It’s been a year since I am working on one of my product idea and finally was able to open a waitlist for that. The idea isn’t that complicated which took me to reach this point, but it was the struggle of managing a full-time job, daily routine and this side project. This one year was full of roller coasters where many times I felt like giving up on this side project.
There are some tips which I wish if I had known before a year, it would be a different journey. Also, I could have saved so much of time. But nevertheless, these things might be helpful for you and can save your efforts to deliver efficiently.
So, let’ dive in -
This is the MOST important part of working on a side project. Since the pandemic, all our work has shifted to home and it has a big disadvantage of not having time boundaries. I realised this after 5-6 months of working from home and then started setting the office hours strictly.
If I start from 10 in the morning, I make sure I should not do office work after 7 in evening. With that, I can always spare at least an hour daily for side projects. Obviously your office time and schedule will be different, but the point is, have boundaries clearly defined for both of them! It will keep you pretty much sorted, trust me on that 😁
It is always said, 1% progress is still a progress. Follow that rule constantly. I always feel that we are able to accomplish our office tasks because of the targets we get, it may be the piled up JIRA tickets, daily sync-ups or status reports. But because we keep targets and keep track of them, it becomes easier to do that much work. Just apply the same strategy for your side project. Considering how busy or free your week is, you can set a task list or a small (achievable) target for your side project. Chasing that target will be fun and you will end up winding up something every week.
This is for everyone, working on anything!! Feedback loop will end up in nothing. Always remember, you will have enough time to improve it later than making it perfect now! I used to feel proud of being obsessive about perfections and now I realise how dumb I was 🙈. I don’t want to offend any perfectionist out there, but that is something which has never worked for me.
Let me explain! Suppose you are working on a simple web page, where you have spent a week on just making a perfect navbar, super fun animated, responsive and very good looking navbar! But after a week, there is a high possibility that you will lose interest in finishing the rest of the webpage. This will never give you anything in your kitty to feel proud about. But if you finish the average looking webpage first and then work on improving it, you will always have something to show! Perfection is subjective! Every working product is perfect in its concerns, never forget that!
Sometimes it's a busy week, sometimes some family responsibilities or sometimes you just don’t feel like doing anything and this is all okay! Take your own time. What matters is taking consistent efforts. There are many times when I am too occupied with my office work that I feel tired. On such days, I make sure to do something related to my side project that will not burden me too much. It might be planning the next tasks, writing down remaining features, creating a tweet to post later or anything small and lighter. But I make sure to work on something relatable. This will give you satisfaction of keeping it going even in difficulties! Small but consistent efforts are definitely going to pay you. It may take some time, but it guarantees that it will happen!
I learnt this lately, but this is super beneficial! Celebrating small wins is such an underrated term that we forget to apply it for our own. We work in a team of 3 people, and everyone has different responsibilities. But we still make sure to have small demos and internal releases every week. Doesn't matter if it is just a verbose change, what matters is the delivery! Your one demo, one small release, will make you feel like an achievement and give you the motivation and energy to keep going, which is very important!
During the past one year, so many times I started and stopped working on this side project. But after applying these tips, I am able to work on it consistently since the past 4 months.
While working on something other than your office work, you break the monotony, be creative, take challenges and learn a lot! This will obviously make your life more busy and you will have to sacrifice some of your me time, family time, but trust me, in the end, it's worth the effort.
In case you are wondering what I am working on, it’s all about creating your single work profile! We have opened our waitlist and would really appreciate it if you can take a look at our website, join us and give us some feedback.
Do share and keep learning! 🙌
Cover image illustration by icons8