Combining indie maker ambitions with a full-time job and a family is hard. Time is scarce. It’s not so much that I’m not getting things done, but I struggle with having all of these short working sessions add up to something meaningful and contributing to a common goal.

So in 2022, I’m trying something new: the Fortnighter.

A fortnighter represents two weeks of work with a specific goal, and something shipped in the end.

Since I’ll get at most a dozen hours each week, two weeks represent a decent amount of time to get something done - be it a feature, a blog post or whatever else. A week is too little time with my schedule, and with a month or more I usually lose myself in complexity. Every once in a while something will obviously take more than two weeks, but I’d still try to get a first version shipped and ready for iteration. A Fortnighter forces me to have a time constrained scope, instead of letting scope dictate time. The focus is on shipping early and often.

Shipping early and often also maintains momentum. Two weeks from start to shipped relates work and reward. Action and reaction. Shipping something and getting feedback. Plenty of projects die a slow and sad death; not because they didn’t work, but because whoever was behind them just lost the energy to keep working on them.

For every Fortnighter I’ll decide what to work on beforehand, based on predefined themes and goals for my projects, instead of just doing working on whatever I find the most fun in the moment. The goal is to make educated decisions on what the highest impact tasks are. Writing long-winding and multi-month plans makes little sense in my case.

I’ll take the first fortnighter of 2022 to map out the major themes (*tips hat to Cortex’s theme system*) and overarching areas for this year (gotta do marketing). For every Fortnighter I’ll review how I did in the previous two weeks, and pick a topic for the next two based on how I am fairing against my overall goals.

The last years I’ve had very much a feature-driven developer mindset of building cool stuff whenever I felt like it. It got me quite far, but as a result some things (like sales or marketing) rarely happen, because they are never the main focus. Borrowing a page from @yoongfook’s alternating product- and marketing weeks, committing a fortnighter to a specific topic will actually force me to do it, instead of “when I get to it” - or so I hope.

I am really looking forward to giving this a thorough try. Consistent shipping, managing scope with timeboxing and getting me to do some marketing.

I have no idea whether it’ll work, but I’ll obviously be sharing my experience. For now I’m just tracking this in a simple Google sheet - let me know if you’re interested.