Lifestyle Personal Development Women in Tech

Why you need to make room for passion projects

Last Friday, June 21, was the first day of summer. I think back to being a kid during summer vacation. The days felt endless. Even though we could stay up much later than during school, we’d still go to bed when it was light outside.

Summer was playing outside catching frogs, riding my bike down the dirt roads, and spending lots of time with my horse. Summer was the smell of fresh hay, sunbathing on my horse’s back as he ate grass, leaning back on his rump watching the clouds roll by.

Summer was galloping through the water jump,

Chasing deer through the woods,

Playing tag on horseback with my friends.

Summer was also a time to work on projects. As a kid it meant reading all the books I wanted to that I didn’t have time during the school year. As I got older, my summer projects got more technical as I taught myself how to build web pages. I learned how to surf the web for CSS snippets and JavaScript to add a little splash to my sites.

By the time I was in college, summer started to lose its meaning. Time started to bleed from Winter semester classes to Spring semester classes. Summer freedom turned into summer jobs, internships, and working at my professors’ Robotics Lego Camp for girls. Instead of making time for projects in my infinite free time, I was looking to make time for fun instead.

I think summer is a great time to embrace a fun challenge. This week’s Women in Tech’s Twitter chat was all about projects. How we make time for projects outside of work and how we find the motivation to actually do them after a busy day.

5 Ways Women in Tech make Room for Passion Projects

This week’s Women in Tech Chat asked what personal, fun projects we make time for outside of work.

What are women in tech working on?

  • Blogs & Websites
  • Coding challenges like #100DaysofCode
  • Self-awareness & mind-fullness
  • Woodworking, singing, & writing

When do people have time for personal projects?

  • 5 PM sharp
  • Late evenings
  • The weekends
  • Whenever the mood strikes

What advice would you give to someone learning to code in their spare time?

  • As Nike says, “just do it”!
  • Find a community and support system
  • Have patience
  • Like having a gym buddy, make a code buddy
  • Start with one language and a passion project.
  • Watch for burnout, find mentors, and talk to business users

How much time do Women in Tech dedicate to projects they enjoy outside of work?

Fun projects range from volunteer committees to solo running.

  • 1 – 2 events a month
  • 25 – 30 minutes a day
  • 1 full day a week

What’s your excuse for not doing your passion project?

  • “I’ll do it next week”
  • “I’m too tired”
  • Going off schedule

Speaking of writing…

I think the project I want to write a blog post every day. I gave it a shot offline last year after I finished Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’. He suggested 1,000 – 2,000 words every day. Sit down at the same spot, at the same time with the window shades drawn, and write.

So, here’s to writing and challenging ourselves. Here’s to learning what we don’t know simply by trying.


Featured Photo by WOCinTech Chat via Flickr

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