Accomplishment is a drug. Each time you successfully achieve something you get a little rush. Dopamine or seratonin or some kind of neurotransmitter is released and you’re doing all right. But what about when you don’t have time to finish something? What if you can’t actually finish it because you’re not able? What if the end goal is just not within reach at this very moment? You need a hit of that accomplishment energy, so you gotta do something.

Meta-accomplishments, man.

To use solo web development as an example, feel free to try the following things:

  • Make flowchart diagrams and wireframes
  • Create documentation
  • Install and update project management software
  • Read a tech article related to your project
  • Help a co-worker or friend with something
  • Solve a puzzling mind teaser
  • Play a quick session of a game

The point of these is that they’re often simpler and quicker to accomplish than your actual main work, and yet they still help you finish or augment that in an indirect way. In the end, you won’t be directly furthering your main work, but you’ll have gotten something done and you’ll feel good. The drug of accomplishment will flood your brain, making you feel like you progressed towards success.