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The Itch

I write a lot. I code a lot. This leads to people asking me questions like "how do you have the energy to do that?" or "why do you keep doing that day in and day out?". I was reading this post that I found linked in the Forbidden Orange Site's comments and it really resonated with me.

At the core, I have this deep burning sensation to try things out to see what they are like. It's like this itch deep in me that I can only scratch with writing, coding or sometimes even just answering people's questions in chatrooms. This itch is a catalyst to my productivity. It powers my daily work and makes me able to do what I do in order to make things better for everyone.

However, sometimes the itch isn't there. Sometimes it makes me want to focus on something else. Trying to do something else without the itch empowering me can feel like swimming upstream with heavy chains wrapped around me. My greatest boon is simultaneously my greatest vice.

I don't really know how to handle the days where it's not working. I try to save up my sick and vacation days so that I can avoid burning myself out on the bad days. Things like this are why I am a huge fan of unlimited vacation policies. Unlimited vacation does mean that I get paid out less money when I leave a job; however it means that I have the freedom to have bad days and let the good days tank me through the bad days so that I come out above average.

Trying to explain this to people can feel stressful. Especially to a manager. I've had some bad experiences with that in the past. Phrase this wrong, and some people will hear "I don't want to do this work ever" instead of "I can't do this work today". This especially sucks when deadlines roll in and that vital itch goes away, leaving me at half capacity at the worst possible time.

This itch leads me to set increasing standards on myself too. It's had some negative sides in that it makes me feel like I need to make everything better than the last thing. Each post better than the previous ones. Each project implementation better than the last. Onwards and onwards into a spiral that sets the bar so high I stress myself out trying to approach it.

I haven't kept to my informal goal to have at least one post per week on this blog because of that absurdly high standard I set for myself. I'm going to try and change this. I'm going to start participating in 100 days to offload. Expect some shorter and more focused posts for the immediate future. I am going to be working on the Rust series, however each part of it will be in isolation from here on out instead of the longer multifaceted posts.

This is day 1 of my 100 days to offload.

Also be sure to check out my post on Palisade, a version bumping tool for GitHub repositories.


This article was posted on M10 11 2020. Facts and circumstances may have changed since publication. Please contact me before jumping to conclusions if something seems wrong or unclear.

Tags: 100DaysToOffload

The art for Mara was drawn by Selicre.