Why You Need Personal Projects

May 15, 2021
Personal Projects

For as long as I can remember I’ve been an artist. I took private classes as a child for 6-years, I went to art school, and to this day when I can’t process emotions I head back to my easel or a sketchbook. I think in paintings, I dream in color palettes and I’m always wondering what my next project could be. Yes, I’m a brand strategist and photographer, but I will always be more than that. Personal projects are the reminder that you are more than your job, and they’re a way to escape.

Why You Need A Personal Project

Aside from being a multifaceted person, personal projects allow us to escape our usual routine and enter into a new way of thinking. They expand our brain, provide rest for other parts of us, and allow creativity to take over, even if your personal project isn’t “creative.” It’s this stepping outside of our day-to-day work that creates space for new thoughts and emotions to arise. It’s the breathing room we all need to perform at our best.

When I sit in front of a blank piece of paper, that’s all I’m thinking about. Whether that’s excitement or fears, it’s all about that piece of paper. And as I go deep into a painting, mixing colors, fixing areas that don’t look or feel right, other thoughts come to mind, thoughts that have been stuck inside of me, unable to make themselves present but taking up energy and brain space. Like yoga, or running, or playing music, art also creates a release. It’s the space where I can heal from negative thinking or brainstorm from a new perspective. My personal project is another form of self-care.

Finding Your Personal Project

Maybe you’ve been playing the drums since you were a child, like my husband has. Or you love to knit. Perhaps you’ve had this feeling deep inside you, that you should start a garden or learn a new language. Or maybe, your personal project right now is raising good-hearted children who are healthy and happy. The idea of a personal project is to take you away from you day job. It’s meant to create space for you to think from a different perspective. But most importantly it should be a time you look forward to and that brings you joy–even if it’s hard sometimes.

Make Time For Your Personal Projects

Time feels like something we never have enough of. And yet, we all have 24-hours in a day. It’s how you choose to use it that counts. Maybe the 3-hours of Netflix in the evening can be replaced with an hour of painting. Or turn cooking into your personal project and learn to cook the cuisine you’ve always craved. Turn your personal project into a family affair so that everyone can be together as you create a garden, finish a puzzle, or start hiking all the neighborhoods in your area.

We can always create time for the things that matter to us. Make your personal project a priority and give 2-3 hours of time to it each week. Know that this time, on this project, is part of caring for yourself and making you into the person you want to be.

Your personal project can be almost anything, that’s why it’s personal. Decide what think you’ve always wanted to work on and pencil it into your calendar for at least 1 hour a week, more if you can manage it. This time, doing something you’re passionate about, will give you more energy and more space to dream. And as a business owner and just as a human being, it’s so important to have that space.

Katie Leigh is a brand strategist and photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. Her experience as a former graphic designer and former marketing director provide a unique perspective when it comes to your brand. Whether you want to get clear in your message and create a brand strategy that supports your work-life balance or need to update your website with photos that tell your story, Katie Leigh will help you get clear in your marketing and create sustainable practices to build the brand (and life!) of your dreams. Get the guide to work-life balance and more marketing resources here.