First week working on my own

Well, I’ve just finished my first week working on my own for myself as “IMiJ Software“, and it’s been kind of strange, and not as productive as I hoped.

The first couple of days were wasted with setting up my desktop computer, moving stuff across from my PowerBook to my PowerMac and installing all the software I use on a regular basis.

Moving my data was a breeze as I use “Portable Home Directories” on my Mac OS X Server, but installing software took forever, partly hampered by a dodgy external firewire drive that held all my install files. I dragged a lot of stuff across from my PowerBook, a lot of other stuff off of the ‘net, but some stuff had to be installed from scratch from CDs etc (e.g. Virtual PC).

Of course I didn’t spend two full days installing software, I did catch up with email and feeds, and did even manage to develop a little bit of stuff in CaseDetective, but the first two days did feel like a bit of a waste.

After that though things started to get moving, although I still haven’t found a rhythm yet. I thought I’d spend the first hour each day checking mail, answering support questions that came in via mail or my forums, and then scan my news feeds before getting down to work. But it never really worked out that way, there always seemed to be things I needed to do or that took my interest before I finally got going with development.

Having said that, I have managed to get some solid development in during the week, much more than I would normally, but very little of it would be visible to CaseDetective users, most has been restructuring for some features planned for the next couple of releases. Important work, but hasn’t given me the satisfaction that I’d get from seeing new features.

What has been noticeable about the time I’ve spent developing is that I’ve been able and willing to do the tricky stuff that I would normally be putting off due to the lateness of the evening. Now that I’m developing during the day I feel a lot more alert and have a lot more energy to put into development. I can juggle more code in my head and the “big picture” isn’t getting lost. I’ve also found myself entering a lot more feature ideas into FogBugz for future development.

It’s been very nice not having to commute into work every day that’s for sure, and having much more time with Mandy has been fantastic. However, I can see why some people find working from home so hard, come today (Friday) I’m definitely feeling a little cut-off from the rest of the World, even though I’ve been visiting my regular forums and such regularly. I’m missing the guys I used to work with, even though I was never very chatty I enjoyed being with them.

I need to start getting out more during the day, something I said I would do from day one but haven’t managed yet. I’m just too wrapped up in getting on with things and so haven’t torn myself away from my desk much at all this week. That’s going to change, come next week I intend to set myself some tasks that mean I have to leave the house, simple things like finish off the Christmas shopping (just need a few cards etc) and get out on my bike for a gentle spin every other lunch.

All in all it’s been a great week, but I’m looking forward to a more productive time from now on now that all my systems are sorted and I have some plans for getting away from the desk occasionally to recharge.

No comments.

  1. I work from home as well, and I’ve found that in order to combat the lack of human interaction, I go out to eat for lunch at least once a week and I make sure to plan things with friends for my evenings. And whenever I really can’t take it anymore, I have a list of people to call and BS with for a while during the workday.

    I find that if I lack human contact for too long during the work day, I’m actually less productive because my brain just sort of shuts down. So I try to make a point of having human contact (not via forums and email, but phone or face time) as much as possible. Helps tons!

    Good luck!

  2. Can you still dev from your laptop? Maybe head down to a local wifi hotspot and do some work. At least there will be people around you to distract you, just like a real office! ;)

  3. Yes, I can still dev from my laptop, all I need to do is sync up my portable home dir and I’ll be good to go, everything’s on there I need.

    Hmm, my most local wifi hotspot is the pub, what a great idea Michael!

    Well, actually, come to think of it, maybe that’s not such a great idea, I’d hate to think what my code would look like after a pint or two! :-)

    But that does remind me that I’m over due a trip to the pub with a couple of my friends, we usually take my laptop so that we can show cool stuff we’ve found on the web and generally use it as a memory aid when we try to talk techy after a few pints. Google can be a great help, especially with it’s “did you mean blahblahblah” stuff!

    And I’ll have to do what you suggested Aaron, just call people up to have a chat. What’s your Skype name again? :-)

  4. LoL, I don’t use Skype — but you get an “E” for Effort. :-D

  5. Given that you are really committed, I think you just have to get acquainted with the new setting and your reaction to it, and stuff will find its place. Just be patient, be honest with your own feelings, and courageous to try out new things. New problems require new solutions.

    Best luck!

  6. Ballsy going out on your own, wish I had the stones for it. I know that when I work from home, the most important thing for my productivity is the night before: get a short list of three things to knock off the next day, and put them on a task list or calendar with an alarm. This ensures that, even if I eat lunch and nod off, I did those three things (assuming I get ‘em done before lunch!)