The problem with many side projects is that they only get marginal time. So, they stay as side projects forever or starve to death. Viewed from the outside, other people would call our effort a hobby.
Different expectations lead to different strategies. What is this side-project for? Is it an experiment to learn something new? Do we hope it can become our main project in the future? Do we care if it fails? Do we want it to replace our main income sometime? Disappointment comes when expectations don’t match reality.
Sacha Dicther says that if you want to change, you need to commit 4 days a week:
Four days a week is what we need to commit to something if we really want to grow.
Twice a week is enough for maintenance.
Three days a week is enough for improvement.
But four days a week creates transformative change.
It doesn’t matter what sort of growth you’re working on–you might want to improve your sales, singing, soccer, swimming, saxophone, or salsa dancing. Perhaps you’re working on tambourine, thoughtfulness, tact, tenacity, tap dancing, or Telugu.
Give it four days a week and change will happen.
Side projects don’t need to fall behind.
The first decision we need to make is which side projects we really want to move forward, and move those that don’t make the cut to our someday/maybe list. We need to accept that we cannot have too many side-projects, because our time and focus are limited.
The second decision is about time allocation. If our side project doesn’t get time in our calendar, it’s just wishful thinking. We should aim for consistency: for example, allocate one hour every day.
The third decision is about accountability. There are many ways to hold ourselves accountable. We need to find one and stick to it.
(This post is a reflection on my own struggles with side projects.)