Reasons to keep a Passion Project
If you travel really far back to the times when you were in grade school, you may remember “Genius Hour” of “Passion Projects,” a designated time for students to explore their curiosities and interests to their fullest. The nostalgia of free time… isn’t it great that children actually have time to explore their passions?
But why should Passion Projects be limited to just kids? Especially in this day and age, when being multilingual, having some coding experience, or being a great public speaker can come in handy for so many different cases. Here are some perks of keeping a side-project at all times and some tips for getting started.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
If it makes you happy, you should make time for it.
We’ve been there. Life gets super hectic, time for work and friends clash, responsibilities pile up, and you find yourself becoming a giant ball of stress. It feels like we never have time for ourselves. But here’s the T: we do have time, but it’s the priorities that make us believe we don’t. Remember the jar theory that flooded our emails in the 2000s? Where the large rocks go in first, and then pebbles, and then the sand and water? Having a Passion Project follows this same philosophy. You are a rock, and therefore should be put first in your own life. It’s easy to forget to make time for yourself; but if you continue to put the small things first, you will never have time for who or what you love.
So pick up a passion project! Choose a topic that you’re curious or care about, and think about where you think this interest will take you. Who knows, perhaps getting better at your chosen passion might benefit your career too!
EXPAND YOUR NETWORK
Meet others with the same passions and interests.
Passion projects aren’t challenge's that you should have to weather alone. Finding your community with the right collaborators can enhance what you take out of your experience! There are dozens of different types of communities out there that you can join depending on your interests and most of the time, they’re free! Here are a couple of accessible examples that you can engage in:
· #Inktober if you’re into visual arts
· Volunteering for non-profits if you want to improve on a particular skill set and work directly with a team
· Photography walks or UX/UI workshops for digital media creatives – they’re usually free or less than $10 most of the time!
· Finding a mentor through your networks or informational interviews can open opportunities for collaboration!
Believe in the value of your project.
It’s always easier said than done. In a perfect world, who wouldn’t say no to adding another skill to their toolbox? After all, you’re meant to be more than one thing, so don’t define yourself to just by your job. But the same way some of us can never commit to the same planner for the entire year, it can be difficult for some of us to commit to our passion projects, especially if there are moments when we think that we could be making more side $$$ instead.
An easy way to remind yourself of this value is to think about the future and visualize who you’ll be and what you’ll get out of your project. Create that focus and believe that it is worth your time. If you don’t believe in your project, it’s best to drop it and explore another interest. The purpose of a passion project isn’t to feel like another 9 to 5, but to be a fun and enriching addition to your day-to-day lifestyle. An excellent way to stay on track is to set some goals that you’d like to accomplish. If your project is related to fitness, you might consider a goal like being able to lift eighty pounds by the end of six months or being able to run a marathon by the end of the year.
Another way to give yourself enough time for this is to put it in your daily schedule. Let’s say your goal is to have a better sense of style. Schedule yourself an extra half-hour each day to do some lookbook research or mall-browsing! If you treat your passion project like any other commitment, there is no doubt that you will inevitably improve and reach your goals.
Learn more about yourself in the process!
Think about the last time you introduced yourself to someone else. Do you ever have an identity crisis when you network? It’s hard to feel like you stand out amongst others in the industry, but an easy way to get out of that negative headspace is to remember that you’re not just one thing. Passion projects can help you create an identity by giving you an opportunity to create something all on your own and developing skills that others don’t have. You’d be setting yourself apart from the crowd while having fun! Sounds like a dream.
The best part about these is the fact that no experience is useless; the positive qualities that you gain from working on your passion project can also be translated into your work life too! If you’re into cooking, you’re probably great at multitasking and have faith in your own judgment – but who says that these traits can only exist in your kitchen? Adopt them and apply them to your workplace! This will make you a more active player in the industry, and it’s all because of your passion. You can also learn what doesn’t work for you. If you enjoy dragon boating over running solo, you might realize that you enjoy working in a group rather than independently. It’s up to you to interpret what you take out of these projects and how you apply them to the rest of your life!