If I asked you to list out some of the things that 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 the time and resources we have.
For years, I had a list of things that I wanted to do and explore and I wanted to do it ALL.
When I first started exploring passion projects, during my short break from full-time employment; I started 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 committed to. I ended up not enjoying the process. I became overwhelmed and it wasn’t long after I gave up completely on pursuing what I set out to do. 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 side projects to be PERFECT. For example, I wanted to start blogging again a few years ago after a long hiatus. I was obsessed with having a great looking website that I ended up spending more time building the website instead of spending time doing what I love; writing and blogging. 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 go and focusing on the wrong things. It took me a while to explore and finally start enjoying my side projects and these were the steps that I took.
The Five Steps to Finding a Side Project You’re Really 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 that you are truly passionate about.
List out all the things you’ve wanted to do.
Start with listing out all the things that you wanted to explore and learn. It’s okay if it’s an extensive list. Review the list and choose one side project that you can work on that you think 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 side project. In my last blog post, I wrote about spending at least two hours a week on something that brings you 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 that was related to sewing. I spent a lot of money and realised halfway through that I didn’t really enjoy sewing after all. Start with the basic necessities. If you really love and enjoy what you’re doing, you can expand the tools you need as you progress.
State your purpose
Be clear 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.
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 but just pick a time and date and just do it.
If you’re busy and can’t meet the date you scheduled in your diary. Reschedule and commit to that date. Pivot when necessary. Just be intentional with your plans and commit to starting your passion project as soon as you can.
The most exciting thing about starting a new side passion project is the process of exploring and learning a new skill. While you explore your new-found 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 that I take on during my free time for the pure purpose of pursuing something that brings pleasure, relaxation and complete joy.
If the project that you have just embarked on brings any of these side effects then this is the project that you are truly passionate about. If it doesn’t, then go back to your list and explore something else from the list. Keep on exploring your list until you find something you truly enjoy doing. One that you can’t wait to do whenever you have free time.
Exploring new passion projects should be fun. Don’t overthink just enjoy the process. Embrace the imperfections because this is how we develop and grow our skills.
Consistency is key. Make time doing what you enjoy until it becomes a habit to put aside one, two or however many hours a week to pursue it. 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 truly passionate about, you will be addicted and you will want to make time to pursue it.