I recently announced that I was starting a new theme shop. I’m sure the announcement didn’t send waves through the community and that most people never saw it. That’s okay. I’m sure a few people even snickered to themselves about how theme shops are a dying breed. That’s fine. But I see a need for quality themes that are both accessible and fit a specific purpose. But this project isn’t my main job. I work a full time job, like most people. Red Cloud Themes is a side project to help build out a need that I see in the WordPress community and grow my skills as a developer and even as a designer. But here is something that I haven’t said but remains true: Finding time for side projects is hard!
Little Things and Big Things
We all lead busy lives. Some more than others. But still, I haven’t found many people that wished for LESS time in their days. Personally, I am married to a wonderful woman, have a two year old and an eight month old. My wife and I both work full-time. We attend church and a weekly small group. Most of the rest of our time is spent together as a family and on a small amount of side projects we have time for (which isn’t much). If I’m being honest, I’m up at 5am and asleep on the couch by 9pm until my wife wakes me up to go to bed (for real this time) by 10 (I know, we’re old people at heart).
It would be very easy for me to say that I don’t have time, or energy, for side projects. Especially something as big and consuming as a theme shop. But it is important to me. I want to provide value to the community. I want to grow as a developer. Honestly, I’d love to make a bit of extra income for my family. I’m passionate about it. That is what makes the difference for me. Side projects and to-do items that I’m not passionate about, usually don’t get done.
It isn’t to say that some of these things don’t have merit. But if I don’t place importance on them, they simply fall through the cracks of a busy schedule. And that’s okay. Something that I struggle with, even though I am well aware of, is that “Good will destroy your ability to be great.” Too many good things, or even just the wrong good things, will hinder your ability to take on, or do, or find great things. So I’m choosing not to settle for just good things.
Practicality and Application
So practically, when do I (and you) get things done when our lives are so busy? Well, I have to make time. I get up at 5am not because I’m a happy morning person. I’m not. I’d rather sleep until 8 or 9 just as much as the next person. But I’m up at 5am so I can work out (some days, I’m getting better at this), eat breakfast, get ready without rushing, and sit down and write blog posts. I also work in the evenings and on weekends. I had this past Monday off from my full-time job. But I worked. On side projects. The popular term these days is to call that hustle. Call it what you want, but it is a sacrifice for future benefits.
I should mention that one of the risks involved in this process is that you burn out if you go too fast or too long. I’ve done it before. I worked 80 hours weeks for a year recently and burned myself out. It took stopping all projects and changing locations to improve my mind and body again. So don’t burn yourself out. Set limits. Spend time with your family, friends and loved ones. Have someone that holds you accountable. Like I spoke on yesterday, have community. Take breaks. Go slow. Projects that only get a little time each week are not going to be done overnight. Build them quality, but build slow.