Side Quests - Why Small Projects Are Important

Since a month, I have been obsessing about making my home better - storage, organization, decor, fixing broken and ugly things and lot more. I have been pinning hell lot of ideas about it on pinterest like a maniac. I have a fixation problem - I get obsessed with a single thing from time to time - which my family calls a "phase". My entire life is just a series of such phases, sometimes repeating themselves at different time periods. Once I have exhausted my brain of all the ideas that can be implemented and the phase is over, I get into this existential crisis mode. I see the actual problems of my life, I chide myself for focusing on the wrong things and wasting away my life. But today, when my home looked put together, I was happy how it all looked a lot like I wanted it to look(or like the pinterest images). 

Side Projects
Side Projects

This one month- I had a purpose to get out of the bed, apart from the reason that I need to work. My mind was focused on something - it wasn't focused on negative thoughts, it wasn't even directed inwards and running a self-abusing running commentary, it had a quest to fulfill which dominated everything else. It doesn't mean that now I am going to dedicate my life to interior designing, I can see this side project already ending in couple of days. But the point is - the side quest can be anything - reading 52 books in a year, obsessing over wardrobe, decluttering everything, learning everything about investing, writing a book for nanowrimo, planning a vacation, pouring all my energy and time in planning birthday gifts, learning to draw and many more 30 day challenges. Even if they feel like an enormous waste of time when I look at the important pending things of my life, they have been the driving force for me to get out of bed and be - normal.

Side quests are not just to fill in the time that would otherwise be spent in negative thinking, but they are also a refreshing break from the routine.
"Sometimes the best way to deal with disappointment in one arena is to accomplish something else"(Donna from Suits) - the success of these little side projects sure does give us a little boost.

Side projects can be your source of serendipity. Many side projects like gmail or twitter are now irreplaceable. They can be anything of any scale - with just some set goals/vision in your mind.

I have read the book Ikigai last year and the point of it is that Japanese people manage to live longer, because they have a purpose- ikigai to get out of the bed. They never retire from working on one or the other job, whatever their age and body will let them. They stay active and many grow their own vegetables and fruits.

As I have written earlier in "Jack of all trades or master of one", having a single-mindedness approach may not be for everyone. It's okay to focus on side projects. Obsessing over anything and ignoring the actual priorities of our life will do us no good. But if we can balance it all out, these side projects can keep you ticking, so that you can focus on your priorities without being burned out.

Don't let anyone, especially yourself, make you feel bad for focusing on your own side projects. They can be your saviors, especially when you are overwhelmed with all the big things.


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