Clone-A-Week Challenge Update: Planning For Success

So I promised to make a fully hosted clone webpage, once a week and since that time I have faltered on my pledge. My excuse, as usual, is that I simply do not have the time due to my day job or the mental capacity when I do have the time due to the problems I’ve been solving during the day.

Excuses, excuses…

So, what I need right now is a plan to tackle those excuses because I hate sounding like a whiny pants to myself and my mentors (who I give informal but nonetheless important status updates fairly regularly). And I’ve come up with something I believe will work – Break the challenge into smaller bite sized pieces and also use some mental models I picked up this week.

The first mental model is from an awesome article on how humans naturally think in If/Then terms. The article advocates making plans like so; “If I haven’t finished the report by noon Then I’ll prioritize it when I get back from lunch.”

The rationale is that we are hardwired to think in terms of contingencies. So my plan for ensuring that I take time aside each weekday to code is thus:

If I get home before 6pm Then I’ll start coding from 9pm for at least 3 hours straight. But if I get home after 9pm, Then I’ll take an hour for myself and start coding an hour after whatever time I got home for at least 2 hours straight.

So that’s that.

The second model looks at a way to tackle time intensive or looming tasks – just tell yourself you’ll spend 5 minutes on it right now. Just 5 minutes. The premise is that once you get into the flow of things you’ll end up spending more than 5 minutes at it. So for instance, you want to exercise but you’re like “Yo, who has 30 minutes for that?”. Well, tell yourself you’ll spend just 5 minutes on press ups and you may find yourself finishing a whole workout. And even if you don’t finish, at least you’d have done your pecs some good rather than spending a total of zero minutes on the task.

The takeaway for me is that when I notice I have gone a day without coding or I’m too tired to contemplate putting in the energy and time, I’ll just commit to 5 minutes learning something new or creating something. Could be creating a certain type of button, understanding a new concept or anything at all.

Now, tying these two mental models together and applying it to the Clone-A-Week challenge this is my plan of action:

“If I get home before 6pm Then I’ll start coding from 9pm for 3 hours straight. But if I get home after 9pm, Then I’ll take an hour for myself and start coding an hour after I get home for 2 hours straight. During this time I’ll spend at least 5 minutes of my coding time on my Clone-A-Week challenge. Also, I’ll keep a blogpost open in WordPress and update in realtime as I tackle the different pieces of my project.”

By breaking down the project into milestones (a header here, a navigation bar there) I will be able to tackle the projects one bite sized chunk at a time. Also, by keeping a blog post open I’m holding myself accountable to finishing the project.

That’s it. My plan of action for ensuring I always have a Clone-Of-The-Week.

Now to go start that blog post.



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