00:02:02 ◼ ► And it's this weird feeling. I remember talking to people who, when their jobs went from like having three, you know, they used to get three weeks vacation and then they went to unlimited vacation.
00:02:25 ◼ ► And I think we, however, have the other side of that, whereas if we don't work, we are sort of 100 percent responsible for the consequence of that work not happening in a way that in theory.
00:02:37 ◼ ► At a traditional job, as in a place where you have a group of coworkers, if someone goes on, goes on vacation, goes on holiday, does something, isn't able to work for, you know, still in the sickness or illness reasons or whatever.
00:02:57 ◼ ► But overall, like the work continues to get done rather than my velocity the last month has been, you know, like, I don't know, I'm not sure what this, how you scale those things, but it's been 0.1 seems about appropriate.
00:03:17 ◼ ► Like, why do I feel this way? Because there's no, like, whatever I get done is what I get done. And whether that could be better or worse, like, I don't know, who knows what, you know, half the time I feel like I'm reminded of the thing in advertising where they talk about how, you know, it's like only has like half your advertising spend is completely wasted.
00:03:36 ◼ ► You just don't know which half. And I feel like sometimes that's the same thing with development where like half my half my development work is completely wasted, but I don't know which half. And in some ways, like, well, if I'm just, you know, feeling like I have much less time to work this summer, I'd like hopefully I hopefully I can prioritize my work in the correct order that I'm getting the kind of most likely to be useful, most likely to be successful activities, you know, sort of done for sure this, you know, this summer, and then things that don't.
00:04:05 ◼ ► Things that don't happen. It's like, well, they don't happen. And just as likely as not, in some ways, that work wouldn't have gone anywhere, or wouldn't have been as productive or impactful as I would hope it would be. So it's like, maybe I'm fine. It's like, I'm telling myself I'm fine. And it's like, whatever I get done from this point forward until September 1, you know, it's just what it's gonna have to be, I suppose.
00:04:24 ◼ ► Yeah, I always feel perpetually behind. And I don't feel behind in small ways. I feel behind in big ways. I always feel like I'm, you know, not only a couple of months behind, I feel like I'm years behind. And I think the it does, you know, obviously raises the question instead of like, you know, what does it mean to be behind and what what are our obligations, you know, as indies working for ourselves.
00:04:50 ◼ ► And I think what it comes down to ultimately for me is I consider my identity to be I am an app developer. And not only that, I consider that I consider myself to be a developer of good apps. Like, I don't I don't consider myself to be, you know, like, Oh, well, I just do it because it's a job and I crap out some apps to, you know, scrape whatever money together I can from the App Store.
00:05:13 ◼ ► No, I take pride in making good apps. And even though many people out there disagree when they leave reviews, the fact is, I think most people, most people fit my worldview. So, you know, I, I consider myself I am a good app developer.
00:05:29 ◼ ► Now, what that means, though, is, you know, every single summer comes by, I am always very stressed out that all the new stuff that my apps can now do, or that users will now expect my app to do, I have to do it.
00:05:44 ◼ ► Now, in reality, I almost never actually meet the deadline. I'm rarely there on day one with support for all the new stuff. And sometimes it takes me months to do the new stuff. Sometimes some of the new stuff I never get to. The reality is, like, you know, you kind of have to ask yourself, like, whenever you are, you know, having some anxiety about something, and forgive me, I'm not a therapist.
00:06:17 ◼ ► But anyway, you know, one of the concepts around certain anxieties is, like, you know, I feel like if I don't get this done by day one, you know, by September, I don't get this new feature on, you know, whatever it is, you know, widgets on the sideways screen, or, you know, like, interactive thing, you know, whatever, whatever the feature of the summer is.
00:06:34 ◼ ► I always have massive anxiety about that, but what I really should be doing is objectively trying to evaluate, well, what's going to happen if I miss that deadline? What's really going to happen?
00:06:56 ◼ ► And the answer is not much. It actually really doesn't matter that much. Occasionally, I will get a low review from somebody who expects me to have something that I don't have yet, but even that is a relatively small portion of the reviews, such that it doesn't usually even affect the average in any noticeable way at all.
00:07:31 ◼ ► And so, I have to contextualize that and kind of realize the pressure and anxiety I'm feeling about all of that is almost entirely self-imposed, and that the outcomes that I'm kind of implicitly fearing with that anxiety aren't actually going to happen.
00:07:48 ◼ ► Like, again, if you actually look at what happens, it's fine. Like, if you blow past those deadlines, like, there are so many major platform features that I either didn't support until, like, a year or two later, or that I never actually supported.
00:09:02 ◼ ► You know, I'm not touching the audio engine because it's already great and it's fine, but the entire, like, data layer and the majority, if not all, of the UI is going to be rewritten as part of this process that I'm, like, you know, a third of the way into, maybe.
