Mo Bitar

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Notes to self. Working on Standard Notes, a simple and private notes app.

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Clarity

I hadn’t been very productive from Friday until Monday. Which sounds like it’s a weekend related thing but I assure you it's not. My weekend's borders are dashed, so you can slip in and out any time. But, Monday was strange. I was excited to get out of the house and head to the office, and avoid all the wondrous merry distractions at home. But, wasting time I still managed to do. Apparently, you can’t run from yourself.

I was so heavily reluctant to produce even a single line of code, that it was laughable. But it wasn’t unfounded. I was working on a problem in the beginning of last week, and couldn’t find an agreeable solution to it. Every solution I thought of was ugly and long-winded. I pushed it to the back of my mind, and began working on other problems. But I could not forget about my one true problem. The quality of my work began to deteriorate. My throughput began decreasing slowly, then all at once. I leaned into it, and called this weekend a “break” (which is what you’re supposed to do, but when there is little separation between life and work, the weekend’s as good a day as any to work). Sunday night, and I thought, for sure tomorrow I’m going to kill it. Monday came and I did impressively little. Zero, probably. Like I said, it was impressive.

Monday night, after moping and loathing, the solution came to me. Yes, that’ll work. That’ll work wonderfully! It was hiding in plain sight all along. (The problem regards how to safely create native super-privileged extensions for Standard Notes that come pre-bundled. Typically extensions are all treated as third-party, and require explicit permissions from users before being able to access any data. What I wanted to do was build any future “native” features also as extensions, to avoid modifying the core code. So the new Extensions manager is actually an extension itself, and comes pre-bundled.) The tension let loose, the knots untied, and finally, everything came together.

Tuesday (yesterday) was a great day of work. It was automatic. No need to thank me or my willpower—when the problem is clear, and the solution is clear, we do work.

I still largely believe that lack of productivity always comes from lack of clarity. I’ve never had perfect clarity and found myself unable to work. It’s always when I’m sort of uncertain, or blocked, that my producing functions come to a halt altogether. I knew this was the case, but wasn’t sure how long it would be until I found a solution. 4 days, 16 hours, and 2 minutes.


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