How personal projects kept the stress away in this trying time
No one could have ever predicted that their lives will be turned upside down in 2020. Now, everything is on pause.
As a self-proclaimed control freak who has a plan or a list for every hour of her life, I see canceled plans at this scale as a major pain point. Of course, there is more to this crisis than the disruption of the old “normal”, but I won’t get into anything morbid or depressing here — we’ve had enough of that.
Everyone deals with stress differently. Some signed up on TikTok, or scrolled endlessly on social media, or binged watched (i.e. KDramas) on streaming platforms.
I buried myself in personal projects. 👩🏻💻 It was only when I stopped working that I felt the pang of sadness, which is perfectly normal when in crisis mode.
So, in the first month of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the Philippines 🇵🇭, both my partner and I created the following products, keeping our minds preoccupied, and our days consistently productive.
Here's what we worked on.
Project #1: Fakepatrol.app ✅
Fake Patrol, my partner's passion project, was the first project we worked on during the ECQ. It's a website that helps users determine whether or not an article or post is fake. We created it as part of #HackPHQuarantine, a hackathon in the Philippines, but until now, we haven't heard from them 😂. But that's okay, we didn't do it just for the hackathon.
Initially, FakePatrol was intended to be a mobile app. However, Google Play hasn't approved it yet (it's been three weeks). Hence, we created the website to process requests in the meantime.
The road isn't without hiccups, but we got through it. And, we launched the product on ProductHunt. 😉
Project #2: ProductiveAtHome.club 🧠
ProductiveAtHome 🧠 is my passion project. It's a platform where people can share their knowledge and learn something new interactively for free. I’ve had this idea since late last year, so I was ecstatic.
😂 Funny story: I posted the wrong link on my submission for PH’s Makers Festival. If you look for ProductiveAtHome here and click on the link, it will show nothing because of a typo 😅 on the link. There’s a ‘t’ before “https”. 🤦♀️
I was so excited to launch ProductiveAtHome 🧠, to share “my baby” to the world, I couldn’t sleep. That excitement and determination helped me see this project through to completion.
How working on personal projects helped kept me sane
Remember when I said I felt the pang of sadness? Well, the week after releasing those products, I was on strict hiatus. I permitted myself to relax, meaning, after-work activities should not entail making products.
A couple of days in, I felt melancholy, but I couldn't understand it at first. The reality of the lack of normalcy, the isolation, they're finally dawning on me.
Eventually, I learned to deal with those feelings, realizing that ironically, the relaxation time wasn't good for me. I was better off building the next website or app. Keeping busy was keeping me sane. 👩🏻💻
Here's how my personal projects helped keep my sanity and positivity intact.
#1: Working on them meant I was offline most of the time. This kept the negativity away 💁🏻♀️
Keen to launch as soon as possible, we had to work for two weeks straight on top of our day jobs. We didn’t have time to scroll mindlessly on social media, where stress and negativity thrived. We had to disconnect.
Out of sight, out of mind. With this form of detachment, I only allowed myself a 15-minute-maximum online time to check COVID stats and skim current events. The rest, I deemed as mere unnecessary distractions from the goal — product launch 🚀.
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. And that’s okay. It’s always okay to protect your mental health.
#2: To “begin with the end in mind” is to leave little room for distractions 🙈
On top of disconnecting from social media, we limited our time on streaming platforms, too.
When you are so focused on your goals, you will do everything in your power to achieve them. So, eliminating these distractions weren’t difficult.
We are so keen to launch, we did nothing else but code. Other than completing the project, we didn’t give anything else the time of day.
#3: Hitting milestones and building products meant ending each day satisfied 😌
There is no doubt that happiness affects productivity. And I was in a productive loop: Eat, sleep, code.
I had a list for everything — modules, marketing, bugs, plus a daily to-do list. On most days, I feel accomplished and satisfied as I tick everything on the list. That sense of achievement kept me happy and motivated me to keep working. Thus, reinforcing points 1 and 2 above.
It's clear to me that on top of additional activities like talking with friends & family, pampering myself and the like, my true calling is creating more products, doing more work precisely because it doesn't feel like work.
And so, I've decided to finally set up a blog for Tech, Business, and Professional Development, and buying a domain with my name on it.
Now here we are...
Throughout the first month of the ECQ, I kept myself busy 🐝 by devoting most of my time to developing products. Such tenacity and determination gave birth to 2 products: ProductiveAtHome and FakePatrol.
The products themselves were a constructive distraction from the harsh reality that nothing will ever be the same again — this is the new “normal”.
My next personal project is now adding more relevant content to this blog. 🤓
Find your own “sanity project”
A sanity project is any activity that helps you keep your sanity. Don't bother googling. I made it up 😜.
The best way for all of us to cope with the global crisis that is COVID-19 is to keep busy — sign up for classes, host video calls, talk to your friends and family, minimize your time on social media, dance on TikTok, watch movies & series, volunteer, donate (time or money, you choose), exercise, do yoga, etc. Balance the productivity 💪🏼 and relaxation 🛀🏻
My personal projects are what kept me sane and happy. I urge you start one. 😉
- Do something productive ✅ every day, but always leave room for downtimes.
- Don’t try to do everything at once. 🏋🏻♂️💃🏻📚🏓🎹🎨🎸🎮
- Focus 👁 on one thing at a time.
- Most importantly, don't force yourself. Do something you enjoy and it will be a breeze 💨.
Keep sane and stay at home. I know we will get through this, we just have to be patient. 😊
ProductiveAtHome.club is a productivity site I
started with my partner under our startup, SevTech,
Inc. Sign up on the
site! You can also connect with us on
FakePatrol.app is a mobile app (pending approval) turned website my partner started with myself under our startup, SevTech, Inc. Sign up on the site! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, ProductHunt.