My road to productivity – start finishing and producing

Being productive and motivated- who wouldn’t want that? I used to think that some people are just born more motivated, that some people simply are this way. “The War of Art” is an eye-opening book. I think that if I have never read it- it is unlikely that I would manage to write two articles a week for this blog ever since starting in January 2018. Here is a short story on my road to productivity.

The old status quo – what was wrong?

I don’t consider myself particularly lazy. I have managed to graduate from university and I never had problems working. I am probably rather average here as far as the software profession goes.

The difficulties were not with day to day work or smaller tasks. What I have problems doing is completing bigger, personal projects. Writing a successful Xbox game, iPhone App, numerous web applications, starting a blog and keeping it updated… I have tried it all before, but somehow never completely finished.

I am not saying here that there is no value in trying many things. I did not feel too bad about it, because each of these things taught me a lot… However, there was always this question- what if I managed to finish what I started? Could I have written an iPhone App that would make good money? Could this blog become successful? I will never know with my previous attempts…

What changed?

I have stumbled upon “Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual” by John Z. Sonmez, a fascinating book by a very interesting person.

It is quite funny how I found this book, as I was basically checking if someone wrote an article that was too similar to what I was planning to write (Soft Skills for Software Developer for Scott Logic blog) and I saw the Amazon listing for the book…

“Soft Skills for Software Developer”

If you work in software and you care about your career- I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It deserves its own review here (which I will get to at some point), but in short- this is a book for you if you want to know about:

  • Interviews
  • Career advancement
  • Freelancing
  • Startups
  • Remote working
  • Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Speaking
  • Learning
  • Mentoring
  • This is me listing up interesting topics before even getting to the half of this book

What did I get out of the book? I got motivated to finally start something, to push myself. I was fascinated by the book and I decided that I will try to improve myself and do something that I wanted to do for a long time…

Starting this blog

I decided to start this blog. I decided that this time will be different- I will write regularly and I will make it something valuable to others and myself.

When you start something like this blog (or a software project), you start with lots of motivation… This motivation often dries up in a few weeks or months.

This time, it would be different- I promised myself to stick to a schedule of a minimum of 2 articles per week and I will stick to it. This time I had a secret weapon…

John Sonmez

I don’t know if John will ever read this, but if he does- thank you, John, I am not sure I will manage to stay focused without reading your book and watching your videos.

If you don’t know who John Sonmez is, you can find him on Twitter, on YouTube, or read one of his two popular books – “Soft Skills for Software Developer” and “The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide”.

For me, reading his articles and listening showed me that really, I don’t have any excuse for being lazy or not meeting my targets. I won’t be able to convey this message as well as John does, so I am referring you to the original material. Check out his YouTube channel.

In a few of his videos and in the “Soft Skills for Software Developer” John refers to “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield as one of his all-time favourite books… This was the next stop on my road to productivity.

“The War of Art”

If you want an immediate “kick in the ass” to start working, pick up “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and read it. The book is very short, around 160 pages with a lot of white space. You can read it in an evening and your life may change.

Seriously, if you want to start finishing what you started- buy, borrow and read this book.

The book is about overcoming resistance. The resistance is what keeps us from writing. Resistance is what stops us from doing our art– be it writing software blog, completing a renaissance painting or working on our iPhone Application.

There are three parts to this book:

  • Book One – Resistance – Defining the Enemy:  This is where we learn what is stopping us from creating.
  • Book Two – Combating Resistance – Turning Pro: This is the essence of what is required to prevail.
  • Book Three – Beyond Resistance – The Higher Realm: A bit of unexpected ending, sort of “invocation of the muse”.

You may have mixed feeling about the book three (it is even acknowledged in the foreword), but it is worth to read the whole book regardless.

The “War of Art” changed my approach to work. for good.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Stephen King

Summary

I wrote this article to share with you the things that changed my life for the better. I hope they will have a similar impact on you if you choose to follow that path.

Writing this blog is my main project for 2018. Next year I am planning to continue that, but with one article per week (rather than two) and focus on a different large project. With this experience, I feel ready.

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3 thoughts on “My road to productivity – start finishing and producing”

  1. I was reading this post wondering what was your secret weapon… Will I find out after reading the book or is it just something personal you discovered?

    1. Hey Szymon!

      The secret weapon is really changing your mindset. That quote I put in the article is the key:

      “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

      Stephen King

      To do that, you need to understand what is stopping you from just sitting down and doing the work. I found “The War of Art” to be excellent at helping to understand that. You need to overcome your resistance. Once you understand that everyone has to fight resistance and that you can win- you will be productive like you won’t believe it! 🙂

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