Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Knowing when to finish and knowing where to start (danverbraganza.com)
31 points by nvader on Nov 8, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

You ask about code, I'm going to talk about life.

Finishing a product is a mental model that doesn't necessarily relate to reality in any way. Design of Volkswagen Golf was "finished" in 1974. Wolkswagen Golf built in 2014 has very few interchangeable parts with the original.

Some people need that feeling of finishing a project. My dad lives for that feeling. Personally I don't get that high, no idea why.

Publishing/shipping a product is lot more tangible. Here completely different set of feelings and motivations are at play. Many people hate publishing, because it shows their mistakes to an audience. I hate publishing, usually only shame comes out of it.

The "ship early, ship often" mantra is for people like me who have loads of projects in the making. Some people really don't need it.

So publish unfinished product, then do something interesting?

The feeling of finishing a task is a really big driver for me. It also helps me know when I can stop dedicating mental resources to something and move on--which leads to the trap of fixating on one thing and putting a lot of effort into it.

I think I will do exactly what you suggest, and pick something that's more fun to work on next, rather than what I think I "ought" to.

Finishing is both a feeling and a state. I rarely feel absolutely finished with a project, but I generally finish or give up a project. My finished is generally somewhere in between "that's good enough" and "that is my best reasonable work". I'm a perfectionist, I need some of these barriers. Others don't. Publishing is also difficult for me.

For now, I'd start a project you wished you had time for before. One you've been longing for. If you can't decide, simply choose one, any one will work, but I'd go for something you think will be easy to medium in work and scope.

While you do that, start thinking about another project you'd like to work on. This helps me the most completely avoid this sort of situation, especially with artwork. I generally have different projects in different stages of completion, and I find my finished work is better if I have variety of projects. The bits that I dislike are interrupted by works in the 'enjoyment' zone, and I can work across projects if I'm in a zone for a certain skillset as well.

I try the same sort of thing with life goals as well, but I've occasionally those get dumped and changed.

It's really interesting that you feel a collection of upcoming projects is a positive, rather than a negative, and I think the reasons you give are convincing. Without thinking about it carefully, I used to consider having a list of projects to work on next as both a distraction and a source of unwelcome pressure. It can be discouraging to see that list grow rather than shrink, and I was worried that pondering how fun the other projects could be took away from my focus on the "one project" I'm supposed to be working on.

I'm going to try to adopt your outlook, and look upon a stable of upcoming projects as an encouragement to tie a bow in what I'm working on at a suitable point, AND an opportunity to switch when things get boring. Thanks for that.

"Art is never finished, only abandoned." -Leonardo da Vinci

Anyway, I find it silly to continue with xsd2proto if the time and effort don't actually seem worth the opportunity cost anymore.

Yes, It's all just mental. I think the mistake is not to decide, but to leave it up to your subconscious mind. Err on the side of finishing and moving on rather than waiting.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact