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Why you should have side projects.

Since last year, I have somehow started and acquired a few side projects, I am not quite sure how those happened honestly. Some of them is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but never found the courage. Some of them are a spur of the moment thing with friends that we just started for fun. But they are all the same, they need constant ideas and work from time to time. So far I am enjoying each and every one of them, and I am glad I started them (but maybe that is too early to tell because I think I am still in the honeymoon motivated phase).

You don’t have to be a creative type to have a side project. It can be fitness related, food/cooking related, travel related, collecting things or anything that tickles your fancy, the key is to find something you are passionate about. I think one of the main thing you should consider about having a side project is documenting it. This let you can see the journey of your side project, if you’ve improved throughout, if it can develop to something sustainable. So below are some of the reasons why I think everyone should have a side project in their life – derived from my personal experience.

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1. They energize you.

If you’re currently like me and you work in a 9-5 office job, life can feel very monotonous at times. Sometimes it feels like all you do in life is waiting for the weekend to come, and life feels so bland and boring. Side projects makes my life interesting again. It makes me eager to go back home after work, and it’s not because I want to lay in bed the rest of the night and watch my Korean dramas. Somehow I just want to get home, and put the nagging thoughts in my head that robbed me off a good night sleep for a test drive. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. At times, it makes me wonder how I have the capability to do that, I feel like these days I get a lot more productive but I don’t feel drained at all. Instead I feel like I’m bursting at the seams with ideas. Yes I feel a little busy, but the good kind of busy. It’s a wonderful feeling, trust me.

2. They help you to be more creative

I think this is mainly for the types of side-projects that I do. It teaches you to look at your surrounding with a different outlook. My side projects open my eyes to possibilities. Now every time I see something I see the potential that it could bring. Can I pen it to a blog post? Is it food that can I video to make a cinemagraph? Is it a quote I can write up with Calligraphy? Those constant thoughts fuels me so much and it makes me feel so much more creative compared to when I haven’t dabbled on any side projects.

Also, the good thing about having a few side projects is that if you get bored of one, you can always switch it up and work on another one. It definitely keeps everything feels fresh and exciting.

3. They boost your confidence

Your side project is your baby, it’s your work through and through, and it’s going to have a part of you in everything. It should be something you are proud to show your friends and it should bring you joy just talking about it. Not to mention, it’s a great conversation starter. So now when you talk to new people, instead of describing what you do at work, you can tell them what you do in your spare time instead. Then you can be known as “that person who does this cool thing, you should totally check it out”,  instead of “that person that works as a X”

4. You learn to keep yourself accountable

It is one thing to start something, but it’s another thing to follow it through. Something I find useful is at the beginning stages, do a lot more, keep some in archive in case it can be picked up later. Sometimes when I feel like I am stuck in a rut, I go back to those drafts, doodles and sketches I did and sometimes I am able to pick it up again and feel inspired from it, just because I’ve given time to myself to be away on it. If you’ve done this and it didn’t come back, try some other time or decide if you just fallen out of love with it, and start over with something else.

Cineadine is a collaboration of mine and a friend that posts cinemagraphs of our lunch feeds.

5. You learn more about yourself

Side projects lets you discover yourself along the way, it lets you know what you like and dislike, and what you actually enjoy and what you don’t. Before the era of my side projects, I keep wanting to have a crafty side projects, I keep researching about them but my biggest mistake was not starting on any of those just for the sake of finding out. After a while I get tired of researching, because there were so many options and I didn’t know what I will truly enjoy. I should have just started on one and see how I go with it, cause in the end, it was trying it and focusing on it for a time that eventually what lets me know what I enjoy and what I don’t.

In the end, if you did it for a while and decides that it is not for you, then you don’t have to continue it. Maybe that kind of side-project is not for you, but you’ll never know until you try.

6. It may turn into something profitable

The key here is might. Of course, not all side projects are created equal. I don’t recommend creating a side project just for the sole purpose of the monetary returns. You can have that in mind, but I think the most important thing is to actually enjoy what you do. For example, if you are not tech-savvy, it might not be the best idea for you to want to create an app. Of course you can hire people to make them for you, but that costs money and if you don’t have a clear vision in the beginning, your money is going to run like water.

Some ideas you can try:

  • If you are into photography – take one picture a day, learn how to use manual setting in your camera (more on that in a seperate post in the future maybe ;))
  • If you are into writing/journaling – write a diary, document your days, a doodle a day, project life or my newest obsession – bullet journals.
  • If you are techy – create an app, or learn a new coding language, create an open source projects.
  • If you are an explorer – go on adventures and document it, if you are low on funds, go local and document local parks/hiking spots
  • If you love eating out – find a list of local eateries (there are lots in the web) and take picture/review them.
  • If you need to get fit – document your exercise and meal plan perhaps – yes that can be a side project too!
  • If you are good at talking – create a youtube channel, or make a podcast.

Do you have a side project? If you don’t, are you thinking to start one right now? Did I convince you to? 😉 Want to start one but still don’t know what to do? Talk to me, friends said I give good ideas, so maybe I can help you find your perfect side project! Let me know if any of these points are useful for you.

♥ Marc

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