Side projects can be an extremely exciting, exhilarating, and fulfilling endeavor. However, whether you’re an employee at a full-time job, or a freelancer with clients, you’ll inevitably run into creative blocks or other types of obstacles as you’re wrapping up and getting ready to launch.

Instead of quitting your job, take a vacation to push through the barriers or lay those difficult final touches on the project. Threadnote co-founder Bryan Clark shares:

When you’re stuck on a project, there’s only one way out: push through it. I was finishing up a year-long project at work, so I put in for two weeks of time off. Normally I’d relax, but this wasn’t a vacation: I wanted to finish the tough bits and ship the app. As cheesy as the name is, I called it my “MakeCation”.

I woke up at the usual time, headed to a cafe, and worked on our app as if it were a full-time job. I only needed three things: Wi-Fi, Xcode, and OmniFocus. Those ten days led to an app that was nearly done, and a few weeks later, Ryan and I launched our app.

We’re often told to “just ship it”; there’s a notion that quality can be built in later. With an app, though, you only get one launch day.

For us, the MakeCation was a way to refine the product without delaying our launch. It’s not that we launched the app earlier; it’s that we launched the app better.

Clark’s MakeCation freed his bandwidth up enough for him to make the final push and build an app he and his co-founder could be proud of. While it doesn’t have to be perfect, it should be functional and just a bit delightful to users: take a MakeCation to finish off your side project and launch it.

  • danlucraft

    I just started a week-long MakeCation today! Have made excellent progress too. Great name!

  • Tracy Durnell

    I’ve done a couple of these, though not for a launch – I called them ‘creative staycations’ but I think I like MakeCation better 🙂 I shared some thoughts about how to do it successfully on my blog:

  • Peter Tubbs

    I do this a couple times a year, although it is often for non-work/professional projects: replacing the low-grade wood trim in the kitchen with something that matches the rest of the house, ripping out lawn and planting a garden, etc.

    The keys: No wife, no kids, no laundry, pre-made lunch (no excuse to shut down for 90 minutes), something motivating to listen to, and a hard freaking deadline (i.e. Friday, 5PM, so I can go to dinner with said family).

    I need to do this for something related to the day job. I might learn something.

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