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Side Projects

by Elliott Chen, an observer

I ve never been a fan of working on side projects, and it's bothered me for some time. It's frustrating to recognize my passivity when it comes to taking on projects outside of my regular work. As a developer, I know that tackling challenging projects beyond my comfort zone is one of the most effective ways to improve my skills. Many of my friends and colleagues have shared their rewarding experiences with paid side projects, showcasing the significant learning progress they've made. To be honest, I'm starting to find the idea appealing, but for some reason, I struggle to muster the motivation. I have to admit that sometimes I let laziness get the best of me.

I've come across the concept known as the "Overjustification Effect," which suggests that when an expected external incentive, such as money or prizes, is introduced, it can actually decrease a person's intrinsic motivation to perform a task. It's a phenomenon that I believe might be at the root of why I find working on side projects less rewarding.

With the Overjustification Effect in mind, I've intentionally chosen to work on projects with no external incentives or requirements. In fact, I've purposely kept my initial side projects simple and somewhat silly. The result has been a journey of self-discovery, where I've learned more about my own mindset and what motivates me. Above all, I've found that gaining knowledge and expertise is the most rewarding aspect for me.


Now I do like creating side projects and get awarded, guess what, people change, I do as well.

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