We all have them. They sit at home eagerly awaiting our return. They’re the book we wanted to write, the landscape we wanted to paint, the song we wanted to record. They’re our pet projects, and they’re an endangered species. When we’re working, we pamper every project like it’s a purebred show-poodle. Then we return home and leave our pet project munching on its own turds in the corner.
I get it. We work hard. We go home, and we’re tired. But if we’re not careful, that pet project will wither up and die—taking more with it than you think. Here’s why you should care about your pet project:
1. Your pet project connects you with the reason you got into the industry.
Strategies, ads, logos—we’re in the marketing industry because we like to create things. When we spend too much time mired down in deadlines, budgets and meetings, we tend to forget this. The best way to remind yourself is to constantly make stuff for the pure joy of making stuff. Just like you used to. Give your pet project some attention.
2. Your pet project will teach you new things.
When you first find it, your pet project is a motley pipe-dream. It might be something you’ve never done before, or taking an existing skill in a new direction. As you take steps to accomplish it, you start to learn. It could be a class you have to take, a workshop you attend to refine an idea, or just developing the discipline to sit down and do it. The skills you pick up will make you better at work and help you on your next pet project.
3. Your pet project will help you live a fuller life.
While lying on their deathbed no one has ever said, “I wish I would’ve watched more episodes of Ink Master.” Your pet project will get you off the couch and into the things that will add to your life, instead of the distractions that just occupy it.
4. Your pet project will inspire other pet projects.
Nothing is more inspirational than seeing someone complete one of their dreams—no matter how big or small it is. Go out and finish yours. You never know who or what your pet project will inspire.