How do you organise personal projects?

teej profile image TJ Fogarty ・1 min read

I usually start coding straight away, but I'm starting to get a bit more organised because I'm finding I lose interest shortly thereafter.

How do you organise your personal projects? Do you treat them like a client project with deadlines, and write documents on requirements? What helps you through a personal project beyond the desire/motivation to create something?


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I do not treat them like a client project, because in a way I hate deadlines. So I just love the fact that anytime I have the time and I am in the mood, I can do some progress... :)
What helps me to finish something is to make a working something quickly and publish it! And if others see, try out, comment on your project and they like it and use it, you will again have the motivation to go on and fix bugs, add new features, etc. :)


I'd love to have that outlook! Thanks for sharing. I like that idea of getting it out there in an earlier state. I could spend way too long fiddling with details that will go unnoticed.


I used to start coding right away but I've changed my approach to be more organized. The one I am working now was actually first where I drew up an UI and planned the overall architecture on a notebook and did a Trello board before starting to write code. This was mostly because I knew it is going to be a big project and I wanted it to be right (at least as right as possible) from the get-go.

When I'm done (if ever) with this project I'll use the same approach for my next project (except the Trello board - I've stopped using it for this one already) as well unless it's a small one. Having a notebook where you can write and draw ideas anytime has proven to be really useful so far and can't recommended it enough.


Nice one, Arto. Seems like using a notepad/journal is a good way to go.


I doubted it a lot before trying it out myself. I mean why bother with pen and paper when we have these fancy laptops and tablets laying around? But it makes taking notes and drawing a lot easier and accessible, at least it does for me. No need to open anything or type in passwords. Just pick up a pen and your notebook and you are good to go. :)

I totally agree. I've switched from a todo app on my phone/laptop to using a notepad, and it's much more accessible. Plus I don't need to charge it ;p


I write all my project ideas in a notebook (with the date). Physical notebook is usefull to complete and add idea at any time (before sleep for exemple). Write and draw (with a pen) help me to structure my project and make it less virtual. With a nice interface I get more chance to develop it.

If I already find my idea, I say to myself "I needed this project XX month ago, I still need it now, let's go". It helps me to start and find motivation. (I often improve the original idea).

To keep the project alive I start with the most complicated part and the less funny to finish with view/style (CSS, I can spend hours playing with CSS). Starting with the complicated help me to quickly define if this project is possible.

I don't use Kanban (Trello or Taiga) but it's always small projects, during a weekend. I just do ToDo lists. So I can not really help you on this point.

(And when I want to learn something new, framework or language, I can find a lot of project idea in this notebook. Deadtree notebook are awesome :))


Thanks for sharing! I'm using a notebook as well, and it's proved very useful.


Hi. In NO way do I treat personal projects like work.

I discovered that motivation came and go. Also, between coding a personal project and watching a movie / read a comic, the competition is hard. So I try to keep my personal projects as fun and as low friction as possible.

So I strive on simplicity. My games are text / command line first.

Requirements are listed in a Google spreadsheet.

I'm using a monorepo so I can very easily reuse my own code without having to push to npm.

I don't write commit messages.

I look for "quick setup" tools, like the parcel bundler.

I forbid myself from using complicated/advanced libs unless it's really fun.

I allow myself to side-track and code fun stuff even when not the highest priority for a MVP.