Yesterday I offered up the notion that side projects are good. And they are. But they are also bad. Confused? Welcome to the club. But truth is truth, so here are some reasons why side projects can be as bad for us as they are good.
Finding the energy and drive to crank the gears on a new project means devoting some thought to it. That means you aren’t thinking as much about your day job or main focus. This is what normal people call distraction (other people call it multitasking, but they're idiots).
Resources Are Scarce
A side project by definition means that you are taking a portion of your time, energy and attention and focusing it into a new thing. Whether you give all of your evenings to the new project, or carve out time during the work day, you are using one of your limited resources (if not more than one).
Exposure Leads to Injury
Doing two things at once — your day job and your pet side project — means that you have less potential to succeed with each one. You lower the bar on what you could possibly achieve. You may disagree; that’s fine. I’ve just seen first-hand how pouring yourself into two glasses leaves both glasses less full than you’d like.
I love side projects. But I won’t hesitate to kill them if they are preventing me from running fast and far with my main thing. Do you have an idea for a side project? That’s awesome, and you should go for it. But only after you’ve given it a ton of thought and made sure it’s going to be good for you, rather than bad.