Side projects are gaining popularity, particularly with technical professionals who want to use them to expand their experience and technical knowledge. But, sometimes, juggling a side project and a full time job can be challenging. You don’t want to neglect your full time job, but you want to make sure your side project doesn’t die on the vine. Here are 5 tips that will help you strike the ideal balance.
1. Differences Are Key: To make sure your side project holds your interest and doesn’t feel like you’re continuing to work late into the night and on the weekends, you need to make sure there are enough differences between your side project and your daily workload. Whether you use different technologies, work on similar elements only on the weekends, or differentiate your side project enough that it doesn’t resemble your regular workload at all, this strategy will help you devote equal focus to each while avoiding burnout or monotony.
2. Work Smarter Not Harder: When you’re juggling a side project and a full time job, it’s important to take the adage “work smarter not harder” seriously. Bone up on as many productivity hacks as you can stomach so your regular workload and your side project workload can be tackled as efficiently and intelligently as possible.
3. Go Above and Beyond: If you want to advance your career, you need to make sure you’re going above and beyond in your full time job. This can be easy to overlook when you’re splitting your focus between a side project and a full time job. Find ways to go above and beyond at work so you’re still in a great position for future promotions and career advancement.
4. Don’t Ignore Minutia: When your focus is split between a side project and a full time job, it may be tempting to ignore the minutia. The small, pesky tasks at work, the tiny details that make all the difference in your side project, and even the minutia of running errands or keeping your house clean. Balancing all of these things at once may lead you to ignore the minutia but it’s often the smallest things that make the biggest impact over time, or can build up and lead to huge mistakes. Make sure you’re staying on top of all of the minutia in your job, project, and personal life!
5. Don’t Forget Your Work-Life Balance: While juggling your career, your side project, and your personal responsibilities it’s easy to forget maintaining your work-life balance. But, if you want to avoid burnout, you need to make time for relaxation and recharging your batteries. Get enough sleep, make time for socialization, and take at least one night a week off from your side project to kick back and relax. This will help you stay focused and motivated as you juggle all of the work on your plate!
Side projects can help you sharpen existing skills, learn new skills, or gain valuable experience. Some people’s side projects even generate additional revenue! But, if you’re juggling a side project and a full time job, you need to keep these 5 tips in mind so you can stay focused and avoid burnout.