The importance of side projects
Julie Zhuo

I enjoyed reading this post because you wrote about how we need to have some thought / strategy into your side project (things you enjoy + marketable skills), but you also recognize that “perfect is the enemy of good.”

Sometimes, we simply get too caught up in our own head. Wondering. Reeling. Overthinking. Agonizing. It’s a terrible cycle, but the solution is simple — act.

Pick something and commit to it for 30 days or 3 months, but just start! This is what I tell myself. Any experience can be a learning experience, so it doesn’t have to be about picking the perfect project or opportunity. It’s about treating your self-development like startups treat their products: hypothesis, experiment, reflect, quit or double-down.

What’s the harm or hesitation in simply trying something out? We overestimate the consequences of the potentially “wasting our time” and underestimate the devastation of inaction.

There is a quote I like to read when I get caught in this cycle of analysis paralysis:

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“All of life is an experiment.” Why do we take things so seriously?

Another method that’s helped me overcome this is to commit to 30 day challenges. Instead of new years resolutions, I decided to commit myself to a new challenge each month. My favorite so far include Whole30 (which I did for 67 days!) and journaling for 10 minutes a day.

After the experiment time (30 days), reflect on your experiences and decide if you want to quit (low value or not worth the time commitment) or double-down on this project or goal because it proved to be challenging and beneficial.