30 minutes a day

Posted: May 14, 2012 Comments(3)

30 minutes a day.

I found this article to really hit home this morning. Finding time to work on side projects has been a long time struggle for me and continues to be. Some time ago I thought long and hard about how my development team could accomplish work on a side project without directly interfering with client work and billable hours. This is back when I worked by billable hour so every minute spent on a side project was a minute we couldn’t bill, so it better count.

After thinking long and hard about it and trying a mix of experiments, nothing seemed to work. Working for short bursts of time sporadically made it feel like we were getting nothing done at all. It was a double edged sword: we needed to spend more time consistently on side projects but had to focus on client work to keep up billable hours.

After all of that, I’m beginning to think that saying the quality of work suffered was simply an excuse for me. It comes down to determination quite frankly. A side project is one of the most difficult things to see through because it’s just that, a side project. To remain excited enough to work on it long enough to make something of it all the while dealing with your standard workload takes more effort than normal, and isn’t easy to keep up with. The fact of it is I can’t say for sure that short sprints on side projects truly causes the work to suffer because I haven’t truly seen a project through on that schedule.

I don’t want that to be an excuse to keep me from working on additional side projects. I’ve got ideas rolling around that I’d love to shape into something. I’m likely never going to have a solid chunk of time to work on these undeveloped ideas unless I consciously take the small bit of time every day to do it. Here goes.

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Comments

  1. this really struck a chord with me too.

    I’ve tried the 30 mins a day thing before and frankly find a REALLY hard to maintain. It sometimes take me 30-45 mins to get “warmed up” on a task so the minimum “sprint” for me to get any value from it tends to be about 2 hours – which obviously is a lot more time to have to allocate daily.

    I guess some peoples brains are wired differently. I’d get much more out of a concentrated 4-5 hour burst of activity once per week.

  2. Couldn’t agree with the principle behind this.

    It’s not even about the time spent each day but rather about the expansion of thought and perspective.

    Personally, I like the idea of a half hour sprint…

  3. Thanks for sharing this Jon. I too have found it hard to maintain the motivation to work on side projects when I have the pressures of my full-time job keeping me busy. I guess at the end of the day it’s really about discipline though. I see Ed’s point as well, that sometimes it takes longer than 30min to get into that ‘groove’.

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