One Byte at a time

How Do You Eat An Elephant?: One Bite at a Time. This is a quote I have used recently to keep myself in check. I have been recently working on an inventory and sales tracking system, a saas product called Trade Journal. In the midst of this, I am in the middle of three contracts. Some days it is overwhelming, I have no time. I have a million things to do and I cannot do them all, so how do I find the time to do them?

My dad loves to tinker and experiment, he has a Ph.D. in Chemistry and runs an environmental consultancy, so it was amusing to the family when one day he announced he is going to start a fish farm. We all thought he was being funny, and just up to another one of his experiments and we all cracked jokes about the Professor, turned CEO, turned farmer. Fast forward three years later, he has a large fish farm producing hundreds of kilograms of fish a week alongside his consultancy. I asked him how he juggles all of this and he said: "Adim, my goal every single day is to accomplish just one thing on the farm".

My problem is that when I set out to do something, I am fully invested and immersed in it. A lot of my friends laugh at me that I am the worst multi-tasker they know. Within the past four years that has been stretched and tested to its limits. Moving from a product company in Denver to a Software consultancy required me to learn to context switch between multiple clients and quickly. Working in Nigeria on multiple contracts, generating my own business, writing proposals and doing all the administrative work it takes to run a company stretched it even further. The only way I have been able to do this was to break all my work into days. Client A on Mondays, client B on Tuesday, Blueport on Wednesdays etc and bar any emergencies it stayed like that.

Throwing Trade Journal into the mix took it another step further, this is a project I am not getting paid for ... yet and I do not have any more days to give so after a lot of trial and error I decided to do it one Byte at a time. Every single day I try to do work for Trade Journal. It might just be making an edit page or signing up for a stripe account or researching the competition. Every day I set out to do just one thing, some days I end up finding time for 2 or three things, but one thing is for sure, every day the project moves forward. This time next week I will be opening the project up to my first beta user. Lots of refining left to do, but it works and I am just gonna practice what I preach and ship something I am ashamed of.

Reading How to be productive without working past noon further solidified the theory that breaking down the project into little pieces and only tackling one thing a day has been one of the best ways to take on a big project and mentally liberate my mind from the crippling feeling of the task ahead. It may take a long time but tackling a byte at a time ensures that the project will eventually be completed rather than abandoned.