The Drop In The Ocean

A few days ago I met a friend here in Lisbon for coffee. We know each other for a long time, we met in a business context. He is still actively playing in the field, always trying new stuff, putting together new startups, implementing new ideas. Me, not so much. It’s been quite silent on this front during the last year and a half. The most consistent thing I’ve been doing (except for my daily job) was writing every day on this blog, from the beginning of 2021.

While we talked, he briefly mentioned one of my apps, ZenTasktic, and how he still remembers the productivity framework behind it, a thing that I put together more than 10 years ago. The app is still available in the AppStore, still getting a decent amount of traffic, I routinely maintain it, but I didn’t add any new feature to it for more than 6 months.

After we parted ways, I surprised myself thinking about reviving the app. Not in a compulsive way, though. It was more like “you know, I could allocate around an hour a day for the app, 5 days a week. Like a side hustle, or something”.

And here I am, doing it.

For the last 3-4 days I’ve been re-familiarizing myself with the codebase, dabbled a bit in marketing, to see what I do, something which requires the least amount of effort, but has the potential to generate the biggest impact. I didn’t spend more than 1-2 hours on it every day, and I don’t intend to increase the time. On the contrary, once I’m up to speed, and I can get to a routine where I could have a release every month, I intend to not get over one hour per day. Looking at the features backlog that I still have, there’s enough runway for at least a year of development at this pace.

As a matter a fact, I just finished a small ad campaign that I intend to run over the next 30 days, just before writing this article.

And here, finally, we get to connect what I wrote so far with the title. Because I know, there’s not too much semantic overlapping between a drop in the ocean and a productivity app.

Well, it so happens that the trigger for reviving my work on the app was indeed the discussion with my friend. But I’ve been triggered many times before to start things, and didn’t follow through.

What was different this time was the context of the discussion. Namely the fact that I’m in the middle of a 365 days writing challenge.

During this challenge something changed. Not necessarily in the traffic of the blog, or in the revenue generated (there isn’t any, just to be clear). Something changed in the way I position myself to long term projects. This challenge taught me (at least so far) to be committed to a long term goal in a more gentle way. Before, a 30 days challenge was putting me in a state of tension and total focus. I was so into it that I didn’t even conceive to abandon. But I can’t maintain this type of extreme focus for long periods of time, more than a few months in a row, for example. I know, because I tried before, and I burned out.

But I can maintain a gentler state, in which, instead of trying to fill a river by carrying buckets of water, I’m ok with just a drop.

As long as I gently carry that drop every day, I know I can eventually fill an entire ocean.

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