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Side-projects and time management

Philip Perry
I write here about the joys and struggles of a software developer learning new things.
・2 min read

As I wrote in last weeks entry, I recently started working on a new side-project.

A lot of people apparently never complete their side-project. I think part of the reason is that they start off enthusiastically, but then lose interest. To complete a side-project one doesn't necessarily need to spend a lot of time on it, but one has to be consistent. That means, every week one spends some time working on it. It doesn't matter so much if it's every day or just on the weekend and for how long (although it's better to set aside a bigger chunk of time, e.g. an hour). What's important is that one tries to spend the same amount of time regularly. E.g. if I spend a lot of time during the Christmas break on it, but then leave it until I find a big chunk of time again, I'm unlikely to pick it up again, as I won't remember where I left off. Even if I regularly spend a little time on it, it's important that I note down where I left off so that I can immediately pick it up again. In fact, I find it helpful to leave it in a state that is a bit broken so that I can start off with fixing something.

Equally important to regularly setting aside a time for working on a project is to also set a maximum time I plan to work on it. This is because it's easy to get sucked into one's side-project and then not have time for other things (family, exercise, reading, etc.). This is even more important if one already spends the whole day sitting in front of the computer due to one's job.

How much time do you spend on your side-project and how regularly do you work on it?

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