Questions when Considering a new Side Project

Coming up with ideas for side projects is fun. Before that are some questions to consider.

When Can You Fit In a Side Project?

An important question is where can you fit a project into your life.

You may know exactly the time you have to spend on a project. But there is a shift in modern times to always being busy and wearning it like a badge. You may not think you have time for anything new.

You may have an orderly routine or a schedule that changes day to day. You may not know where your time goes.

You may want a project which reclaims some of your time. Such as experimenting with being on screens for less hours of the day.

Is this a project you want to put a few hours a week into?
Is it something you want to spend a few minutes a day on?
Is there a day every month you would love to spend focused on it?
Would you like project that focuses on reclaiming some of that time?
Is it worth tracking what you spend your time on for a week?
Do you have any periods (such as a train commute) which you could use?

How Long Will Your Project Be?

What period you want the project to run for is worth considering.

You might have a few weeks before a new job starts or be looking to make long term changes in your life.

It might be that it doesn't matter to you how long it takes. You might be someone who gets fully immersed in a new interest for a few weeks or months before moving on

Is this a project to play around with and it doesn't matter how long it lasts?
Is there a event coming up that determines when you start or finish?
Are you someone who gets into a project for a short time before moving onto something new?
Is there a particular goal or achievement you want to work towards?

What Might Get In Your Way?

The restrictions and boundaries that make things harder or that need to be respected need thought .

You may know that you have a year abroad coming up. Or that Covid restrictions have just been placed and you can't get away from home. You might have budget restrictions.

Restrictions and boundaries can also be positive. Limitations often force us to look for new ideas and reconsider beliefs to get past them. With unlimited freedom comes unlimited opportunities to get distracted.

Do you have any budget restrictions for the project?
Are there other factors that affect what sort of project you can do?
Are there people around you that might make it hard to follow some ideas?
Are you expecing to make money from the project?
Do you require a particular location or piece of equipment for the project?

Other Questions

Finally are a few other questions to be considered.

Do you have lots of interests already and want another?
Do you want to deepen an existing skill or hobby?
Do you prefer to dive into a project or spend a short while doing some research  before starting?

Answering these Questions Myself

When Can You Fit In a Side Project?

I'm about to start a period of travel so I will have a few minutes each day or a couple of hours a week to spend on it.

How Long Will Your Project Be?

Initially I thought it should be open-ended but it would make more sense to restrict it to a month. That way I have some time pressure and can always make it into a larger project.

What Might Get In Your Way?

It should be something which doesn't require many extra tools or only light ones. It has minimal costs and I have no expectation of making any money from it.

Other Questions

I want to try something new and unrelated to a main skill or hobby. I'm happy to start a project straight away once I find something.

So something that doesn't take up much time or money and I will try it for a month. I want something new and easy to take with me on travels.

Finishing Up

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What results did you get?
Is this an exercise you find useful?
Are there other questions you would add?



Duncan is an aspiring creative nomad, who publishes random lists and tools for roleplaying games. Hobbies include salsa, games, books, podcasts, languages and history.
It varies. Probably in Europe