Let's Talk About Side Projects

Am I the only one who's never actually finished a side project?

July 19, 20233 min readCareer

I can't begin to count how many side projects I've started. Throughout college and even now as a working professional software engineer, I've had countless ideas for apps and websites that I thought would be fun and interesting to create. I always start them with a fiery passion, ready to be in charge of my very own creation and not having to listen to a manager telling me how the project should be executed.

I'll plan out my architecture, start deploying working pieces of my backend, get a frontend UI....and then I fizzle out. Time and time again, this has happened.

Why do my side projects always end like this? Have this ever happened to you? What can we do to break this cycle?

I've done a lot of thinking about this problem, and personally, I haven't come across any projects that I've been so passionate about that I would want to work on them every day. Building an app takes a lot of work, and I've realized I haven't really wanted to come home after a long day of coding and continue to code.

Do I enjoy programming? Yes. I wouldn't have gone into the software industry if I hadn't. But do I enjoy doing other things? Absolutely. I love going on walks outside, working out, cooking, and spending time with friends. I writing, reading, discussing new ideas, and talking with other people who also enjoy discussing interesting ideas. Coding is one thing I'm good at, but there are so many other things I want to do.

So that's why I'm not going to work on side projects. I don't want to build an app. It's a lot of work, and I need to unwind a little. That's why this blog has been great for me - it took a little bit of coding, but I had everything set up within a day. All I have to do now is write, which I enjoy doing.

Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't do side projects. What I am saying is you should do what you want to do. If you love doing side projects, go for it! If you love doing something besides coding when you come home from work (like yours truly 😉) then go for it!

I'll probably still tinker around here and there with tech. But I'm not going to build anything crazy. I need unwinding time, and it's been really healthy for me to recognize that. Take a moment to reflect on what truly excites you and aligns with your goals. Then, make intentional choices that lead you closer to the person you aspire to be.