It’s taken me over 50 years to untangle the difference between “complex” and “hard”. And now that I have I feel I’ve made a big step towards treating myself with kindness AND getting things done.

In my head, for ever, has been the belief that “if it’s complex then it’s difficult, if it’s not, it’s not”. Simple things, easy things, straightforward things couldn’t possibly be hard, they just couldn’t be.

easy != hard

But I’ve been wrong, for ever. Those tricky coding problems, the complex analytics, the highest difficulty killer sudoku, that’s where my brain is happiest. Those tasks are not hard, they’re where I feel most at home. Conversely, I shy away from simple projects, find it difficult to begin them and, once started, am easily distracted. They are HARD.

Believing that a job is “simple” and then struggling with it is a sure-fire route to self-loathing. Constantly and consistently failing to do a simple task can destroy my self-confidence and my productivity, amplifies the failure-voice in my head, and can lead to me spiralling.

The seemingly ubiquitous advice when dealing with procrastination is to “start with something small/simple”. In hindsight, this has never worked for me. I move forward by tackling the next big complex thing – and the small simple tasks struggle to get completed.

Not understanding that those simple jobs are where I’m most likely to fail has meant I’ve never approached them with the right mindset.

I have never realised this until now.

So, bringing it back on topic, the streaming solution that I’ve spent the last year building is 98% finished. All the core components are in place, the algorithm works, the big obstacles have been overcome, the server is built, it’s ready for the world. The last step is to process the uploaded tracks, checking each one to make sure the cue-points are in the right place. It takes a couple of minutes to finalise each song, and, in my head, I was supposed to have completed this by the end of July.

It’s still not done.

I’m not even half-way through.

It doesn’t help that I feel I’ve already been through this process with the beta-version of the station.

It doesn’t help that the beta-version is still working, so the urge to publish something – anything – is somehow diminished.

It doesn’t help that I’ve been going through divorce proceedings in the middle of a global pandemic, with all the accompanying mental health challenges that has brought.

And it certainly hasn’t helped that I’ve castigated myself for not managing to complete “the simplest part” of the entire project.

Perhaps now I can approach it in the right light, with the understanding that – for me – this is the trickiest stage in the whole process.

Once it’s finished, I’ll never have to bulk process tracks like this again; I can manage the library in small, easy to manage blocks, with the excitement that comes with adding something new and interesting into the mix.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.