When it comes to side projects, time management is very important. Instead of wasting precious time figuring out how to pick things up where you left off, you can mentally prepare during lulls throughout the day and hit the ground running come work time.
Photo by Fe Ilya
When you have a job and other commitments that take up most of your time and energy, side projects get shoved in the back of your brain most of the time. When you do finally have time to work on your side project, you spend a huge chunk of it figuring out what you were doing last time and what the next step is. Kah Keng Tay at Quora suggests you do the mental prep work before project time:
In the case of a side project, between the times you get to work on it, your ideas and thoughts often live in your biological memory, probably in medium to long-term storage. I've found that it takes time to get all that back into the forefront of your thinking and creative process, but it's a waste if that time could be spent actually working on your project. Instead, I'll spend my commute doing that deserialization, mentally getting ready a list of things I'd be able to do right away once I get home.
If you have a commute, need to run errands, or just have a few moments to yourself during day, use it to start piecing the puzzle back together. By the time you finally get to sit down with your side project, you'll know exactly how to start and waste no time at all. This way it will be much easier to hit your personal deadlines and see your hard work lead somewhere. Just make sure you mentally prepare during times when you don't need your mental power for something else.