00:09:17 ◼ ► And so, I feel extra anxiety this year in this way because not only do I feel the usual amount of, "Oh my God, there's so much I have to do. Now, by the way, there's a whole new platform in VisionOS that I want to be there for on day one if I can."
00:10:09 ◼ ► So, anyway, because I am taking on this massive rewrite of the app over the last, you know, year or two, and because I am, because it's such a long-term thing that it's going to take me probably, you know, a year or two more to really complete.
00:11:21 ◼ ► I still, you know, even my iPad app, which is running there, like, it doesn't have a three column view, which is whatever I really want, but don't worry, I'm working on that for the new one.
00:12:51 ◼ ► Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. And I think what's difficult, especially with people like you and I, I think is, I'm increasingly understanding that our imagination is one of our best, like, resources.
00:13:09 ◼ ► We can't, we don't get to the place that we look at our app and you're like, you know what, we're done. There's nothing else here. I'm done. I'm good. I'm just gonna, you know, go sip margaritas on the beach.
00:13:26 ◼ ► There's always things that we're like, maybe I'll try this, maybe I'll try that. Let me experiment with that. And that is dangerous, like, it's powerful for us in terms of like, I think that's where we get to where we are.
00:13:42 ◼ ► And I think what is dangerous, and this is something that I've had to, in my own life, be very careful about, is then not turning that list of things that I could do into things that I should do.
00:13:50 ◼ ► Because as soon as it becomes a should, is then not doing it becomes like I'm failing, that I've missed out, that I'm behind what I should be doing, or I'm a disappointment to myself or to others, to my customers.
00:14:02 ◼ ► And like, the issue with that is like, with any of my apps, I have a list, you know, usually in reminders where I just like throw every idea I have, and there are literally hundreds of ideas that I have to put in my apps.
00:14:21 ◼ ► And at the same time, I'm like, Dave, the app's fine. People like it. They use it right now. They're not using it because of the hundred features that you just imagined, that you now feel like you because you haven't built, like the app is missing in some way.
00:14:33 ◼ ► It's like, no, the app is fine. The app is where it is because it's good. Like if it was bad, people wouldn't be using it. But clearly it's good. And so I'm comparing it to this theoretical like, if I had built all those hundred features to and that that would in that that would actually be, you know, actually be a good thing.
00:14:51 ◼ ► Like, I have no idea, maybe it would be a bad thing. I'd be doing harm to my app by doing that. But being careful about that line between just because we can do something doesn't mean that we should do something.
00:15:01 ◼ ► And I think that changes has been very helpful for me as a framing anytime I hear myself saying that, oh, I should be I should be doing something. It's like, no, wait, is that a code or is that really a should?
00:15:11 ◼ ► Because like sometimes there are things that we should do like, you know, I there are there are things that are very like actually like in a real concrete way, you know, if the overcast sync server went down, you should fix that.
00:15:24 ◼ ► Yes. Because if you don't, the app stops working. Like fair enough. That is an actual an actual like bonafide should. But features and ideas and rewrites and all of these things, really, they're just kind of codes, like you could do it.
00:15:39 ◼ ► And I think that, you know, that creates the space to think like, is this, is there a difference? What is the difference between a could and a should like that, that that is a there is there is a space there to really wrestle with and think about and understand before just turning everything into like, well, any idea that I could have imagined is on the list. If it's on the list, it's, you know, if I haven't done it, then I'm behind where I should be because, like, so the list is somehow this magical thing that knows the future.
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00:17:51 ◼ ► Yeah. And I mean, I think what does that mean practically? It's just like a place to maybe wrap up the conversation and where we're going for like, what do we do? What do you do with your list of things? And I think the best thing that I've ever come up with is it's like, be really careful with priorities and then don't worry too much about the rest.
00:18:10 ◼ ► Like 80% of our like good doing a good job is about sequencing our work in the correct order. Because there is only it's like if you just made me makes me think of like a CPU design where I remember learning in college about, you know, you have like a pipeline and you have like, and then you can have multiple cores and each core can have two different processors and like you have this the sense of like, if you can't, you know, you can create parallelism in that way.
00:18:34 ◼ ► But at some point you're working yourself down to you have a list of things and they're going to be worked on in order. And the main job I think we have as especially because there's only just one of us. It's not like we have this big team of five, 10 people where you can be doing lots of different things.
00:18:51 ◼ ► And in some ways the order matters less because you can take advantage of the parallelism. But like for you and I, it's really just, am I working on the right next, this like the next thing that I am doing or the current thing that I'm working on? Is that the best use of my time right now?
00:19:07 ◼ ► And if it is, then probably just don't worry about it. Like, and this is what I tell myself is like, if I've taken a step back and been like, okay, you know, I write like after WGC, I tend to sit down and I'll just write down a list of all the possible ideas I have for things that I want to work on.
