How to work on side projects when you are mentally fatigued?

developarvin profile image Arthur Vincent Simon ・1 min read

I have been thinking of starting side projects since I see some benefits of doing it.

  • Helps keep off the drudgery and boredom at work. Not that my work is boring, but doing the same things for a period will eventually wear you down.
  • Personal development and fulfillment. You have the freedom to choose what to work on. Things that are fun and you care about.
  • Personal Branding. Doing side projects shows that you can manage projects and your time enough to be able to deliver. It also signals that you do the walk, not just talk.

However, the biggest problem that I encounter is fatigue. I love coding and I try to give me 100% at work. This leads me to being mentally drained after work. I usually don't have the mental energy to tackle somme hard coding problems after that.

Another problem is that there are some equally important things competing for my time. Whether it is socializing or exercise, it gets pretty hard trying to fit in time to do side projects.

So how do you guys do it? How do you get the energy and time to do side projects when you are mentally fatigued.

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developarvin profile

Arthur Vincent Simon


A developer who did not so much intentionally fall as saunter vaguely downwards to this field.


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I don't! It's not worth it. I work on side projects when I'm highly motivated and have the energy. Otherwise, I'd rather rest and do things that recharge my batteries. I try to avoid burning out as much as possible.


This makes sense. I do prefer having milestones so I wonder how I could balance that without burning out in the process.


Milestones and goals are a good idea, as is trying to keep a routine or habit. I don't have a full time job, I do freelance work, and recently I changed my week to keep Wednesdays free for streaming on Twitch where I work on my blog and now a Svelte course I'm developing. But it's a lot harder if your full time job is draining all your energy.


One possibility is to answer questions on stackexchange (or other sites) - these are usually smaller and more manageable problems, and no matter your level of experience there is always someone who is starting out who can benefit from your skill.

They give you a break from your day to day work and let you flex your programming muscles without getting tired out.


That's true. Alternatively, I can also develop my writing and technical skills by blogging about it here in dev.to :)


Depending on where you are in your life, the best thing for your self-care might be to just forget side projects completely. If trying to fit them into your schedule is draining the little energy you have left, and failing to fit them in leaves you with anxiety that you're 'falling behind' and should be doing more, then accepting that it's just not something you have time for right now can be a burden off your shoulders.

I have three kids under five years, and it's been several years since I seriously did any coding outside of work. I still have plans to do stuff in future, but trying to force it at this point out of some imagined obligation just isn't compatible with reality.


I really did seriously side projects ever since it seemed that I was doing the same thing in my current job. I was also thinking of switching companies and I heard that side projects are look upon favorably by employers.

Maybe there are better ways to go about it though.