Justin Tadlock

Thoughts on releasing 7 plugin updates in 7 days

When getting ready to push a plugin update to the world last Monday, little did I know what the week had in store for me. I had no plans of publishing seven updates over the course of a week. I thought I’d get two or three updates done before I burned myself out wading through old code.

By Wednesday, I was already on a roll. I’d gotten three updates done. Once I made it that far, I figured I might as well keep going.

I spent a not insignificant chunk of time this morning debating whether to continue the streak.

Why not go for 14 days? Or 30?

I have enough plugins to make this a month-long affair. At a certain point, I’d have to stop. One week was a good stopping point. Not to mention, I have some client work lined up that will interfere with me continuing on.

The perfect is the enemy of the good

I know it’s a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason — it’s because they are profoundly true.

I tend to be known in some circles as a perfectionist. At times, that’s not a bad habit to have. At other times, it means I spend too much time pursuing the impossible that would be better spent elsewhere.

When putting together seven plugin updates in a week, you don’t have time to be a perfectionist. You just have to be good.

It’s only code. If I screwed something up, I can fix it in the next update. There’s a such thing as a patch release for a reason.

I’m in my 14th year of building things on the Web. I’ll admit that I’m a bit nervous about every single release I’ve ever sent out to users. This includes first, major, minor, and patch releases. No one wants to be that developer who just pushed a fatal error on 1,000s of sites.

At a certain point, you simply have to pull the trigger on a release and stop second-guessing yourself.

Weekends are for play

I work every weekend. Mostly, this is answering emails and taking care of odds-and-ends. I try to leave the serious work for during the week.

For the most part, I try to keep my weekends to fun stuff or chores around the house and garden. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve gotten a little better at this. Weekends should be for relaxing and giving the brain some time to reboot.

There’s rarely anything so important that can’t wait until Monday.

Stick to a daily schedule

Last year, I decided to stick to a daily schedule for work. I keep an 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. work schedule with a flexible hour before and after work just in case I need it. Of course, I have a lunch break built in there too. At the end of the day, it’s good to unwind and do some non-work things that you enjoy.

It was challenging getting a plugin update out by the end of the workday. I went over a couple of days but not by too much. If I didn’t finish by the end of the workday, I told myself to simply stop my streak.

There’s rarely anything so important that can’t wait until tomorrow.

Find balance and avoid burnout

One of the reasons I do my best to stick to a schedule is because I’m an all-in type of person. When I’m doing something, I put all my time and energy into that one thing. The bad thing about that is that it becomes easy to get burnt out.

Ask me about my last endeavor to learn Spanish. I spent two weeks learning everything I could, devouring everything about the language. By then, I was tired of it and haven’t been consistent in my lessons since.

So, the guy who just spent a solid week updating seven WordPress plugins is going to tell me to avoid burnout?

The old me would’ve tried for the 30 days until about the third week before waking up in a haze, surrounded by empty Hot Pocket wrappers and Dr Pepper cans. Seven days was me putting the breaks on things.

Check out the plugin releases

Thanks for taking the time to read the post if you’ve gotten this far. Feel free to share your thoughts.

If you want to see what plugins I released last week, here are the announcement posts: