Day #444:The Case for Side Projects

Yesterday, I wrote about How to Find Inspiration from Uninspiring jobs. While exploring this topic further, I realized one of the helpful ways to keep your level of motivation in life and on your job is to take on side projects. According to numerous Fast Company articles, having a side project might actually help you stay motivated and bring more ideas into your daily job.

There is even some research to back this up.

San Francisco State psychology professor Dr. Kevin Eschleman and his colleagues measured the effect of creative hobbies on over 400 employees. In two separate groups–one rated by coworkers and one self-rated–those with a creative hobby were more likely to be helpful, collaborative, and creative with their job performance.

As an added bonus, outside of work those with hobbies felt more relaxed and in control. Said Eschleman:

The results indicate that organizations may benefit from encouraging employees to consider creative activities in their efforts to recover from work. Creative activities are likely to provide valuable experiences of mastery and control, but may also provide employees experiences of discovery that uniquely influence performance-related outcomes.

It probably goes without saying that side projects differ from work projects. But how, exactly? Building a website can be a work project for you and a side project for me. Writing a blog is a career for some folks; it’s a creative hobby (a bit of a slow burner, at that) for me.

Your side project or hobby doesn’t need to be something you’re already good at. You can think outside the box with what you choose–anything that interests you, fulfills you, excites you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Learn to draw
  • Learn to code
  • Sell something online
  • Write a book
  • Start a blog
  • Take lessons
  • Audit a class
  • Volunteer

Which ideas could you add to this list?

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