How I Manage My Time: 5 Tips For Juggling A Job And Side-Projects For Software Developers To Make Consistent Progress
As a software developer, it can be tough to find time to work on your side-projects. You have a job that takes up 40 hours of the week, and then you have to come home and spend time with your family and friends.
How can you possibly find time to consistently work on your side project AND make it profitable?
I’ve been in this position before, and I’ve developed a few tips that have worked well for me. Here are my top five tips:
#1 Pick either morning or late-night
The target is to carve out at least 2 hours where you know you won’t be interrupted. For me, this is early morning. I wake up at 5–6 and work until 9–9:30.
#2 Plan your work for the week
Your time is limited. You want to avoid opening your IDE and deciding what to work on. On every Sunday, plan out the week.
Ask yourself this: What is your “one” thing to move the needle this week?
Use Trello, Jira, or Notion to list your tasks.
#3 Only work on core features
It is very easy to get distracted with nice-to-haves and pretty animations, but those are not required if you want to make your side projects profitable. Nice-to-haves vs Must-haves
#4 Put time limits on how much you will work in a day
When you know you only have 2 hours to work in a day, you will make better progress. You will be intentional about your work and make time for yourself to relax.
#5 Don’t “recuperate” missed days
When you miss a day of hacking on side-projects, you will want to work more the next day to get back on schedule, sometimes taking time away from sleep to do it.
This will work against you. I burned out shortly after and needed breaks whenever I’ve done this.
Work today only as much as you are comfortable working every day.
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