How to Keep a Passion Project Outside of Work
"That time between clocking out of work and hitting the sheets every night is yours. You shouldn’t forfeit it"
Some people are lucky enough to do work they’re passionate about. Many, many more people, however, toil with a job that bores them to no end and deal with professional indifference.
Look, let’s be real.
You’ve got bills to pay and student loans hanging over your head. Having a job, even a less than ideal one, is important. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue something that makes you happy outside of work. In fact, you should keep a passion project on the side.
Personally, after a long day’s work, all I ever wanted to do was plop down on the couch and zone out with the television on. I felt exhausted and feared doing something more productive with that time would make the precious hours I had to myself go by faster than they already seemed to. Then I realized how detrimental that was to my mental health.
To combat that, I started setting aside time to pick the guitar back up and do some real work on the album I’d long dreamed of writing. Of course, that’s specific to me. You can do whatever you’d like. Paint something. Collect model trains. Explore different types of exercise. That time between clocking out of work and hitting the sheets every night is yours. You shouldn’t forfeit it. Using that time to pursue something that gratifies you will immensely improve not only your happiness, but sense of self worth (you’re not a mere cog in your company’s machine, after all). It’ll remind you that you’re not living to work, but rather working to sustain the life you want to lead.
As we all know though, saying is easier than doing.
To ensure you keep up with the project, schedule it as part of your day that’s every bit as important as showing up to work on time. Know that at 8 o’clock, for instance, you’ll write at least 100 words of the next great American novel you’ve always wanted to put to paper (commit similarly to whatever your passion project is). Carving out a chunk of time devoted specifically to this will provide structure and work to keep you honest in the pursuit.
Don’t be afraid to open up the coffers either. Hey, you’re making money for a reason. Use (some of) it to finance the project. Being financially invested will not only go towards keeping you committed to the project (you don’t want the spending to be for naught), but it will help you do it to the best of your capabilities.
Having something that is totally your own will give you a sense of empowerment that can translate in the office as well. These types of projects are great reminders that you can do things that not many others are able to do. Try to cultivate some of that confidence for use in the workplace. Ask yourself, “What are the qualities that make me a good woodworker?” (If that’s what you’re into.) Is it your patience and attention to detail maybe? Adopt some of those characteristics that make you talented in your passion to the workplace. You’ll be better for it.
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