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Do you remember the last time you did something just because it was fun?
Something that you have been thinking about over and over again, but just never had the time?
Life has a funny way of getting itself busy just at the right time, and after a while, it was never the right time.
Believe it or not, we live now in the idea's generation. A lot of ideas, as brilliant as they are, never had their chance of blossoming into something that might actually be something. As we grow older, we censor these awesome ideas because of that little voice in our head that tells us it’s not possible.
But that’s why side projects are so brilliant. Side projects have no risk of downsides. They are nurturing your own passions and allowing you to learn new things. It’s your chance to experiment and have fun.
The value of something that is yours, no matter how small, will allow you to find out more about yourself and perhaps discover more of the bigger picture.
But don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, side projects might not turn into anything. But hey, it’s a side project, so what’s the downside anyway?
Its rewards are worth more than success on paper. You have grown through the experience and there are other side projects waiting.
But often it’s the fear of doing, the fear of a blank canvas that scares us to shy away from taking action.
But I don’t have time for side projects? What do I do?
This is one of the most common issues I have heard from others.
Often, many of us are busy for busy’s sakes. With the plethora of technology and different devices demanding every last second of our shrinking attention span, it’s hard not to be busy.
But it’s not being busy that is stopping you.
Below are the three biggest reasons behind the death of side projects in their infancy:
1. Substitution of Opportunity
It’s a simple human paradox that for every opportunity you choose to create and pursue, you’ll have to give up something in return.
In our minds, we often hold ourselves back from pursuing an idea due to analysis by paralysis. The inefficiency of time wasted will result from hesitation on idea A or idea B, or actually idea C just came into the picture, should I work on that instead?
2. Lack of a Realistic Deadline
You will always think you can do projects quicker than you can actually do them in real life.
That’s because we always underestimate the time we take and instead cram our days/evenings with unrealistic targets.
When we can’t fulfill our unrealistic target, we give up because it is taking too long.
So, we don’t set deadlines on side projects. Because frankly, it’s hard enough to have deadlines in our business or career. And life is messy enough.
Without deadlines, our procrastination side will barge in and kill off those side project ideas one-by-one. “Some day” will always be another opportunity to start it again.
The Asymptotic Productivity Curve
With deadlines, our productivity will often surge exponentially as the date looms ahead. If you have ever written a college thesis paper the night before the deadline like me, you’ll know what I mean.
3. Ultimate Pursuit of Perfection
Perfection is the killer of your production of creativity.
The fear of putting something sub par into the world kills our motivation to keep creating.
The whole world has a lot of people, and we can’t simply please everyone. But sometimes we really want to, and if it is not perfect and loved by all, we don’t want to do it.
If you are trying to be perfect, you’ll never finish it. It will never be good enough.
Put it out there, perfect or not. Because there will always be someone who will like it and someone who won’t.
What if there is a way to create time for your projects and still have a balanced lifestyle? Think through your day and learn to say no to activities that may not be beneficial to you. As long you have carved out some treasured moments with family, friends, and your formal work life, then that’s okay.
Life is a smorgasbord of experiences, and you are the curator. Turn some of your own crazy ideas into something people will love and need. And along the way, pick up a skill or two.
Complacency and comfort zones are boring. So if you are not happy with the status quo, side projects are the best place to start. Instead of complaining, why not create something instead? Go ahead and get started today.
Do you have a side project you are looking to start? How do you find the time to work on it?