How do you stay focussed on shipping?

Right now I am working on a big (JavaScript) project with a really strict deadline. But still I find myself (and I have a tendency to do so) focussed on all sorts of 'meta' stuff. Refactoring, naming things, restructuring etc. For instance last week I suddenly thought to myself "Maybe I need typing in this project" and started looking at Flow/Typescript and kind of lost myself in it. Now it's easy to say of course just focus on only shipping features, but there are some 'meta stuff' that is important (at least for this project) like unit & integration testing because it handles a lot of sensitive data.

Since this is a community of shippers, I'm curious if you have any tips. How do you balance between shipping features, getting things done before a deadline and maintaining your project in a good state?

Great question. I don't feel like I've found the right balance yet. I tend to focus too much on shipping new features or products, rather than refining existing things or all the other tasks you need to do in a business. (Marketing, sales, taxes, etc.)

When I'm procrastinating on something that's usually because I haven't decided yet whether I will do it, what the end result should look like, or what the next first step is.

So I ask myself the following questions:

  1. Is this something I really need to do? (For example: quarterly taxes, yes I really need to do. Even though it's boring work, it will get even worse if I don't do them right now.)

  2. What does the end result look like? (I've entered all the necessary information into the tax website. It will be removed from my todo list. I can get back to the real work.)

  3. What's the first step? (Collect all expense invoices)

Once I know that yes I need to do this. I know what I'm working towards. And I know the first step. That usually helps me get things going.

I use a set of recurrent tasks, that helps me to (a) keep doing what needs to be done in my freelance business and (b) allocates time to online projects (aka shipping)