My favorite part is my evening is wide open for relaxing. I often find it hard to truly relax as my brain nags me saying I should be working on something. But with this system, the guilt goes away.
It's not sustainable though. I tend to do it in chunks and what's going on at my day job also influences whether I'm doing it. I also need to go to bed early to pull this off, which doesn't bother me but might others. The key is to listen to your body and brain and recognize when you need to back off.
I've blogged about this a couple times:
Conversely, since I'm more of a night owl, working at night can be problematic because I end up not being able to stop due to momentum and wanting to bring closure to what I'm working on, and then my brain not shutting down for another 30-60 minutes once I finally do go to bed.
For me, the latter is the worst feeling to overcome. It's like you give up your soul to a job you don't really like, and it ends up sucking up your energies to do what you really want when you're finally "free" from it.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
I'm considering finding another day job that isn't quite so soul-sucking, but I've been trying to do that for the past 4 or so years without much luck.
Also, I don't watch TV, but I do play games (I go through phases of this), but I feel I do this to give me something to decompress. Maybe it's an escape, I don't know.
By the way, this thread has been very therapeutic. Thanks everyone.
I'm very risk-averse but finally worked up the courage to quit and spend my time doing what I love: writing music. I'm slowly bleeding through my savings, but it's worth it. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I never gave composing a fair shot. In the end, the biggest risk is actually to your ego. There's always another job out there, particularly if you're a software person.
I'm still nervous about the whole thing and worried about my prospects. I still procrastinate. But damn, I'm just much happier these days!
Finally made an account after years of lurking just to say this. Believe in yourself and take a leap. Sometimes it's just what you need to rediscover yourself.
Do you have a family to support? That's a big factor in how much risk I can really take. If I was single, I don't think I would have any issues taking a break to work on this project.
I actually have a pretty good nest egg established from another project I launched about 10 years ago, but I don't think it's enough to responsibly depend on exclusively to support my family while I work on this.
When I first brought up my career change, she wasn't on board because I didn't have a plan. But now that I am (more) sure of myself and know what I want to do and how, she is happy to support me and I'm exceedingly grateful for that. As long as you're communicating and your family is supporting you, I'd bet you can find a way to make it work.
I was reading about director Ang Lee a few months ago and found some inspiration in his career. After finishing grad school, he spent the next six years unemployed, writing a couple scripts at home and taking care of his two small children while his wife (a molecular biologist) worked. If he had given up then or if his family hadn't believed in him and supported him, he probably wouldn't be where he is now. Everyone's situation is different but I found hope and comfort in his backstory.
Yeah, I stopped watching it like 10 years ago. Need more ideas.
I should know, because that's what I have done.
That's so true for me. There are so many exiting things to do, and I'm trying to do start them all (for me those are statistics, Java concurrency, Haskell). The result is predictable - a bunch of started projects, nothing completed, no satisfaction of the work done. It's easy to start, but it requires discipline to continue. I am trying to figure out what can help to build this discipline and the habit to complete.
I made a pretty neat little app that would send notifications when products were available for purchase (such as the xbox one and ps4, which were difficult to find), and it did pretty well over the holidays, but it's too distracting from my main side project. I've looked into hiring someone to handle promotion / day to day activities for it in exchange for a percentage of profits, but I'm wasting too much time trying to figure out how the taxes work when splitting profits vs paying a flat fee.
Does anyone have experience trying to sell side projects? This project has potential, but I simply don't have the time to dedicate to it right now, and would rather focus on my main side project.
Does anyone have experience selling on that site?
Wherever possible this will make you a happier person, not just give you time for your side project.
I actually think this will do a lot of good long term for the creative workplace as we learn to focus on efficiency and output instead of hours. It could open up more jobs too. So I know it's early and not often possible. But if it may be possible for you, I highly recommend doing it. If you do a good job you'll slowly make it possible for everyone.
One of the biggest bottlenecks (excuses?) keeping me from gaining traction on my project is finding a good creative designer. I haven't an artistic cell in my body -- I'm all binary. So I need a good wingman to help put a pretty face on my ideas.
And while I know I could put a barebones product together and have someone come in after the fact and put makeup on it, I really need this going on in parallel to see it coming together, which in turn helps me maintain momentum.
Am I alone in this? What have you done to overcome this?
This is an alternative to finding a creative designer.
Since having our first child I've learned, painfully, to stop trying for optimal conditions (a quiet room, a guaranteed, contiguous block of uninterruptible time), and learn to spin up and down quickly as circumstances dictate. That learning process was primarily about refusing to use sub-optimal conditions as a reason to delay work, but it's also about setting up in the family room and accepting that people make noise and demand attention and that, with mental discipline, you can work through it. Copious notes (I keep a running 'dev log' open and note my thoughts into it almost constantly) are a huge help in re-establishing context after a distraction.
There's always something you can do to keep engaged with the codebase when given a 30m slot: some brainless extraction of magic numbers into statics; cleaning up some nagging compiler warnings; things that free you up to do more creative and challenging things when there's less noise and distraction later on.
The mornings don't work for me as they start pretty early.
Seriously, though, I've found that procrastination is my
greatest hurdle to overcome. I always think: "I'll get to
it later", or "There will always be time to get to that".
Invariably, all that time ends up getting away from me and I feel down on myself for not getting to said project/essay/whatever.
So, when you have an idea, act on it. Don't wait, because waiting will kill that nascent idea as surely as anything.
Make time, even if it's just a few minutes, it will end up benefiting your project in the long run.
So I made my number one goal for 2014 to launch a side project, and I hope to achieve this by carving out time, valuing my time, and lastly eliminating all wasted time.
Casandra post a nice article about that: http://blog.teamspir.it/productivity/journaling-is-productiv...