100 ideas project retrospective (2023)

6 minute read


A 100 days project is where you make something for 100 days straight. Where the goal is to make something every single day rather than trying to make something perfect. It’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.

Every year thousands of people attempt to do a 100 day project. Make something, then post a photo of it to social media for accountability. Search #The100DayProject hashtag on any social media site to find many others and their progress.


In 2015 I did #100DayDayProjects. Where I tried to make a new laser cut, 3D print, or CNC project every single day for 100 days. For more than three months it became the sole focus of my life. Every day after work I was down at my local maker space building projects.

Throughout this project I gained a deep understanding of how to use the laser cutter, CNC, and other “maker” tools. I learned what kind of projects work and what kind of projects I can get done in a single day. How to design for speed, and interaction. I gained many followers on social media, 20-50 comments a day on each post offering advice and encouragement.

After the project I ran a meetup for others in Vancouver that had also participated in the the100dayproject. We shared stories, and our varied projects.

100 day project 2015 group photo

The project was exhausting. Afterwards I was completely burned out. I stopped making anything else for the rest of the year. This burnout might have contributed to my dissatisfaction with VHS in early 2016. I swore I would never do something like that again.

I did a talk on this 100 day project project in 2020 for Pecha Kucha Burnaby called “Creative Progression: 100 days challenge to a 1 year project”

Some of my favorite projects were

The full list can be found here (2015) The 100 Day Project

100 ideas project

Time has a way of making you forget lessons of the past and repeat them.

Early 2023 I was looking for a project to dump time and energy into. I knew I was going to be traveling a lot for work this year, and didn’t have a new tool that I was excited about. Instead of making something physical I decided to come up with new possible project ideas every day for 100 days and solicit feedback. Then at the end of the 100 days I would choose the top few projects and implement them.

I was able to convinced 4 friends to join me in doing another #The100DayProject. Each of them had their own topic. Fiction story ideas, home improvement projects, music creation, development journal on a video game.

I remember thinking to myself that my topic of Ideation will not take a lot of effort. I was able to come up with 20 or so ideas on the first day of the project. So I expanded the scope. Each idea would include research, prior art, sketches and drawings, and some small market research. I also wanted to keep the quality higher than X with Y (Ebay but for hotel rooms) and in the realm of possibility (Ansible for cell phones aka “Philotic Parallax Instantaneous Communicator”).

With the expanded scope, and the limitations I put on myself each post took me 1-4 hours to research and write. All of these extra conditions and rules were entirely self imposed.

Over the course of the project I wrote 122,814 words or 412 pages of notes (and photos). Across the ~220 ideas. 100 of them were published and ~120 of them were scrapped because of low quality. To put that in perspective this is about 3x NaNoWriMo at 50,000 words, or twice the size of the average American novel.

Some of my favorite ideas were

The full list of ideas can be found here (2023) 100 ideas project

What went right

The social pressure and accountability from others helped keep me going even when I wanted to quit. The feedback from people helped expand and define the projects.

I lot of people have the same ideas that I had during this project. When talking to people who have the same ideas, I can point them to my blog post and they can see the research that I already have done.

I have a list of projects to work on in the next few years with the feedback from my social group on what ones I should do.

I have implemented 10 of the ideas so far.

What went wrong

Of the 5 of us that started only 2 of us completed the project and got to 100 posts. The others dropped out between the 20 and 50 day mark. The daily pace of it knocked most people out early.

I found it really hard to keep focused on ideation, when I just wanted to start implementing some of the ideas that I came up with.

One of the issue with this project was the timing. When I started this project I was also flying back and forth across the content, on site jobs and working ~14 hour days under high stress conditions (60+ hour weeks). I just didn’t have time for this project or the mental capacity with all the stress.

I had convinced a few friends to do this project with me. They were posting daily, and encouraging me to continue too. I saw the positive effects that this project was having on them and I wanted that to continue even at the expense of my own heath. So I kept going.

The extra effort that I put into research and expanding on each idea added a lot of unnecessary work. I put myself on a treadmill that I just couldn’t keep up with. Most of the extras I put into each project didn’t have the impact that I was hoping for. I wish I would have scrolled back the effort to something more sustainable.

TMI - I started this project and convinced other people to join me for the wrong reasons. I had just turned 40 (Mid life) and I had received a bunch of challenging news, things weren’t going my way on multiple fronts (Relationships, money, housing, family). All of these challenges were giving me a lot of anxiety. I was subconsciously looking for a way to escape (Flight) from the uncomfortable feelings (Threat response). I used this project as an excuse to keep busy and avoid dealing with the root causes of my anxiety. Once I started this project I couldn’t stop (high achiever problems) even when I knew it was causing me mental health issues. I kept telling myself that it’s almost done, and I can just suck it up (Willpower) for a few more weeks and deal with my issues afterwards. When the project was done I was entirely “burned out” on everything. I was no longer getting joy from things that used to give me pleasure. I didn’t feel anything. I did this to myself (Self-Flagellation). I was pessimistic about the future. I couldn’t bring myself to do any self care (Depression). Almost the exact same circumstance led me to do this project in 2015 with similar results (VHS exit). The Anxiety/Burnout/Depression Cycle describes this cycle well. In the later half of 2023 I got even more bad news (Friend’s death) and used it as an excuse to seek out some help. Help has been helpful.

Would I do this project again?

No, Never again!

No no no no

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