Over the past few years I have noticed that I’ve been doing less and less personal projects. Coincidentally, I have also felt that my skill level has not increased at the same level as before. These two I believe go hand in hand, and not doing many personal projects is definitely due to perceived busy-ness or stress.
Personal projects are excellent for many reasons. To me the most important of them is that you get to connect with your inner passion for the field. In web development as in most fields, a personal project is also the place where you can try out the cutting-edge workflows and technologies, which you can then use for clients.
By doing more personal projects, not only do you get to have some fun, but you learn new things. As we know, learning new things and trying new things is the best if not only way to be a great developer/consultant/[insert job title here]. Especially as a consultant, it is my duty to try out different things and then advise and use the ones who I have found to work.
It comes as no great surprise that Google has become famous for their 20% time projects, where employees could use 20% of their time to build something cool. Not only am I convinced that this is great for their skill-set, it is also bound to result in some great new products that could potentially be good for business too.
As I started out saying, I’ve been doing less and less of these because of perceived “busy-ness”. Filling my schedule to full with client projects eventually means pushing yourself to the limit where work is almost not fun anymore. I do believe that scaling back and spending a little more time on personal projects and furthering your skills makes you a better professional.
To sum up. Doing projects outside of client work, or “work” in general has many added benefits. Not only does it add to your passion for the field but it helps you further your skills and become better at what you do. Scale back a little and get cracking on something fun!