I’d say that 1/3 of the time I’m firing on all cylinders, and cranking shit out as the API Evangelist. 1/3 of the time I’m pushing forward, getting work done, but not operating at 100% capacity. then 1/3 of the time I’m not operating in any reliable or predictable manner. I’m still functional these days. Most of the time. These are the days where the wrong email, Twitter troll, or other hiccup can spin me out for a day, or more. These are the days that words don’t just come. They have to be pulled out, extracted, and published. I wish I could schedule these days, and control when they happen, and how often they occur. I can’t.
On the good days, I can produce. The words flow. It makes sense. Everything I’ve learned about APIs is stacked up, and ready to be put down. It all works as expected, actually better than expected. My mind tends to know exactly where to go, what is needed, and where I should be pushing the boundaries. Just sit me down, get out of my way, and I’ll produce content, code, and continue to paint the big picture of the API landscape without much effort.
On the normal days, I can still produce. I tend to work from the flood of ideas in my notebook that were entered on the good days. I tend to not have many new ideas on these days, I’m just chugging away fleshing things out, doing the research, and fluffing up the work I have already set into motion. There is always plenty of maintenance and administrative work to get done on these days, allowing me to keep the train moving forward along the tracks.
On the off days, there is no predicting anything. Sometimes I can maintain. Read a book to start off the day, struggle my way through writing a few blog posts. However, the words come hard. They don’t roll off the fingertips. I make more mistakes. I reverse simple concepts, and I think they are correct. My brain is moving faster than my fingers can keep up with, and rarely ever in a single direction. I just can’t guarantee reliable operation of Kin Lane on these days, despite what the expectations are of me from my partners, and the public.
People tend to benchmark what I do based upon the good days. I’m smart. I crank out great content. Which, unless you know me already, becomes pretty disconcerting when you are expecting something from me, and engaging with me on an off day. You expected one type of response, and a set of results, and you got something else. For the most part, I try to go radio silent these days, as it is a better response than the frustration, incomprehensible, fragmented Kin Lane you will learn about in this environment. Restricting access and engagement is the best defense mechanism I have at the moment–it seems to work.
If I have an in-person engagement on an off day, I can almost always turn on the API Evangelist persona and deliver as required, in minimal bursts. Afterwards I have to quickly slink away, disappear and regroup, but I can usually deliver as promised. However, if I’m digitally present, I can’t always guarantee normal output and responses, which means I tend to stay off email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and virtual calls. It just isn’t worth it. For me, or for others. I can’t guarantee the level of engagement, smart replies, and not saying something that adds no value to the conversation. I’m better off checking out, even with the consequences of cancelling a meeting, being slow to reply, and other cumulative damage.
Understanding my condition is essential to me getting the results that that I do. I know when to squeeze things out all along the roller coaster ride. It is a more successful model than others I’ve tried in the past. It just means assessing where I’m at on the spectrum, and mapping out the day, or the week, based upon this assessment. It won’t always mean the reliable operation of Kin Lane from day to day, but it will mean a reliable production schedule from week to week, and month to month–not always from day to day. I know it’s not always the easiest to deal with, but in the long term, most people will benefit from the results.