provided a peace that everything was ok and taken care so I could devote my full attention to what I was doing. If I strayed from it that peace/clear mind was instantly replaced with worry until I fulfilled the routine.

I found that I could use my morning routine specifically as a sort of reset for my brain and body. If I got home from work and didn’t feel up to working on my project I could go through my morning routine and feel refreshed and ready to go.

Don’t be afraid

This is where I want to return to styling being scary for me. I got to a point in my project where most of the base functionality was done, but I wasn’t happy with the way it looked. I had no idea where to start making that better. I was scared of it and felt paralyzed.

The only way to overcome it was to start, which I eventually did, and it went fine! The site isn’t a glowing example of beautiful web design, but I got it to a place I was happy with.

So don’t be afraid of any part of the process! Just start and see where it takes you.

It won’t be everything you want

This process has brought out my perfectionist side in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. It manifested in two main categories: my thoughts about myself and my thoughts about my project. I want to discuss them both.

Thoughts about myself

I set a high bar for myself. It was a great tool for realizing places that I actually did need to improve, but it also was easy to fall into a trap of constantly telling myself I wasn’t doing enough. I found the best way to combat the negative side was to do my best, because you shouldn’t be satisfied if you don’t, and purposefully remind myself that I did my best and should be satisfied.

Thoughts about my project

There will always be something I’m not 100% happy with when I create something. Again, this has a positive side of always knowing what I could do next but can be negative like wanting to give up or scrap something because it isn’t perfect. The important thing is to constantly remind yourself of the positives. If nothing else, putting work into something is a learning process, and you can’t lose if you’re learning.

Closing Thoughts

I am definitely happy I started this adventure and excited to see where it takes me. I am becoming more of the person I want to be every day. I hope it brings like-minded people into my life to befriend and learn from.

I am hoping that one or more of these projects turn into something that I can do full time. That is my goal. But even if none of them do I know I will learn a lot and hopefully make some great friends along the way. Adventure is out there. Thanks for reading.