00:19:22 ◼ ► And then I'll just kind of not necessarily like one, two, three, four, in terms of like actually putting them in a stacked list of which is the most important thing, but just kind of grouping them into like these are the things that I think are have the most impact and are I'm the most excited about.
00:19:39 ◼ ► And I'll put those towards the top and then I'll kind of work my way down and then you can sort of very quickly also get to the place that like the bottom third of that list, probably just like you could just tear the paper off and throw it away. Like there's just you're never going to get to it. There's always going to be new things that are more important that are going to come up that are like those early ideas are going to create more new ideas and you're just never going to actually get there.
00:20:00 ◼ ► And like you're in, you know, it's like present company, it's slightly complicated, it reminds me a little bit of like Instapaper where I would throw all these articles into the Instapaper almost like slightly just like to tell myself that, oh, yeah, one day I'll read that.
00:20:14 ◼ ► It's like, no, you'll never read that. It'll never be the most important thing for you to read. And so you'll never get to it. And you just the queue grows indefinitely. And at some point, I just need to I would just like go through the like the last, you know, like the bottom end of my queue.
00:20:25 ◼ ► And just like, you know, just select all delete, select all delete, because I'm never going to read this article. If it wasn't interesting enough for me to read, you know, within a week of me seeing it, I'm never going to it's never going to happen.
00:20:35 ◼ ► And I think similarly, like with tasks, it's, if it's not towards that top third of the list, it's probably not important. It's probably you're just actually in like carrying it around with you as something that, like is, you know, that you have in the bottom of the list is actually just probably just slowing you down and weighing you down in a way that isn't actually productive.
00:20:52 ◼ ► And so like the real task is just to say, Okay, here are the things that I could do. And now, where what are the top three? What are the top handful of things that are sort of high priority? And if I focus on those, I'm doing a good, you know, good idea.
00:21:05 ◼ ► And I think that's where I found myself recently is just like, I've gotten got my list. I got my like handful of features that I think this summer, I would feel pretty good if I could get to a place that I've made meaningful work on them.
00:21:16 ◼ ► Whether when that happens, who knows, like, if that's September 1, or if that's October 1, I don't know, like that. I can't, I can't tell the future. But if I'm working on the right things in the right order, then at least I know that I'm going to end, I'm going to have done as good a job as possible, like to some degree.
00:21:31 ◼ ► And that's all I can ever hope for myself. That's all I think any of us can really ever hope for is that we've sort of done, you know, done is sort of the best that we could do. And for you've done it in the right little bright order, then I think that's kind of where we are.
00:21:43 ◼ ► Yeah, that's a really good way to look at it. Because like, I mean, you're right, like many, many of the things that I feel that I'm, you know, behind on and not getting to, I really don't need to do them ever. If I'm honest with myself, like many of those.
00:21:55 ◼ ► And you know, again, like, as I'm looking at my giant project, I'm worried so much about, am I going to be there on day one this fall? And the answer is definitely not like, there's no way I'm gonna, there's, I'm definitely not gonna be there on day one with any of the new stuff.
00:22:09 ◼ ► Because, like, I'm working exclusively on the new app now. And the new app is going to be at probably not out until at least the spring, if I'm really honest with myself, like, I keep telling myself, fall, winter, I think that's optimistic.
00:22:23 ◼ ► Honestly, like, I'll try. But there's, there's almost no chance of that, really, if I'm honest with myself, and I see, like, you know, I always think like, and this is actually part of part of the whole, you know, self shame and anxiety thing.
00:22:35 ◼ ► Like, I have to be honest with myself about how much time I really have. And it's, it's, it's sometimes tempting to think, you know, in the future, like, okay, well, the last three months, I have worked at this one rate that is not that fast.
00:22:51 ◼ ► But I'm going to really buckle down now and get this thing done by three months from now. And it's like, well, what is going to change in my life that is going to suddenly radically alter the, like, amount of work per week or whatever that I can get done?
00:23:06 ◼ ► I'm going to be the same person three months from now, as I am now, basically. And so that's unrealistic. And it's almost like, you know, like Merlin Mann is always kind of against people trying to impose radical personality changes on themselves or habit change on themselves as New Year's resolutions.
00:23:23 ◼ ► Because it's like, on January 1, you're still basically the same person as you were December 31. So you don't set yourself up to fail in the same way. Like, don't set yourself up for unrealistic expectations of yourself by yourself.
00:23:37 ◼ ► Because like, you know, I can tell myself, yeah, I'm going to work really hard and get this done by October, November. But it's like, really, if I look back and how much I mean, look, I've gotten a lot done in the last few months.
