When our main project is in our mission, we don’t need side projects.
I have been an explorer for a long time. I’ve learned a million skills, tried a million types of entertainment and I am here to tell you some of it works.
What doesn’t work is side projects.
Side projects are things we do in order to feed a certain part of us. Let’s say we love comedy writing and that’s what we want to do with our life, but we miss the stage, so an improv troupe is formed to do free shows… or at least shows that don’t earn anyone a reasonable rate. We might be drawn into doing something like this subconsciously because we…
- are not feeling fulfilled in our main project
- want a cop-out from achieving / not achieving our real goals
- are not pursuing enough self-care
These are big problems with lots of facets. Before we try to fix, let’s look at what we’re not talking about…
A hobby is not a side project
A hobby is something we do to get away from work. It’s probably best not being in any way related to the work thing itself. It’s a way to rest and enjoy problem solving with low stakes. It’s self care. Hobbies (and everything else in life) can inform our work, but the power of a hobby is that it has a strong mental delineation for us and gives us a vacay.
If we’re thinking, “hey this hobby thing could lead to something big!” We’re hobbying wrong.
An experiment is not a side project
An experiment in our main project is a planned test to increase our results in that main project. To make it work, it needs constraints, goals, hypotheses and monitoring. It’s work.
Dissolve side projects by improving our mission
If we aren’t solid on our mission, or our mission is limiting us so much that we need to diverge; we might need to reexamine what our mission is. We might need to talk it through with some people and get clearer on what would make us feel fulfilled if we worked on it our whole lives.
Dissolve side projects by changing our main project
Maybe our main project isn’t on our mission. Let’s examine that. Let’s figure out what part of that project isn’t feeding us.
Dissolve side projects by changing our mindset
Sometimes it’s as easy as reminding ourself why we’re on this mission, why this project is a worthy next step, and the expected result of this work.
Dissolve side projects by adding accountability
Checking in with people who allow for candor and don’t allow for cheating ourselves gives us the opportunity to stay on task. If the mission is right and the project is right, all we have to do is keep on going.