Hobbyist Developer Struggles with Discipline

When you’re in control of how you spend your time and what you work on, by default, you are also responsible for what you work on.

Right now, this is something I’m struggling with. The discipline to stick to a plan.

What I think I should be doing is finishing the website for PublicSpeakr. Adding some product information about the app. Getting a good landing page that I can use to try some advertising options. As I said in my last post, I could also be improving the screen shots

What I’ve been doing over the last few weeks, however, is writing code.

For anyone that doesn’t know, I have a full time job; an ex-developer turned project manager.

When I talk about discipline within my iOS development life, clearly, the 9-to-5 situation matters. Working on an iOS product is, for me, a spare-time endeavour. I can map out a plan as if this was my full-time set up, but there are other factors at play.

For example, I like writing code. In many ways my approach to all of this is like-a-hobby; something I’m really interested in and do outside of work.

On the ‘career’ side of things, when it comes to writing code, it also makes sense for me to keep my hand in with development – in case I decide to move away from the project management gig.

As a hobby, the interest doesn’t just end with the code. I like to make things, to produce things. Things that I like, but also that other people like. The whole gamut of product development. This blog reflects part of the interest and it’s explicitly about those things that aren’t code.

So, it’s not that I dislike the task of marketing a product. It’s more that I often prefer development. In this fuzzy area between like-a-hobby and would-like-it-to-be-business, it’s easy for spare-time work to drift toward what I feel like doing. Recently, my thoughts have returned to a previous idea and, wanting to try some things out, I’ve allowed myself write code rather than sticking to the plan…

Returning to my recent, critical view of the situation, writing code now is working on the wrong thing. There are two, related questions that I should answer before doing anything else: (1) does the PublicSpeakr app have appeal as a niche app? and (2) what results can I achieve with the tools available to market an app?

From the would-like-it-to-be-business view, not treating it like a business is self-fulfilling; it allows me to de-prioritise the necessary work and concentrate on the bits that I feel like doing. It’s a bit of a reach, but I could conclude: that’s why we’re not selling more apps!

Which brings me back to asking: what do I really want to get out of this? Is it a hobby? Or is it something more? It’s not that I don’t invest a bunch time into this; I do. But, if the goal is to transition away from ‘hobby’, I need to continue to be critical and stick to the plan.