Issue ø2
September, 2016

Top principles of productivity.

I think that the best word in the world is “opportunity”. And the best synonym for the opportunity in a thesaurus is a side project (please, do not check it). Just one article you publish can burn a village or can give birth to something important. One video uploaded on YouTube can change your life and your daily routine. One side project you built can change your future completely. Just think about it!

The only problem here is that you never do these things. You are sitting near your laptop, thinking about opportunities to build something, to earn money and to do something meaningful. You think about it in a subway or in your car, you think about it when you travel, you think about it when you jog. But, thinking about something does not make it happen. You are never ready to do these things because you have so many excuses preventing you. You have no time, a full-time job, family, no ideas, and zero coding experience.

«Perfectionism is not your friend»

Imagine yourself as a kid who just thinks about games, but never plays them. You sit in front of scattered Lego blocks, puzzles and think about how to play with that. The years are passing by, and you still think and never try things for yourself. Of course, you’re not a kid anymore. Now you’re a designer/marketer/producer, or developer. You learn during your professional career how to build small blocks around your boss startup, but you still don’t have your side-project. So, it’s time to grab all you learned over the years and use it for your profit.

Do not overthink simple things. If you want to change something, just start to change it today. Overthinking and perfectionism are two serious diseases of mankind - they simply poison your productivity. Perfectionism is not your friend. You can endlessly make changes to your project, and never see it live. It will never be perfect, but it’s not the reason not to show it to people. So, turn on your perfectionism after your project has been launched and improve this project eventually. We need to play and build things in order to progress, and we need to learn new skills in order to build something. If you don’t have the right skill to make a side-project, just go and learn it. It’s that simple!

«Do important things first»

At my first post, I asked you to tell me about “stop points” that prevent you from doing a side-project and I received a lot of similar answers. I want to explain some of them.

«Because of full-time job and freelancing, I have no time.»

Know. Your. Priorities. Do first things first. Ask yourself a simple question three times a day: “Is this thing I’m doing right now important? Will it change my life for better?”. If the answer is no, stop doing it. People like to be ‘workaholics’, it sounds honorable. But, it’s not important how many things you do in one day, it is more important how much profit you earn by doing those things.

Don’t. Be. Distracted. If you want to have free time for your side-project, start rebuilding your daily routine. Cut from your life anything that simply steals your time. I found so many things I waste my time on for years: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. When I realized it is an addiction, I cut it out completely. No more sound notifications, no news feed, no videos on background, no email checking. It surprised me how productive I can be when there are no more distracting things around! A great book I recommend: «Manage Your Day-to-Day». It answered many of my questions.

«I don't know what I need to learn so that I could quickly begin to create a working thing.»

«I don’t know what I can create and because of it I’m not trying to generate some ideas.»

First of all, you need to learn how to design in Sketch. Then, you have to start with Ruby on Rails. Take a look at this guy. He built 12 websites in 12 weeks. Don’t be afraid if you can’t understand what he is doing right now. You need to learn some basics in order to start. After that, you will have the ability to create your blog, Pinterest, hacker news, to-do app, job board in hours. It’s impressive! To help you better understand the code, I will cover all the learning process in my next posts.

Today’s developer is a guy who has the ability to find any information he needs on the Internet. Developer skill is not how much information you possess, or how many methods and functions you know. It’s more about how you can use Google and StackOverflow to solve any problems with your code. Find and learn any information is the main ability of a man of the future.

Let’s think about the benefits and opportunities you will have during the process of building a side-project:

You will learn new skills. The best things that we can learn in school is to get the ability to study and learn new skills. Unfortunately, we forget how to do it over time. We are pretty straight forward - we can’t write a code, because we don’t know how to do it. We can’t design a website because we have zero experience. And, we can’t launch a project, because we know nothing about marketing and growth hacking. It all changes completely with a side-project.

You will fill your life with new goals. Every time you complete a goal, you become smarter and gain experience and confidence. Having a side-project is like climbing a hill - when you reach the top, you will be happy and proud. But, you will see new tops of other hills, higher and more beautiful. The same feeling is when you constantly improve yourself and your projects step-by-step.

You will be more productive. When you work on a side-project, you can fail as many times as you want, and update and change your product whenever you want.

You will make new friends. There are so many people I could have never met if there hadn’t been for my side-projects. You always start your project as ‘one-man show’, but it often turns into a collaborative work.

«Why do you think this moment is not the right time to start?»

People always fear to change themselves, and when you accept the fear, it captures your mind and doesn’t give you any chance to do something. It’s like you want to ask your boss to increase your salary and then you procrastinate for a month. If you delay this conversation, the chances are that it will never happen. If you want to fight your fear, just start to build your project!

Protect your passion from your fear. If your passion is traveling, combine it with the people’s problems and make a project out of it. If you have always dreamed of building robots, what the hell are you waiting for? Why do you think this moment is not the right time to start? Just learn anything you need to know about this, find the right people, and do it! Start with simple steps, learn, build, launch, and improve!

Getting started is the most difficult part. I need you to be ready for serious changes in your life. Then, I will help you with your next steps. In my next post, I will share with you my “Learn & Earn” method that will change your life completely in the same way I changed my own life. You have to be ready to change because you have only one life, and I’m sure you won’t have another one.

Today, you can subscribe to my private email list. Here I will share with you a lot of gems I discovered through the process of building the side-project. You will have training materials that helped me convert myself from a designer to a guy who can build and launch any project by himself without the help of a developer. I spent just a month learning everything I need to build a website.

Before I finish with my posts for an email list, I need your help, guys. What are your top questions about building a side-project that I need to answer in my next posts? Why you haven’t started yet?

P.S. I would really appreciate if you would share this post with the people who may find it useful.

P.P.S. Check a discussion on Product Hunt.

Vladimir Kudinov  —  Designer based in sunny California. Founder and writer at The Next Big Me.
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