If you're like me, you like making things. The question is, when are you making the things you're passionate about, and when are you just making more trouble for yourself? Hopefully my warworn analogy will resonate with you.
It's almost dinner time, you're hungry, and need to go the grocery store. You could take the bus or walk but you'd rather drive and, besides, what if you have to go every week? Obviously, you just need a car.
Renting isn't very cost efficient, but buying is tough because which car is perfect and has only the features YOU need? You research...
After a good, stomach-growling think about the perfect car, it dawns on you: You'll just build a car to your own specifications. Sure, it'll be tough, but you'll learn a lot and then you'll know how to build a car for like, the future....
I'll cut to the chase: 3 weeks later you die of starvation because you couldn't just get the fucking groceries. What happened? You tried to build a car in order to make dinner that night.
"That wouldn't have happened to me, I'm very rational"
—good job, you wouldn't have died because you'd have given up researching carburetors at midnight and ended up having a jar of peanut butter and stale tortillas for dinner. My congrats on your nutritional prowess but you're kindof just starving to death over your regular lifespan1.
And that's what happens sometimes with personal and work projects alike. A choice between regular options turns into a life-or-death hunt for the magic unicorn that shits winning lottery tickets. (image not available)
"But in my special case, I like building, that's the point."
If you found this side-project while trying to solve a Different problem, you probably aren't passionate about it. It's just what's in front of you and idle hands are the devil's power tools.
And if you REALLY want to build a car, make that your hobby, and do it when you have time to spare.
Just like a good selfie, perspective is key. Next time, ask yourself something:
In our contrived example, what are we *not* doing by building a car?
The obvious answer is "Getting to the grocery store", of course. But really we're avoiding:
- Getting to the grocery store
- Buying food
- Making dinner
- Finishing our website/novel/video/etc
- The rest of our lives
Which are probably all more important than entertaining a new hobby at 10pm, hungry. Remember those sort of things before you start building your next car, and maybe you'll just GTFG.
(3 hrs/week finding food) * (52 weeks/year) * (5 years) = 1 month of not eating ↩