00:23:48 ◼ ► But I don't expect to be able to multiply that by four in the next three months. You know, it's still my regular life. All of the things in regular life, all the different, you know, family stuff and other projects and different time sinks that have been happening in my everyday life for the last few months are going to also mostly or entirely be happening in the next few months. Plus new stuff might get added to my plate in that time.
00:24:12 ◼ ► So it's important to set realistic goals for yourself, too. Like, not just to say, you know, I hope to get this done by September, October, whenever, whatever it is. But to really look at yourself and be like, all right, well, what is actually realistic at my current pace?
00:24:29 ◼ ► Like, if you look back through how I've actually done in the last x timespan, then it, you know, don't, don't assume your life's going to be radically different. And all of a sudden, you're going to be you're going to be a different person with different situation having a different life. That's not going to happen. You're going to be you. And so figure out not what some idealized version of you is going to be able to do as you're setting goals and expectations for yourself.
00:25:00 ◼ ► Yeah, like that's just that that's just true. Like, I think there's nothing that unless there is a meaningful and profound change in your life, you will not be changing in a meaningful and profound way. Like just that's all my all my years of experience. That's kind of the way things go that things tend to ebb and flow and that that there's certainly some truth to that there are times in my life that I've been more productive. There have been times in my life that I've been less productive.
00:25:24 ◼ ► There have been times in my life that there are things that prevent me from being like the last couple the last month, I have not been productive. Not because I'm somehow a different person, but because I chose to spend my time on different things and they were not work.
00:25:36 ◼ ► But as I come back into work, I will be the same person I was before I was you know, I took a break. And that's just there. You know, that is sort of intrinsic to who I am. And that's sort of like it's sort of like with exercise is like makes me think of how say I wanted to, you know, increase my deadlift, like how much weight I can lift up off the ground.
00:26:04 ◼ ► But those will happen at a very gradual sort of regimented process. There are things that I could do to be more productive. There are tools that you know, in terms of like, you know, this is makes me think of like when you created Quitter, right, like an app to close certain apps on your computer because they're distracting.
00:26:20 ◼ ► It's like, sure, that's a thing you can do. And that maybe it does increase your productivity, to some degree, but these are going to be these like, you'll increase by 1%, 2%, 3%. And that can accumulate in a great and positive way. And maybe in a year of really working on through lots of practices and being, you know, self reflective of like, what are the things that get in the way? Sure, maybe you'll see progress, but it's never going to be that you walk into the gym one day and it's like, now I can lift 100 pounds more than I could the day before.
00:26:45 ◼ ► Right. It's just not the way physiology works. It's not the way mental like and that's not the way that people work. And so instead, just be honest with the fact that like, yeah, I can make steps that are productive in that way. But if you're trying to make plans, you're trying to set expectations on yourself, understand that there is no magic way to be twice as more twice as productive. At least there if there is like, I've never encountered it, and I don't think anyone else has either.
00:27:07 ◼ ► Yeah, I believe that's called drugs and that doesn't end well. Yeah, and I think ultimately, like, you know, look around the App Store. If you really want to like, you know, set set reasonable perspective for yourself. Just look around the App Store and look at all the other apps. We're doing fine, everyone.
00:27:40 ◼ ► If that's just literally caring about how well you are doing is going to put you way above almost everyone else out there in terms of your actual quality and your actual output. Trust me, like we're fine. And it's, it's really hard to, to tell yourself that when you're feeling this, you know, behind feeling or this anxiety about what you're not getting to or how slowly you're working or what you're going to be able to do.
00:28:05 ◼ ► Like, it's really hard to actually internalize that. But trust me, look around the App Store. Again, if you're if you're if you're even questioning, if you're trying to perform self evaluation, you are ahead of almost everyone else out there.
00:28:27 ◼ ► Yeah, I think that'd be that it's just like, understand that, at least this is what I can, this is what like what I say to myself, it's like, whenever I have those thoughts where I'm sort of beating myself up for being behind or not getting done as much as I like vaguely thought that I somehow should.
00:28:40 ◼ ► It's the reality of it's like those thoughts, those feelings aren't serving me, they're not making me a better developer, they're not making my business better. They're just, they're, they're just negative, and they're the degree to which I can recognize them as such.
00:28:52 ◼ ► They're hindrances rather than helps, and sort of put try and put them to the side. Not that that's a trivial process, but the first step in that is identifying them as such that these this thought isn't serving me, this feeling isn't serving me, this isn't making me better.
00:29:06 ◼ ► Let's try and focus on moving that to the side, instead of having this long list of things that I wish I wish I'd done and kind of beating myself up instead saying, you know what, if I'm doing the right thing as my next thing, I'm in a great place.
00:29:17 ◼ ► And if I, every sort of making regular and sort of productive movement forward, like that is all we can ever hope for, is like that we're moving in a good direction at a reasonable place, and we know that eventually that will lead to the results we want, I think.