I consider myself lucky in that I do a job I love, programming and working with code is something I really enjoy doing and as a website developer I get paid to do it but unfortunately I do not get to pick and choose the projects I work on – this means that I do not always enjoy each and every project especially when its just like the 10 other projects completed in the last month or is a subject that I am simply not interested in.
The same can be said for people in other professions such as artists, writers and other professions by putting restraints on the creativity and freedom of the activity there is always a chance of taking away the enjoyment, this is where personal projects come in – they give you the freedom to explore and create without the restraints of a ‘professional‘ project. This freedom is important because it not only helps keep and interest in the subject area as it reminds you why you enjoy it, but also gives you the chance to explore your skills and learn new things, and other personal endeavors for self-enrichment. Taking myself as an example personal projects have thought me massively more then all of the ‘professional’ projects put together as it gives me a chance to explore new programming methods and advance my understanding of others without worrying about project deadlines or client requirements.
All of the new skills developed during the personal projects can then be taken back and used on the professional projects benefiting your work as well as your skills because of this you can see why companies like Google give employees time of during the week the explore their own personal projects.
On the other hand because there are no deadlines in place completing the projects can take a long time but its not always about the final project but more about the things you learn along the way.