The best time to work on your side projects

Shane Labs December 11, 2013 6

I have a full time job, and so do you. We get up early, commute to work, spend 8-10 hours on the job, and then come home exhausted. When do you really have time to work on your side projects?


Time is so limited – how do we get more?!

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given was by Jon Acuff, author of the book Quitter. In it he proposes that the ideal time to work on your projects is in the morning, before you go to work. Your brain is fresh, and your distractions are minimal. It really makes sense – except for the fact that your job requires you to be there by 8am, so there’s no time in the morning. So here’s what you do – you wake up earlier. If you already wake up at 6am to get to work on time, wake up at 5am. Yes, it’s tough, but try it – you’ll be surprised how much you can bang out in just an hour, knowing you only have an hour to work on stuff. It’ll not only require you to be productive, but it’ll actually give you a rush throughout the day knowing that you’ve accomplished something productive for yourself.

What about your full time job?

Are you tempted to work on your side project while at your full time job? I know I am. But I really think it’s important to not. Not only will it make you unproductive at work (which could jeopardizing your employment), but then there are legal gray areas since technically your employer owns whatever you create on their time. They’re paying you to be there, after all. Yes, sometimes I’ll slip and login to my side email and respond to a few messages, but you’ll never catch me coding on the side at my full time.

I must admit that I’m starting to let the morning work routine slide a bit. For about a year I was pretty consistent in hobby working before real work, but I just got married and also adopted a dog and not only does my wife hate when I wake up earlier but I’ve gotta take that canine on walks every morning. It’s really cramping my morning routine! I just picked up a Chromebook and am going to attempt to use my lunch breaks to work on side projects now. I’ve been doing it for about a week now, and I really like it (although people do question why I’m bringing a laptop to work). I think the important thing is just to set aside a time and stick to it every day!

So what about you guys – when do you find the time to work on your side projects?


  1. cotsog December 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Hey Shane!

    Great tip here!

    Out of curiosity, where are you taking your lunch breaks to work on your project? In office, coffee place, somewhere else?


    • Shane Labs December 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      Good question – I actually change it up. If I need internet, I go to the small sandwich shop in the same building as my office. But if I don’t, I’ll wander anywhere from the park to the side of the road, for a change of scenery. I haven’t done anything in office yet, as I’m careful to keep my professional and side efforts separate.

  2. hdaz February 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Take it your in the states ?

    “but then there are legal gray areas since technically your employer owns whatever you create on their time.”

    They probably own what you create outside of work as well.

    • Shane Labs February 4, 2014 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Haha, even more reason to get your side project successful!

  3. Rudolf May 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    I’ve been trying to find time to keep coding and in the evenings I’m definitely too exhausted. There are some nights, once every few weeks where the stars align and I can code for a few hours on my side project.

    It’s still annoying as heck to find that the only good time to work on a side project is in little bits and pieces and finding a nice 4 hour chunk of time on the weekends or warping my sleep cycle on some weekdays.

    • Shane Labs May 26, 2015 at 8:24 am - Reply

      I hear ya, even though the bits and pieces here and there add up, it’s tough to get any work done when they’re so choppy.

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