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How To Balance Your Job With Your Side Projects As A Developer

catalinmpit profile image Catalin Pit Originally published at daily.dev ・4 min read

Working 8 hours a day and having side projects can be very difficult. I know that from experience. In the beginning, I also struggled to find a balance between my work and my side projects.

However, I have found a way to organise my work and my time. I would like to think that I have found the perfect balance. As a result, I would like to share what I do with the hope that it can help you as well.

By the way, when I talk about projects, I do not mean programming projects exclusively. I refer to being present on social media, creating applications, creating content, and anything related to software development.

Create a schedule

Create a schedule that works for you. If you work better in the morning, try to find some extra time in the morning. If you work better at night, do it the night time. The main point is to find the time that works for you.

Besides being at your best, find the time when you can do uninterrupted work. If you get interrupted frequently, you will not be able to do a lot of work.

Thus, try to balance both. For instance, I work around 6:30 am because I can do uninterrupted work for 1 or 2 hours. Also, I can work without being interrupted because everyone is asleep. However, it differs from person to person.

Finally, you have to experiment and see what works for you. There is no universal path that works for all of us. The main point is that by establishing a schedule, you can spend time working on your side project before or after your job.

To recap:

  • Find a time when you work at your best.
  • Try to do uninterrupted work.
  • Having a schedule allows you to spend time on side projects.

Create a list of tasks

Unloading your brain is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Trying to keep everything in your head can make you stressed. Besides that, you are more likely to forget information.

Trello and Notion are two applications that I recommend for note-taking. In my case, I use Notion because it has more features and is therefore more useful. With Notion, you can use templates to create logs, task lists, and more.

With that being said, I always note everything in my journals and task lists. That means when it's time to work on my side projects, I do not have to waste time thinking about what I did, what I am doing, and what should I do.

Therefore, I recommend you to keep a journal or/and a task list. Note everything there to empty your brain. As a result, when it's time to work, you can focus only on your task at hand.

To recap:

  • Create an account on Notion or Trello.
  • Note down your ideas, thoughts, and tasks.
  • By doing so, you can actually focus on your tasks and not other things.

Schedule your content

If you are present on social media or have a blog/video-blog, you know how difficult it is. When you are at your job, you cannot spend time on social media or on creating content.

Thus, the solution is to create the content ahead of time and then schedule it. For your social media accounts, you can use tools such as HypeFury, Buffer or Tweetastic. You can schedule your content ahead for the next day or actually any time in the future.

When it comes to platforms such as YouTube or blogging platforms, you can schedule the content straight from them.

In conclusion, prepare and schedule your work/content ahead. Planning your stuff takes a burden off you.

To recap:

  • Create your content ahead.
  • Schedule your social media content with tools such as HypeFury, Buffer or Tweetastic.
  • Schedule your blog/video blog content from the respective platforms.

Delegate some of your work

You do not have to do everything by yourself. Detect the tasks which you can delegate, and find someone to do them.

An example would be finding someone to edit your YouTube videos. Editing your videos is a tedious process which can be delegated to another person. You could save a lot of time by delegating tasks.

To recap:

  • Find tasks you can delegate.
  • Delegate them to other people.

Conclusion

That's it, folks! Balancing your job with your side stuff does not have to be difficult. With a little bit of organisation and tools, you can do both successfully.

However, keep in mind that it can take a toll on you, even with all this help. Whenever you feel exhausted, take the time to recharge.

To recap:

  • Create a schedule. Find the time that works for you, and when you can do uninterrupted work.
  • Keep a journal and/or task lists. Unload your mind.
  • Schedule your work/content ahead.
  • Find work you can delegate to other people.

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Discussion

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

I appreciate the consistency, but the last two paragraphs could have done without the recap.

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Chris Wright

This response was a little uncalled for, they were simply giving you some feedback. Perhaps you should take some advice from your Twitter profile:

It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.

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DarkWiiPlayer

It's not like they hurt the article or anything, I just noticed that they don't seem necessary for those short paragraphs. Just a matter of taste, really.

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logicxd profile image
David Moe

I personally like the recaps. It helps me skim through when I'm in a rush

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Guy Moyer

I love to code but doing it for a living seems to kill off any motivation I have to work on my own project. I dated a chef once and I thought it was going to be awesome but she told me that the last thing she wanted to do was cook more after work and that was the same way I felt after work as a coder so I don't do it for a living anymore.

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DarkWiiPlayer

Ironically, as a programmer, I consider cooking one of the best activities to mix things up between coding and other computer hobbies. I should probably write a post about that some day.

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Igor Escobar

One thing that I think it's important to add.

99% of people just think that they can't. They don't have time.

I was that person. I said the same sentences in the past. All you need is to start. It doesn't matter if you dedicated 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour! JUST.DO.SOMETHING.

Building the "habit" is much more important than how much time you worked on it. If you do it consistently in one year can get A LOT done.

This is how I built ImageBoss and I couldn't be prouder of how much I got done in the past years by just start doing it something rather than NOTHING.

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Borja Herrero

How do you balance your job, side projects and having a life?
I mean, do you guys have other hobbies? I know that my time management skills aren't the best but I struggle just managing to work 8 hours per day and keeping an active lifestyle going to the gym, surfing or playing a tennis match every day.

How do you do that? I guess you also have families, friends, partners, kids. I just can't seem to find the time for side projects.

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Shenril

Thanks for the post !
As a dad , I agree that the morning is the most quiet moment of the day :D
And still leaves you the night to spend quality time with the family.

Would you mind sharing the structure of your Notion ? doing a page for each project and some tasks with deadlines ?

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Brayden W ⚡️

Great advice!

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Phuong Huynh

easy to understand & really helpful, thanks!