People working with computers and paper to process survey results

Build In Public — Update 2: Crunch Time and the 3 Deadly Sins of Productivity

Hofstadter’s Law:
It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Douglas Hofstadter laid out his eponymous law in his book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (an intense read!).

It has remained accurate throughout history — but has likely gotten worse recently, particularly since the dawn of software development.

This point is addressed by other folks, like Nicholas Nassim Taleb. In his book “Antifragile” he points out the asymmetry of the problem. There is only limited upside potential of finishing early (the hours between now and your deadline), but nearly INFINITE potential for downside: you could spend additional years working.

Why You Miss Deadlines: The 3 Deadly Sins of Productivity

The top three causes of missed deadlines are:

  • Distraction,
  • Overthinking, and
  • Perfection-seeking

For example:

A distraction might be writing overwrought blog posts that the world can do without.

Overthinking could be trying to develop another section for this blog post.

Perfection-seeking would be re-writing this mediocre blog post and trying to turn it into something spectacular.

Hopefully you see what I’m getting at.

I have a deadline to hit (launching Blotter this FRIDAY! 😰), so I’m cutting this post off here.

I want you to pause for a moment and ask yourself: is reading this seriously the most important thing you could be doing right now?

The real update

I’m making progress on Blotter’s technical side, but I’ve repeatedly found myself working on nice-to-have and not critical-to-launch work items. I’ve been guilty of all three of the productivity sins above.

I’m writing this blog post to remind myself to stay focused on the FUNDAMENTAL work.

When I find myself on a tangent, I’m going to pause, re-orient, and bring myself back. You can do it too.

Let’s get back to work

Once per month, I share updates on everything I’m learning about building and marketing a SaaS. It won’t be salesy or annoying, just helpful info that I think you’ll value.

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