The Future12 May 2017
I launched catskull.net just over 2 years ago. At the time, I had been blogging on svtble but was frustrated at the limited control I had over layout and content. The purpose of my blogging was primarily documenting various development activities I was engaged in primarily for my own reference, but also for others that may find useful.
When catskull.net was launched I wasn’t working full-time/professionally as a developer. Because of that, I didn’t have nearly as much to document. Instead I naturally shifted towards documenting various hardware projects I built, reviews of tech, and personal narrative general blog posts.
In September 2015, I began selling products for what is now known as Catskull Electronics. At that time, I only intended on selling one product and it made logical sense to me to have the store live on my personal blog. Since then, it’s expanded to over 10 unique products, with several more in active development. What that expansion, the primary traffic to this site was for the shop.
In January 2017, I made the decision to move Catskull Electronics to it’s own entity including it’s own domain (catskullelectronics.com). There was an initial SEO hit with that because I literally have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s since recovered and overall I feel good about that decision.
With the primary reason catskull.net existed now moved to another domain, catskull.net has been living here in a state of limbo. My goal when starting catskull.net was to publish at least one blog post each month. I’ve actually done pretty well at that until I launched Catskull Electronics. From December 2016 to now, I have only published one blog post and it’s pretty low quality and should probably be removed.
A significant part of the reason for the lack of posting is simply because any free time I previously poured into blogging is now put into Catskull Electronics. I’m a full-time student, I work at a “real” job part time, and I have a growing family. Free time is limited, and quite frankly energy is even more limited. My son goes to be about 7, and I try to dedicate as much time to spending time with him and my family from when I get home from school/work at about 6 p.m. until he goes to bed. I go to bed exactly at 10:30 p.m. every night so I have about 3.5 hours a night to “free” time. That free time is spent in the following ways:
- Spending 1-on-1 time with my wife
- Relaxing (aka watching Star Trek on Netflix)
- Fulfilling Catskull Electronics orders (I hand assemble every unit to order)
- Developing new Catskull Electronics products
- Playing with new technologies
Luckily my wife enjoys Star Trek, so typically we can watch that together and sort of kill two birds with one stone (though that is in no way a good relationship building activity).
I try to ship Catskull Electronics orders as soon as possible. I quote about 10 days for products that need to be assembled to give myself as much time as possible, but generally my goal is to have the product shipped within 24 hours. Under promise, over deliver. So if I have orders, which I do about 3 times a week, most of that 3.5 hours is sucked up quickly into fulfilling orders. I usually have Star Trek playing while I’m soldering, so again that kind of poorly kills two birds with one stone.
You may notice that blogging is not one of the activities I spend that 3.5 hours on.
If you don’t have kids, you’ve probably asked someone “So what do you like ot do in your free time?” and they replied “Free time? Ha! What free time?”. I’m guilty of responding that way myself because for whatever reason I respond in ways that are common but really make no sense. Here’s my interpretation of what that means:
In a busy life (like a life with kids), it’s not so much that you have no free time whatsoever. It’s more like you have to live a refined life.
I remember talking to a guy one time who was maybe mid-40’s and had maybe 5 kids. He told me how he was really excited to watch the tennis World Cup. I was a little surprised by that, because tennis isn’t a major household sport (at least in the US). I asked if he played tennis as an attempt to determine his enthusiasm for the event. He said he didn’t, but he just loves all sports. He said that before he was married, he’d watch basically every sporting event: college, professional, rugby, cricket, anything. When he got married and started having kids, he found that he had a lot less free time. He started eliminating entire sports that he wouldn’t watch any more. First was college football. Then basketball. And so on, until he was at the present day where tennis was one of the last sports he still watched.
That was profound to me at the time. At the time, I was 20 years old, had essentially no responsibilities, and nearly 100% of my time was “me” time. I think the best way to describe my feelings when he said that would be to say I felt like he was being overly dramatic. Cut out an entire category of sports, in one fell swoop? Kind of dramatic. Why not still watch the championship game, or maybe a bowl game or two?
Now that I’m a little closer to where was at, I can look back with a bit of a different perspective.
It’s not so much that he had to rip college football from his cold dead body. It’s just that your priorities change. It just wasn’t worth it. Spending time with family was just much more rewarding and meaningful.
So how does this all tie back to catskull.net and blogging in general? Well, I think I just need to shift around some of my priorities. I think that there is significant value in reflecting on your life experiences and sharing your experiences with others. Where will blogging fit into my free time? I guess it will have to fit in wherever it can, like sand between rocks. In order to do that, I’ll focus on the following things:
- More smaller posts (2-3 paragraphs)
- Blog more about my “full time” development work
- Plan posts more effectively so they can be written in pieces rather than relying on stream of consciousness
It’s been 2 months since I drafted this post, and it’s sat gathering dust on my hard drive since. I figure I’ll just set it loose.