Backstep and Time Management

Time is precious. As Backstep gets ready to move into more of a business development phase, my time is as thin as ever. For instance, last week I had to build the iOS client from scratch, patch issues with the Android client, and fix some problems with the API. Yay codez. However, there might be a silver lining to having my time stretched thin.

A previous project of mine - openTapp - fell into oblivion after a year of coding. The product had undergone numerous iterations without a release and development had stagnated. I still believe the idea was a good one, but the lack of progress on the business side of the project had negatively effected the product. Severely. So, with Backstep I'm determined to avoid the pitfalls which swallowed openTapp. Now, I know what you might be thinking, what does this little anecdote have to do with the positives of having little time? Oh, you weren't thinking that? Then this should be how you feel:

Poor writing: Check! Antagonizing readers: Check! I think this blog is on track to be a great success! But anyway, back to the point. I've found that when time feels as though it's in short supply, it forces me to prioritize. Rather then trying to make the product perfect, I get to the tasks which - although not as glamorous - are just as important. This week, I'll be trying to find a co-founder for Backstep, applying to incubators, and working out a business model. Yuck. It's even painful to write. But it's necessary, and time is short, so it will be done.

Now, let Papa Bobby give you some advice for time management learned from a lifetime of time wasting.

  • TV is the enemy. My parents have always said this (albeit while watching episodes of Seinfeld). There is no greater waste of time.
  • Iterate, iterate, iterate. I know this seems like it might go against earlier advice I gave in my Context Switching post, but sometimes you should put down a project between iterations in order to focus on a different aspect of that product. Otherwise, your project might begin to resemble those guys that skip leg day: Unbalanced and weird.
skipped leg day lookin' at you big guy
  • Finally, give yourself concrete time frames. Rather then saying you'd like to have something done soon, pick out a small piece of the project and say that you need to have that piece done within the week. Then take another piece, rinse, and repeat. Divide and conquer.