One of the goals I had when I joined WooThemes nine months ago was to be in the top 10 contributors for WooCommerce. I love contributing to open source projects and I can't think of anything better to work on than our companies flagship product and the most popular e-commerce solution. I'm happy to share that after 268 days I finally made it in the top 10!
Persistence > Excitement
I've learned that the people who get big things done aren't the people who get excited every time something new comes out. There's a lot of value in knowing what's coming out and keeping your ear to the ground but you can't possibly look into every possibly new technology. You need to occasionally keep your head down and keep working on your existing project.
Don't get me wrong – I love being excited by new technologies and learning new things. That's why whenever I get a free weekend I knock out a Ninja Forms or WooCommerce extension – but that's in addition to my full time job. And that's providing support for WooCommerce customers.
If you look at the graph of my contributions you'll see that I don't contribute that much. That's why we have Mike Jolley, Coen Jacobs, & James Koster – they do the bulk of the development. But what I do, I do consistently. I've sent 44 pull requests over the last 9 months and it's been a pretty consistent 3-5 PR's a month.
Don't Kill Yourself
In addition to the 44 pull requests I've sent I created another 54 issues. There's plenty of bugs that are too big for me to dig into. It's not that I don't want to dig into it but I might have tickets, or docs, or meetings, or something else to handle. Either way if I have time I like to dig in – and if I don't then I'll leave a clear issue for the primary developers to handle.
Persistence is the Key
All of this really comes down to persistence. You don't need to do a lot. You can in fact do just a little – but do a little every day, every week, or every month and you'll reach your goal.