Side projects may be daunting to plan, but fun to code. With a proper planning system, you too, can get rid of the time wasted on confusing the features you need for a side project.
This may be the easiest or the hardest step overall, but it is pretty crucial. Don't be so hard on yourself, ESPECIALLY, if you are a beginner in doing side projects. There are thousands of stuff you can find online, you can tweak them up a little bit or not. Side projects come with a creative freedom, use it. But make sure that if you are doing a project that has a tutorial or code already written for, do the project yourself first and add features that are different later on. Once you find your idea, write a short description of what it is and move on to number 2.
This is pretty straightforward, and hopefully, you do not need to spend too much time on this. A quick google search and a little bit of research will tell you what technology, programming language or/and frameworks you should use for your project. Define these and don't worry about having to learn all of this for now. Once you found which technology you will use, don't touch that and move to point 3.
I will introduce you to a pretty important concept in product making and business - Minimum Viable Product. This is the minimum features that your app/product needs to do its main job. If it is let's say, Food Recipe app, you need the feature of adding foods to your list. Based on this, make a list of all the features that your app absolutely needs. Do not add fancy stuff now.
Pretty self explanatory, but based on your level of coding experience, can vary in difficulty. This is you, going to google and searching up how you can make the features that you listed before come to life. Following the example above, you would research how you would implement the feature of adding foods to a list based on the technology of your project. You do this for every feature and make notes of it. This doesn't need to be detailed, and you should not write the code for it now.
Now that you have everything planned out and know how and what you will make, you have to plan the timing of it. This is just you dividing up the tasks to weeks. Ex, week 1 and 2 implement the features and week 3 work on deploying it.
Once the first draft of your side project is ready, continue to add more features. Remember that you only implemented features for MVP. Great products do not stop there. Add bonus features, share your side project, get feedback and improve it more.
Good luck y'all!