• November 3, 2016

Side Projects are Good for You

Side Projects are Good for You

Tell you what, we love to find ways to grow, excel, and improve through side projects and hobbies. This ethos of new projects and new improvements runs throughout AKSEN team because we believe that spending time in this way can make us happier, healthier, and more productive.

The psychology of side projects

Google’s time program famously allowed its employees to work on side projects using 20 percent of their time, leading to innovations like AdSense and Google Talk as well as the increasing of work performance up to 80 percent.

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.

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 creative hobbies felt more relaxed and in control.

The results indicate that organizations may benefit from encouraging employees to consider creative activities in their efforts to recover from work.

The creativity and ingenuity applied to side projects can result in new products, features, or business efficiency that may lead to more dynamic and sustainable growth. Side projects can also cultivate employee confidence and strengthen leadership capacity.

Recovery is a key psychological function of side projects and hobbies

It probably goes without saying that side projects differ from work projects. But how, exactly? Building a website can be a work project for some folks and a side project for the others.

Hopefully these three rules will enlighten you:

  1. They don’t have to provide you with a living. You can still eat if they fail.
  2. They don’t have a deadline. And as there is no time pressure, you don’t revert to your usual formula. You try new things. You experiment. You take risks.
  3. This is a labor of love. You provide the ‘labor’. And you provide the ‘love’. So when you spend time on it, it is because you really want to. That keeps you coming back and pushing it on.

When we’re talking about side projects and creative hobbies, are we talking about two of the same things? Not precisely.

Here’s the best way to think of the distinction between side projects and creative hobbies: A side project has an output, a finished product (eventually) whilst a creative hobby is a long-term interest.

You can choose both and do both at the same time. And you can pick absolutely anything that interests you and that you want to learn more about. 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.

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