Last weeks post went technical as I had recently setup a cool auto-certificate management system with Istio, SDS and cert-manager and I wanted to get it documented. We return to our standard broadcasting on this blog series about trying to start a side project.

I have to be honest, this side project journey isn’t going how I had imagined.

I know its only been a few weeks, but I had an expectation that by now, mid March, I would be well on my way with my MVP. A small demo of the infrastructure setup, robustness and observability built on at least 1 of 2 cloud providers.

But what have I got to show so far?

I have written (and re-written) 1 x aks terraform module that does a bunch of things like Azure AD integration with AKS, autoscaling, restricted IP’s to K8s API - all standard good stuff.

I wrote 1 x service principal module to take care of all things spn.

And that’s about it.

Because I’ve built this stuff before, I pretty much dived right into building it. I did a quick inventory of tasks that needed to be done, but otherwise I made the cardinal sin that I often give other people grief about.

And that was to try and build something with no design.

No architectural diagram. No over-all picture of the whole thing, to say “this is what I’m building”.

smh.

Sure I had it in words. But words change (yes, pictures can change too, but not like words do) and I think I was on my 5th or 6th iteration of task list refinements and to be quite honest, I was going around in circles going a bit loopy at what the hell I was actually trying to do.

That in itself, on reflection here in my office at 7:45pm on a Sunday evening, will mess with your resolve. Frustrate and confuse you a bit, but a few conversations (some with yourself, but more importantly other people) will bring you back to the place you need to be.

A step back, and starting from the beginning.

And I’d like to say that not having a design, or getting lost in confusing task lists was my main problem. But it was not.

The Real Problem

My problem is time.

Because I’m busy.

Busy doing what?

Now time management has not always been my strong suit (its not even a low-to-medium suit now tbh).

And I mean management in the “estimation and commitment of my time”, rather than the wasting of it. Which I guess you could say that not judging how much time you have committing to too many things ends up wasting time somewhere. But I’m getting off track here…

I run a tech club for Pasifika (Pacific Island) kids ages 8-12. It’s called “Pasifika Kids & Tech”, and you can find our Facebook group here. I run 2 x sessions a week, and take care of the resources involved with the sessions, communicating with the parents and keeping the social media of the page updated weekly after each weeks sessions.

I also try to maintain a daily gym or workout session, which includes weight-training and/or Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This can range from an hour or two at the gym, does not include travel time either side of that.

And then of course I work full-time as an I.T. Professional, trading 40+ hours of my week for compensation to live the life I’m living. Add to this time with my wife, some domestic duties, and then catching up with Family and friends and you quickly get a picture of where my side project and my blog might live inside this pretty full schedule.

I’ve tried doing the regular weekly late nights.

Tuesdays to Fridays leaving my office after midnight, even 1am regularly at one point. I mean, I got stuff done, but can’t say it was worth the sleep loss, or if the quality of the work was worth it.

Is It Worth It

So I’m busy, but I’m not trying to be this busy. I don’t think it’s a good thing. I would rather be doing an appropriate amount of work across all commitments, getting enough sleep and not feeling like I’m constantly chasing something.

But this is the reality of wanting what you want. I think its in the execution of going after these things that we have to review exactly how we’re going after them.

At what cost? And for what valuable reason?

I think about the time and energy it takes to live and pursue these things (in hindsight, like now when I’m reviewing what I’ve actually acheived and why I haven’t achieved more) and I think about serial entrepreneur, Hiten Shah’s take on ‘time’ on this episode of the IndieHackers Podcast.

He says

“I want to do things I have energy for and I worry much much less about the time I have for things.”

I think there’s a priority call in here somewhere. I have to decide what exactly I really want in my life, and then make the necessary adjustments. Because as much as I would like to “have it all”, this is not what ‘having it all’ looks like to me.

What’s that saying?

“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

Pretty sure I’m going for happiness aye ;)

So for the next week, I continue with my MVP

  • aim to complete working MVP by end of March
  • find people to get feedback on MVP.

In the meantime I’ll keep working away, and documenting the journey!

Thanks for Reading!

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