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18 Comments

Is working an hour a day on a side project enough?

I am thinking to establish a working routine to work on my side projects.

When do you work for you work on your projects?

Before work, directly after work, or before sleep in the bed?

  1. 4

    Follow @mubashariqbal and his challenge

    He'll build a SaaS in one hour per day. I'm convinced he'll achieve glory with this challenge

    1. 2

      Thanks for the tag @Leo. I'm starting my challenge in a couple of weeks.

      Definitely think this is doable 😀

      Building something in the hour per day is pretty straightforward. I've built full apps in a few hours at hackathons, so know I can do that part. I tend to like to work late at night, but will probably be changing this for my challenge.

      I'm curious how it affects talking with potential users/customers, and other things outside of actually building the software, you know the business stuff!

  2. 2

    I think the benefit of side projects is that you can spend as much or as little time as you want on them. Generally, the more time you put in, the quicker you'll generate revenue / grow your business. However, not everyone wants to grow quickly and enjoy the slow and steady progress. One hour a day is perfect for this, as long as it's consistent.

    I probably spend about 2-3 hours a day on my projects. Some of the work is high impact, other times it's just me messing around or having fun. Depends on my energy throughout the day and how the full time day has left me feeling. I also spend all of Saturday working on my projects with the folks at Weekend Club (cc @charlierward).

  3. 2

    Hey Tim, you have an excellent last name!

    Whether an hour a day is enough really depends on your side project. Is it small enough to get done in a reasonable amount of time, and is it something that can be done in one-hour increments?

    If you want to effectively work on a side project next to a full time job, find out when you're energized enough to really focus and get the most out of your time. That might be after dinner, or early morning, or during lunch (make sure your contract allows for this).

    Alternatively, adding an extra workday in the weekend could be a better strategy.

  4. 1

    I found myself to be better if I have longer blocks of time but in the end it's all about consistency I'd say and it does depend on your product

  5. 1

    I think so as normally it took me nearly 2 years to get my service business running

  6. 1

    I have been doing this. You need to finish really fast because you will get bored and exhausted if you don't get the job done for a long period of time..

  7. 1

    It's totally possible... I spend maybe 5 years trying to work on side projects whilst also running a full time business - and always failed. I then decided to just keep going, no matter how small, just keep committing code.

    A couple of hours a week after work, and a few hours every weekend - in ~10 months I have now completed quite a bit. There is still quite a bit to go mind you - but I feel happy with my achievement so far, and with the momentum and cadence.

  8. 1
    1. Be constant
    2. Create a habit
    3. Any gap to work on it is worth it
    4. Learn something new
    5. Do not put aside your obligations

    💪 It's an investment not a waste of time 💪

  9. 1

    A mix really,

    I work on it in the mornings for about 30 minutes, posting and doing some socials.
    in between work I do my socials every x time

    And after work I write articles/research and network.

    In theory, one hour is more then enough, and it's more then 0.
    So yeah go for it, but the bigger you get, the more time you will want to spend on it.

  10. 1

    As a solo founder who sometimes struggles to keep up with adding features, fixing bugs, responding to customers, not to mention marketing, social media, admin/legal, etc. etc., I can't imagine how even 8 hours a day are sufficient, let alone 1.

  11. 1

    Hi Tim, I've tried doing this with a couple of friends. But after a few weeks, we fell out of the habit.

    Here's my experience:

    • My brain is usually fried after work
    • I tried doing the 1 hour in the morning and I felt it was great, except that it would sometimes make me unmotivated to work on work stuff
    • I used to have freelance projects which I would do after work and over the weekends and I found that I didn't get enough time to do things I wanted and ultimately burnt out
    • It's almost always more than an hour worth of work

    I believe it can be done though, but you'd probably need more than an hour and you'd have to commit to a schedule!

  12. 1

    I do side project work for about an hour a day, and 2-3 hours on the weekend days. I find that the mornings work best for me. This was a shock to me, since I'm not a morning person. But I have mental energy reserves, and don't feel like I'm burned out by the end of my regular work day. In contrast, trying to get it done at night before bed felt really rough, since I had nothing left in the tank.

  13. 1

    I’m running with side project almost an hour a day. Curate content, growth, small fix etc. it’s pretty energetic :) as long as you’ve a clear goal. Time is not a big issue!

  14. 1

    Absolutely! 30 hours a month is still better than no hours, and some days you'll carve out a little more 😊. I've built a few things on that sort of schedule to fit in around family/day job etc. It can be tough, but you also just have to manage your own time and expectations carefully. I usually look at the project and ask myself 'how long would this take working full time' and then if I know I can only fit in 1/4 of full time allocation, I set my deadlines further away and try and do 1-2 hours a day.

    Working on HackerStash recently I've been averaging about 10 hours a week, which isn't much, but more than I'd normally squeeze in on a side project. We'll be publicly launched (currently in closed beta) within 6 months of starting the project, and if that was full time job it would have been a 1.5month start -> launch which is more than acceptable.

    Also, never chastise yourself for not finding time! Everyone has their own capacity and opportunity to make time for side projects - some people are unable to find any time at all, others are lucky and have more.

  15. 1

    Can't say if it is enough, but works!

    I usually spend no more than 2-3 hours each week on my secondary startup Bubblin but that's also because the product is stable and a lot of its day-to-day tasks are automated.

    Depending on which stage of finish your product is in, YMMV. 🤙🏻

  16. 1

    even tho I believe in the slow approach. but still i think 1h a day is not a good strategy, simply because 1h is not enough to get much done and "context-switching" will eat most of that hour.

    Idk if this would work with your job but something I tried and was more effective is dedicated one day to work on my project and I don't do anything else on it. That means on other days I need to work more to free up that day for my project

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