No Time is the Best Time for a Passion Project

Are you coming alive?

Are you doing what you love in life? Does your work make you come alive? Are you pursuing your passion?

No? Why?

Because you need to make a living? Because you need to spend more time with your family? Because you think you’re not good enough at what you want to do?

If that’s you, I would argue that exactly what you need is a passion project. Because passion projects, done in the right way, don’t drain your energy, they generate energy.

But where’s the balance? How do you do what you love without going into debt? Without neglecting your family? Without making a total fool of yourself?

By giving.

You can only give from what you have.

Value can be extrinsic, like making money from your job. Or value can be intrinsic, like cleaning up a neighborhood park so people can together enjoy it. But when you’re chasing your passions, you need to realize that there’s no value out there. The value is in you.

When you follow your passions, don’t expect it to turn out to be some lucrative business, or to change the world. It just might do one of those things, but you can’t expect it to. All you can do is give. And in doing so, you can only give from what you have.

5 Tips for Getting Your Passion Project Done

I did this recently – I pursued a graphic design project that was a passion of mine since I was 12 years old. I created a skateboard brand.

How did I do it?

I knew I couldn’t spend my work hours on developing this brand, and I couldn’t spend my rest time on it either. Otherwise I’d be stealing time from myself, time that I truly needed to do what I have to do. Instead, I carved out a session of about 25 minutes (or one Pomodoro) each weekday at 8:30 PM.

Over the course of 4 weeks, I designed, and revised, a logo for my dream skateboarding brand.

Here are five points that helped me get my passion project done:

  1. I picked something. We can tend to have more than one passion, making it hard to know which one to pursue – even if we could. Although I have other passions outside of skateboarding (like music and cinema), I knew I had to start somewhere.
  2. I looked for the greatest return with the smallest investment – the low-hanging fruit. The GTD Workflow talks about filtering your work within the context of what you have the time and resources to do. For example, you might not have the time and resources to cut a full-length album in the studio. But you might have the time and resources to write one great song. So start with that.
  3. I didn’t use my work time – or my rest time. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need your rest – you’ll end up paying for it. Working on a passion project is not a waste of time. If anything, it refreshes your mind and actually generates energy for other things you need to work on. Consider investing some of your time into such a pursuit – even if it’s only 25 minutes. Also, beware using your work time on it. Your income-related work does not deserve to be skimped on, you’ll feel terrible with yourself for doing so.
  4. I worked on it daily. If you want to get it done, make it a habit, just like any other kind of work. This will force you to frame your project into bite-size steps that, in time, will show daily progression. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that you’re moving forward on the things you love every single work day.
  5. I didn’t move on to the next step until the previous step was done. Once you start cracking open your passions, you’ll be tempted to bite off more than you can chew – to tell yourself it’s now or never. It’s not now or never, but it is now. See if you can break down your passion projects into smaller passion projects – break them down as small as you can. This will equip you with incremental results that you can build upon, step by step.

So, what’s the next step for my skateboarding brand? As long as it’s within the context of what I can do – what I can give – I’ll shoot for that.

Take some time to figure out what makes you come alive, and what you can do about it within your abilities and resources. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day.

I doubt you can afford not to do it.

So what’s your passion? What makes you come alive? Is there any way I can help you with a passion project? Let me know in the comments below.