Personal project could be any hobby (say learning guitar) or working on an open source project for example.
How do you maintain the discipline? Any tips to avoid getting sucked into time wasting activities at home?
Here are a few things you can do to work on your personal project every day, even with a full-time job:
Make your project a top priority.
This sounds obvious, but I mean REALLY prioritizing the project up there with your job and your family. Or at least a close third, way above everything else.
If you “don’t have time” for your project, but you find yourself watching Netflix or browsing Facebook for any amount of time at all, then you’re doing something wrong.
You’re going to have to make some sacrifices.
Friends, social life, fantasy football. All of that has to take a back seat. But if you love your project enough, this should be easy enough to do.
Bottom line: If it’s not up there with the most important things in your life, then you will never “find time.”
Dedicate time each day to your project and make it a habit.
Work on your project at the same time every day or every week so that it becomes a routine.
If you let it become a day-to-day decision, then you give yourself an out.
But if you make it a routine, like going to work, then you don’t need discipline. It just becomes what you do.
Writing is my personal project. I write before work on weekdays and in the mornings on weekends.
I view it as an extension of my workday. I actually go to Dunkin’ Donuts every day before work and I don’t go to work until I’ve written a few hundred words.
Which brings me to my final tip…
Don’t work on your personal project at home.
There are too many distractions at home. Your dog needs to go out. Your kid is crying. Your wife is yelling at you to do something.
Even if you live alone, there’s the lure of Netflix and Xbox just a few clicks away.
The reason Dunkin’ Donuts is a great place for me to write is there isn’t much for me to do there except sip my coffee and write.
I’m at least twice as productive there than I am at home simply because of the lack of distractions.
If you want to avoid getting sucked into time-wasting activities at home, then just avoid home altogether.
Hopefully, this helps.
First published on Quora.
Featured image by Clem Onojeghuo.