One of the biggest realisations I’ve come to as part of my PhD, is how little people care about how I spend my time, they only care about what I am able to deliver. Yet in order to deliver, you need to finish. I was recently reading an article on this topic, and I think the advice can be best summed up as:
If you’re always starting interesting projects and not finishing, then no matter how hard you work, you’re just busy, not productive.
I find this message extremely compelling, because I frequently find myself starting new programming projects in my spare time. In a lot of ways they are not a waste – I definitely learn a lot from these projects and gain a new skill. Yet at the same time, because I move on to something else that interests me before I can finish my current side-projects, when I tell people about these projects, all I can say is: