Side projects are a great opportunity for you to explore new topics or try something different.
Side projects let you flex your creative muscle, learn a new skill, or build up your portfolio. They also allow you to stay fresh and discover different areas of the industry you might not have otherwise explored. You might even come across a new business venture!
However, it can be hard to find the time. There’s always client work, or you have errands to run. Plus, you need to have a social life! It can feel impossible to find the space and energy to devote yourself fully to projects outside of your day-to-day life.
But with these tips on how to find time for side projects, there are plenty of ways for you to make it happen.
Work As A Team
Are you stuck in a creative funk? It might seem like you’re the only one who feels that way, but chances are a fellow designer is out there stuck in the same rut. Find someone interested in the same type of project — it’s a great way to get motivated and stay engaged.
Not only that, but if one of your tasks becomes too difficult or boring, your partner might have an idea of how to fix it or make it less monotonous.
Teamwork should be celebrated and admired. It’s not always easy, but it can lead to incredible results.
Create A Side Project Schedule
Eliminate the excuses you tell yourself that keep you from side projects, like “I don’t have time” or “I’ll do it later.” It can be tough to find the time, but it’s easier if you make the effort.
If you struggle to find time for side projects, schedule them into your day. Calendar your side projects like appointments with yourself — it’ll be easier to get them done if they have a designated time slot. Plus, the “I’ll do it later” attitude depends on how much wiggle room you have in your day. Odds are it’s not very much! Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it! You’ll thank yourself later.
Make It Fun
No matter what your side project is, make sure it’s something you enjoy! You are more likely to stick with a project if you are passionate about it. It also keeps boredom and distraction at arm’s length.
Additionally, every big goal needs milestones along the way, and they should be rewarded. Celebrate when you’ve spent an hour on one aspect just because you felt like it, or you finally perfected a color scheme or texture. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
Don’t Give Up On Your Side Project
For most designers, the daily grind is a mix of client work and tight deadlines. It can be hard to find time for side projects when you get caught up in client work. But the benefits are worth it: take Supply Family, for example.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many designers found themselves with long pauses between projects — as was the case for Krists (a brand manager / graphic designer) and Marcis (a 3D designer).
Krists decided to tackle a side project he was passionate about — a design asset marketplace. Teamwork makes the dream work, and he invited Marcis to join him. For the first year, they scheduled time for every free moment between client work. A mere 1 year and 3 months later, they both now work on Supply Family full time.