My friend Josh Kaufman runs PersonalMBA.com, a great resource for those who want to improve their business knowledge via books. Today Josh issued a challenge to his readers to do a side project in 2009. I'm a huge fan of side projects (something you do alongside your full-time day job) and have a long article coming out soon on this topic. Here are Josh's guidelines:
- Treat it like an experiment. The best reason to take on a side project is that you’re curious about a certain topic and you want to learn more about it. There’s no need to freak out over “committing” to something – you’re being an adventurous explorer here, not committing yourself to years of drudgery. [BC: And it doesn't have to have anything to do with work. Take a risk and try something new on the side!]
- Make it positive. A project is some achievement you want to move towards, not something you want to move away from. Avoid phrasings like “I’m going to stop doing ________________”; use words like “I’m going to accomplish / create / build / improve ________________.”
- Make it immediate. A project is something you’re working on now, not something you “plan to work on” at some indeterminate point in the future. Avoid phrasings like “in ________________ months” or “someday I’d like to”; use words like “by ________________ date” or “I’m devoting ________________ hours to this each day”.
- Make it concrete. A project has a tangible result in the real world. Avoid ambiguous phrasings like “improve” and “better”; use words like “I’ll have,” “I’ll achieve,” or “I’ll be able to ________________”. Tangibility is the key – it helps you envision what this project will look like when you’ve accomplished your goal.
- Make it specific. You should know when you’ve achieved what you set out to do. Avoid phrasings like “________________ will be better”; use words like “I’ll have accomplished ________________”. Include as much detail as possible – it should be absolutely clear when your side project is a success.
What side projects are you going to hatch in 2009?