This year as part of my concentration on improving my work, I started Project-a-month: I commit to start and create one new project every month.  These projects will be personal projects and can be in any medium. Ideally they should be completed within that month, but I have to accept it might not always be technically possible. This doesn’t mean that at the end of the month if I have not completed the project I will leave it. I will continue working on it as long as it’s a workable idea. Who knows maybe come July I will be working on six projects! I hope not. All these projects will only be fun if I am enjoying working on them and not putting too much pressure on myself to finish them.

Why would I want to do that ?

As a freelance designer I don’t always get the opportunity to do really creative work, simply because I cannot dictate what I’m working on. In the past any side projects I have done, have given me the freedom and creative challenge that I wouldn’t have had from any work-related jobs. I find personal projects help you grow in ways that work-related projects don’t. They are a way to practice and sharpen existing skills, add interest to your work routine and learn new things.

In addition the personal projects allow you to discipline yourself, control your goals and the level of effort put into it. In order to accomplish something out of it, a personal project should have goals, but it should also provide a way to work on skills or express yourself that falls outside of what you do for a living.

What is a personal project?

All the projects I will work on will be personal projects, something that is not directly related to my job and is not too big that I cannot manage myself. Will have creativity, flexibility and fun to work on, which means I have complete control over it and work in any way I want to with it.

If they are good enough to turn into work-related and maybe get payment for it, then that’s a bonus.

Here is an excellent example of the positive that can come out of personal projects. Video  from the Behance Conference: Ji Lee on The Transformative Power of Personal Projects.