We’ve all heard the cliché “new year, new you.” But if you’re starting 2021 with the same job, same apartment, same routine, there’s a simple way to break the monotony: start to do some creative work on the side. That could mean sketching, designing your own graphics in Photoshop, starting a writing project, or picking up an instrument—whatever kind of creative project speaks to you.
For Ji Lee, a creative director at Facebook and Instagram, these kinds of side projects are critical to staying creative and not getting burned out with corporate clients. He posts a few illustrations based on current events or his personal life each week on his Instagram account. For Lee, it’s also been beneficial for his mental health. “The act of doing something for me by me is hugely beneficial,” he says. “I’m taking care of myself.” Here, Lee explains how he’s made personal side projects a part of his routine—and how you can too.
SIMPLIFY: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIFE-CHANGING
People tend to think of side projects as big undertakings, like writing a book, developing an app, or starting a business. But that’s the wrong tactic, according to Lee. Why put yourself under so much pressure? “My approach is a lot more simple than thinking about something that’s going to change your life or make you money,” he says. Rather, Lee approaches creative projects as a way to express his feelings about whatever’s happening in the world.