4 min read

Chain Distraction

Chain Distraction
Classic 90's Sci-Fi Action, ridiculous plot and all. All credit to 20th Century Fox

I struggled a bit with what to write about this week.

It's not that I was short of ideas mind you, I have plenty of those. Most people do.

For context, that's my blog post backlog, which is, unsurprisingly, stored in Trello. It has all sorts of ideas in it, and some of them are even good, if you squint at them and tilt your head in the right direction.

But the top one was all about the intricacies of writing a technical roadmap, which is a natural extension of the strategic work that I've been doing recently. You know, building an internal platform and whatnot.

The issue is that the technical roadmap isn't finished yet, so writing about it seems premature.

Irritatingly, it's not finished because I keep getting distracted and focusing on other things instead of just sitting down and doing it. The most irritating part of the situation is that those distractions aren't without value.

They just aren't the most important thing I could be doing.

Irritation is good though. Irritation is fuel for the fires of change and writing about that irritation is a way for me to work through things in my head, because that's what writing does.

Of course, by choosing to write about the situation instead of just moving on with my life and choosing the next topic from my backlog, I'm sort of getting distracted again?

How very meta.

Interstitial reflections aside, during normal work hours, I'm sort of getting stuck in juggling mode, but also sort of not.

Constantly juggling stuff is definitely where a good chunk of each of my days is going, but it's not taking up all of my time. I am getting focus time in there, particularly at the end of the day, where it's easy to overflow into the downtime that I know I need, but continuously disregard.

But I'm consciously choosing to use that focus time on other things, like planning a team get together next quarter and analysing the cost of infrastructure across AWS regions and planning the team's response to an internal drive for increased reliability and so on and so forth.

The irritating part is that I sort of know why I'm doing it too, because I've run into this problem before; the first time I tried to write a strategy.

I don't have a clear path forward and I'm afraid of committing to one because I don't know if it's correct.

It's the same thing that used to happen to me when I was a software engineer, which is a really irritating realisation, because it means that I haven't managed to fix that particular mental deficiency at some point in the last eight or so years.

More anger, more fire, more fuel for change.

Where am I going with all of this?

I don't really know, that's the magic of a stream of consciousness blog post. You never know where it will end up.

The more interesting question, is what am I going to do about it?

I can make it someone else's problem. This is already kind of the situation actually, as the technical roadmap belongs to the principal engineers in the space, and I've just volunteered to help them put it together in a clear and concise way. Feels like a bit of a dick move though, and I've already said I was going to do it, so I can't pull out now.

I can reach out for guidance from those more experienced than I am. I've already started doing this, but I don't think it's particularly effective, as it's sort of a way of procrastinating as well. I'm adding more analysis to large pile of analysis paralysis. Unless I get those experts to set a concrete deadline and structure that is, in which case the paralysis is cleansed, and I can move on with my life.

I can schedule time to work on the thing. The tricksy bit is that said time has to be with other people, because if it's just time I carve out in my own calendar, I'll just ignore it. Peer pressure is a powerful tool when you choose to use it for good instead of evil.

I can just start. Technically I've already started, in that I've written some of the things up in an easily digestible way, but what I mean here is that I can just push myself to do it. Like I did with this blog post. I know that once I get started on something, I won't stop until it's in a better place, and I can use that tendency to my advantage. For once.

So, public declaration, I'll do a lot of the last one, some of the third one, a bit of the second one, and as little as possible of the first one.

Let's see how I go.