How To Get Side Projects Done

Posted By: ryan On:

Photo by Mark Gunn

One of the blessings and curses of being a creative person is that I’m always coming up with new ideas. Not only can it become difficult to decide which ones to give my attention to, but my list of side projects can quickly become too long and burdensome. Some ideas that I still consider good and worthwhile get pushed farther and farther down the list by newer and shinier ones.

I have countless ideas for both purely artistic compositions (symphonies, string quartets, etc.) and business/career related projects (music library packs, website updates, unused instrument repairs, articles, etc.). The list gets bigger every day and there’s simply never going to be enough time to do it all. But there is a system I have experimented with on-and-off for several years that is extremely effective at chipping away at many of these “fun but not urgent” projects.

Without a system in place, I’ll just never get around to most of these projects. Client demands and deadline-driven work are always going to take first priority, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But as a result, these side projects aren’t going to happen unless I find a way to make them happen.

The system that has worked for me comes from Mark Forster and he calls it “The Final Version”. You have to go to his site to read the instructions, but I’ll just endorse that it works. With his system, I’ve been able to complete (or at least make progress on) many projects that would have otherwise forever sat on a list of “someday/maybe” wishes without ever seeing the light of day.

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