A framework for managing focus on side projects

You probably have a few side projects or ideas you’ve been poking at, but not quite finishing. They tend to pile up, don’t they?

In my last yearly review I realised that I’ve started a lot more projects than I’ve completed in the last few years. And I still have a long list of projects I’d like to work on some day. But when do you start a new project, if the last one still isn’t finished?

Recently I read a tweet that reminded me of the excellent book: Show your work. And how that book actually has a solution for this problem.

You can start a new project, after you show the work you did on the last one.

Regardless of how far I came in the process, or how “finished” a project ends up being. As long as I publish what I did, or what I learned, that’s the end of it.

I can restart the work, or continue on the same idea at a later point. But that is a new project. And I get to chose which new project I want to work on.

This framework not only creates a lot more opportunities for me to start projects I’m exciting about, it also gives me incentive to stop projects I’m no longer inspired by.

Show your work, throw away all the old todos, and start something new.