Working on side projects when you are busy

The only way to advance in the software development field is to constantly be working on your craft. Practice makes perfect, except you can never perfect anything in the development field. I personally think that is the most appealing aspect about development. You can never stop getting better, and it is quite addicting.

If you don’t have a day job in development you will need to work on your skills on your own time. It gets difficult trying to work on side projects after a long day of work. I currently work as a storage engineer and my schedule can be extremely hectic. For the most part I am on schedule 24/7 365 days a year. I do have my downtimes when I am at home not out in the field but I do training for my job. I don’t do development during what would be considered my working hours because it just seems unethical to me to be collecting a paycheck working on something outside of my company.

This of course can leave me with little free time. Between my job, family, and an energy filled husky; my days are filled. Some days I don’t have the energy to work on web development and I just want to sleep. I can heavily emphasize when I see posts online that talk about this topic. There was a time I was going to take a long break from web development and I decided against it. If I had stopped then I would lose a lot of the knowledge that I gained. I had to find another way.

Fortunately for me, the solution was easy. It is obvious in hindsight but I couldn’t see it at the time. I had a few hours each day that I spent hanging around. On average, I would have two hours of free time in the morning and two hours of free time during the night. On the weekends, I would have a little more time, about six hours, to work on my projects. All together there was thirty-two hours of free time I had. Close enough to consider it a second job.

It is easy to say you don’t have any free time, but it most scenarios that is not the case. I also had a bad habit that I needed to kick to get this schedule to work out for me. I didn’t like to program unless I had an entire day to devote to it. If it was past morning I would just make an excuse that I didn’t have enough time in the day to get as much work done as I wanted. That was stupid for many reasons but the main one is that I wouldn’t even spend twelve solid hours programming anyway; so I could not view it like that. Anyway, I am rambling a little too much. If you’re having similar issues that I had, try to make a schedule for yourself. Tweak it as much as you need too but stick with it. On another note, I landed my first client for a website redesign, hopefully it goes well.