Side Projects, hobbies, and the next shiny thing

I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, and it got me thinking about Side Projects, and hobbies in its context of “Digital Minimalism”

Coming up with side projects and new cool ideas of things to try, seems to the be pretty straight-forward. Thankfully I work in an industry full of new an novel technologies and paradigms. There’s always something to learn and something that could be done better or differently. Outside of work, being interested in Electronics, Radio, RC Cars, and Photography, again provides yet more sources of new and novel things to explore and investigate.

I’ve even ambitiously made a list of future projects, for times when I’m bored (an idea I got from M1GEO), and truth be told, some of the items on the list have been there for years! I suspect there are some that will never get started, let alone finished.

There seems to be a great difficulty in letting go of these half finished projects, or even just ideas. As if admitting that they won’t get done is either failing or missing out in some way. For instance, there’s one project on my list that I started in University as an undergrad, every now and then I re-visit the idea and how I could solve it. But really, am I ever likely to? I doubt it.

The book makes similar points with social media, and it’s stream of novel content designed to attract an hold attention. However, I feel there is a difference when considering side projects and hobbies, they often done for leisure, so measuring the benefit against held values and beliefs gets a bit tricky.

So the approach I’m going to take will be borrowed from Marie Kondo, does thinking about the side project spark joy? If not it should probably be archived, if it’s deployed, its resources decommissioned. This way I hope to avoid feeling guilty about having so many unfinished projects, and more importantly learning to accept not every side project has to be built to the same quality as commercial software.