Career

5 Steps To Finding A Side Project You're Truly Passionate About.

Natasha Musa 4 min read
5 Steps To Finding A Side Project You're Truly Passionate About.
Photo by Andrew Neel / Unsplash

Research has shown that picking up a hobby or a passion project outside of work can positively impact one's well-being and improve work performance.

You may think that picking up a new project will be a burden with the little time you have and the many responsibilities already on your plate, but research conducted in Australia outlines, you just need to spend two hours a week on a project you're truly passionate about to see positive changes.

So, how do you start pursuing a project you're truly passionate about?

Experiments pursuing a passion project.

If I asked you to list some of the things you’ve always wanted to do, chances are you would have a lot on your list.

I know I do.

We want to explore and do so many things in life, but the reality is we don’t have time to do everything. We need to prioritise and be realistic about what we can do with our time and resources.

For years, I had a list of things I wanted to explore, and I wanted to do it ALL.

When I first started exploring passion projects, I created five side projects all at once. Yes, you heard me FIVE.

I started stressing out because I needed to make time for all the projects I had committed to. I ended up not enjoying the process. I became overwhelmed, and it wasn’t long after I gave up entirely on pursuing my goal. The lesson here is to start exploring one project at a time.

Don’t rush and take on too many side projects at once.

I also wanted my projects to be PERFECT. For example, I wanted to start blogging again a few years ago after a long hiatus. But, I was obsessed with having a great-looking website, so I ended up spending more time building the website instead of doing what I love, writing.

The point is to focus on the activity that brings you joy, not the tools.

Everyone’s journey to starting a passion project is different. Mine was doing too many things at one time and focusing on the wrong things. It took me a while to explore, and I finally found a passion project that brought me joy, and these were the steps I took.

Five Simple Steps To Finding A Project You're Passionate About.

If you are exploring a side project, I hope these five steps will help you find the activity that brings you joy and meaning.

#1. List Out All The Things You've Wanted To Do.

Start by listing all the things you want to explore and learn. It’s okay if it’s an extensive list. Then, review the list and choose one side project you can work on that would bring you the most joy.

Be realistic. Ask yourself these three questions:

  • How much time do I need to commit to doing this side project?
  • Will this cost a lot of money?
  • What will I need to begin?

You don’t need to spend too much time on a project.

In my last blog post, I wrote about spending at least two hours a week on something that brings joy. So you need to pick realistic side projects. Don’t pick big projects that require huge commitments.

You also don’t need to spend a lot of money on a side project.

For example, when I started taking sewing lessons, I bought everything related to sewing. I spent a lot of money and realised halfway through that I didn’t enjoy sewing after all. Start with the necessities.

If you love and enjoy what you’re doing, you can expand the tools you need as you progress.

#2: State Your Purpose.

Be clear about what you want to achieve from this side project.

Are you just doing it for fun? To learn something new? To earn an extra income?

I’d start with projects that are fun to do.

If it works out, you can earn extra income in the future but start with doing something that you will enjoy.

#3: Make Time. Start. Pivot.

Look at your schedule and commit to a date and time to pursue your passion projects.

You can start with one hour a week or half an hour a day. It’s up to you. Just pick a time and date and commit to it.

If life gets in the way and you can’t meet the date you scheduled in your diary, reschedule and commit to the new date. Pivot when necessary.

Be intentional with your plans and commit to starting your passion project as soon as you can.

#4: Explore.

The most exciting thing about starting a new project is exploring and learning a new skill.

While you explore your newfound project, ask yourself:

  • Am I enjoying what I am doing?
  • Am I learning something new?
  • Is this something that I’d like to pursue long-term?

My definition of a passion project is an activity I take on during my free time to pursue something that brings pleasure, relaxation and complete joy.

If the project you have just embarked on brings any of these side effects, then this is the project you are truly passionate about. If it doesn’t, then go back to your list and explore something else from the list.

Keep exploring your list until you find something you genuinely enjoy doing, one you can’t wait to do whenever you have free time.

Exploring new passion projects should be fun.

Don’t overthink; enjoy the process. Embrace imperfections because this is how we develop and grow our skills.

#5: Be Consistent.

Consistency is key.

Make time to do what you enjoy until it becomes a habit to put aside one, two or however many hours a week to pursue it. Of course, there will be times when you get frustrated with your newfound project, but most times, it will be an enjoyable process.

Don’t give up.

Trust me, when you have found the project you are passionate about, you will be addicted and want to make time to pursue it.

Enjoy the pursuit of doing what you love, and you will feel the difference it makes in your life.

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