DEV Community

Cover image for How to Increase Productivity on Your Side Project
Ilona Codes for Foundsiders

Posted on • Originally published at

How to Increase Productivity on Your Side Project

Productivity is not just about how much time you spend on projects. It's about being efficient when you are working.

Besides, it's also crucial to find ways to increase your energy levels, so you have the energy to tackle everything you want to work on. That's why:

1. If you are serious about your side project — prioritize it on a daily basis by setting aside designated time for it every day or throughout the week.

2. Do preparation before work! When you sit at your desk to start working on your side project, you should already know exactly what you are going to do.

❗️1 hour of preparation could save you 10 hours of rework.

— Write your to-do list early in the morning or before going to bed. Don't wait to do that when you should be working on it.

— Organize the information that you need when working on your side project so you can easily access it.

— Use bucket lists. If you have one idea, don't fall into the trap that you will remember it later.

— Organize your environment to help you produce your best work. Turn off your phone when you enter this environment.

3. Cut down what you can survive without

That's probably the hardest part. If you want to focus on your side project, you will have to accept the idea that some things will have to change.

It's time to focus. Less is more. And if you are serious about your side project, it should be at the top of your list.

4. Self-discipline is very important when working on any task.

The trick is to start working almost immediately once you have your plan and timeline in place. It builds your confidence and motivates you to continue to push towards the finish line.

5. Always remember what drives you

Even if you put into practice all that I have mentioned above, there will still be days that you will feel tired and without the energy to work on your project.

The only thing that can help you in these days is your "why".

— Why are you working on this side project?
— What drives you to make it happen?

6. Do not sacrifice your night of sleep

If you need 7-8 hours of sleep to feel rested, then don't sleep less or more than that.

And avoid bright lights late at night. Its exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, which is a hormone your body produces to make you feel sleepy.

Watching TV, checking your emails, playing games on your mobile, and all those things you love doing late at night are ruining your sleep. Avoid them at all costs too.

💬 Conclusion

Just remember that sometimes we all fail and cannot keep up with plans, deadlines, etc. that we set. That doesn't mean that we fail; it only means that we are humans. We can always get back on course and push ahead, tell ourselves that we can do anything that we make up our minds to.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels

Top comments (4)

fnaquira profile image
Favio Náquira

Do preparation before work, best advice ever.
Greetings from Perú, love your articles! :)

zoebourque profile image
zoebourque • Edited

Self-discipline is very important when working on any task - I like this point. Increasing productivity is not only write to-do list, but also push ourselves to complete it.

warnero profile image
Warner Onstine

Great advice! I'd add on a few more:

  • Have a specific goal in mind of why you want to build this thing (slightly different than just Why, but very close)
  • Once you have your goal, then I would time box it to 4 - 6 weeks. What is it that you think you can deliver in that time frame?
  • Once you've got your end goal and you have your specifics for a deliverable then you need to work on that project every single day. Not just on the weekends, not just when you think you have time, carve out at least 30 minutes a day and work on your project.
  • Document as you go. What are you learning? What is stumping you? Make sure you keep this up to date so that when you come back to your project the next day it is fresh in your mind and is easy to pick up again.
  • Run into a problem? Ask for help. Find the right forum or group and ask detailed questions about the issue you're facing. Most communities are very open and willing to help those who are learning.

Some of this I have distilled into a flowchart to help people pick a side project. Other sections are actually part of a course I teach called 30 Minute Project.

harper0478 profile image

I had already had a few of these nuggets in motion. Thank you for the article and extra push!