How I Plan Side-projects Tasks

Mar 24, 2022 • 2 min read

I have always highly esteemed all those people who manage to carry out side projects with a certain regularity.

Whether it’s a blog, a newsletter, a personal website or a real product, finding the time to combine work (the official one), family / life (the real one) with everything else has always been a concern of mine.

For the past two years, I’ve blogged on my personal website, launched a newsletter, build a open-source project, run a workshop and have plans to do more each year.

To be able to keep up with everything — by regularly publishing content and news — I had to design an intelligent planning, capable of adapting to the commitments of real life.

1. Group tasks by categories

I created a list of projects and things to do by grouping them into 4 macro areas (or categories):

  1. Making - side projects, open source projects, anything that lands in something “real”
  2. Writing - blog, newsletter, social posts, books, etc
  3. Learning - courses and workshops, conf
  4. Teaching - workshop or online courses

These categories have become the todo app projects that I use every day (todolist):

task categories

Giving each category a color helps into distinguish them in your todo list.

2. Plan time slots, every week

To be sure of carrying out the activities of each project, I assigned a day slot to each project, i.e. 1 or more days a week to be reserved for the activities of that category.

Considering a 5-day week (I always exclude Saturdays and Sundays), I landed with the following planning:

  • 2 slot for Making
  • 2 slot for Writing
  • 1 slot for Learning and Teaching

A slot is a preset time box (half an hour, 1 hour, 2 hours). This assignment depends on effective amount of tasks I want to accomplish.

I try to keep it simple and flexible.

The plan should adapt to the official work load. Not the contrary.

3. Use a recurring schedule for tasks than span more days/weeks

I find pretty useful to set a recurring schedule for those tasks that don’t start and finish the same day.

I always struggled with organizing that kind of activities. I know when they start but don’t when finish. There isn’t an exact deadline too.

set deadline in todolist

In Todoist is pretty nice to use sentences for the deadline like “every 2 days” or “every Friday for 3 weeks”.

4. Plan the next week on Sunday

At the end of each week, I plan the next trying to follow the timing schema explained before.

Landing to this workflow requested time. I changed idea and organization lot of times.

It depends on you.

Feel free to use it and let me know how’s going.