In today’s world, it seems like so many of us have a side job–or even two–which begs the question, “How does one maintain balance when juggling a full-time job with a side hustle?” For me, that side hustle means blogging, but for you, it might mean something different. Perhaps you make extra money baking cupcakes, or maybe you’re a fitness consultant, or, like my girl Kim, maybe you’ve just launched your business as a wedding and event planner. For most of us, our side jobs are the ones we are most passionate about but, for one reason or another, we’re unable to pursue those passions full-time.
Juggling between the two often means late nights writing posts, and Sundays spent taking and editing photos. It can mean writing a post for tomorrow, after already working a 12-hour day (which is what I’m doing right now). But, because these side jobs are labors of love, the late nights and weekends working don’t actually feel like work. Instead, they’re the creative outlets that satisfy us in a way our normal 9-to-5’s do not.
Nonetheless, it’s important to make sure that, above all else, we’re taking care of ourselves, so that we can continue rocking our side hustles while also being the A+ employees that we undoubtedly all are. I’m not going to claim to be an expert in this area–in fact, I’m far from it. BUT, there are a few things I do that help me maintain my sanity when things feel the most crazy.
1. Make a manageable list.
Who doesn’t love a good list? I probably couldn’t function if I lost my planner. For me, writing something down and being able to cross it off gives me that sense of accomplishment, and proves that I’m getting things done. With my lists, I try really hard to limit them to only what is manageable. To give myself a list of 20 things to do in the two hours I’m home in the evening is unreasonable, and will end up making me feel overwhelmed… which will lead to procrastination. (Anyone else procrastinate when they’re overwhelmed?) I use this planner, which only has about 5 lines per day, and I use that as my limit. If I already have a list of 5 tasks for the day, the next task gets bumped to the following day.
2. Perform tasks in batches.
This piece of advice was given to me at the start of the year, and it’s probably the single most valuable thing I’ve been told in terms of balance. It seems so obvious now, especially given all of my training on lean process improvement, but, because I wasn’t sufficiently planning, I wasn’t able to batch process my tasks. Instead of designating specific days and times for taking photos, editing photos, and writing copy for multiple posts, I would take photos, edit them, and write copy for a single post all in one day. This way of functioning felt so reactive and not at all proactive. Performing my tasks in batches has been the greatest help to me in terms of having more time to breathe. Which brings me to my next point…
3. Take the time to plan.
For both my photography business and my blog, I set aside time at the beginning of the month to plan my schedule for the next 3o days. I take a global look at my calendar, and try to plan content in a way that makes sense, taking into account upcoming holidays, planned collaborations, and store launches. I’ll be honest, this part is tough, but it makes my life so much easier in the long run.
4. Set aside social time…
This can actually be really hard for me because, as a perfectionist, it’s so easy for me to work myself to death. I have to make a conscious effort to “unplug” and be present with family and friends. Arnie and I usually plan one date night out a week and, during that time, I like to keep my phone off the table (although, if we’re being totally honest, it’s usually after I’ve taken a picture of my meal). More and more, I’m also trying to allow myself “nights off” where I leave work “early” (as in, I don’t put in extra hours), and just go to a happy hour, or attend an event with friends. I usually feel a bit of guilt in not accomplishing everything I need to, but it’s always so worth it to disconnect and have time with friends.
5. …and some alone time.
I’m naturally an introvert and generally prefer quiet, solitary hobbies, so this one is easy for me. If you’re not, you might not necessarily appreciate the benefit of some alone time, but it’s so helpful to write in a journal, read a book, or take a yoga class. Every now and then, I’ll also treat myself to a mani/pedi or a facial, some sort of pampering that makes me feel good and recharged afterwards.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are weeks where I just feel exhausted by everything that’s going on. On those weeks, I think you just have to give yourself a break, figuratively and literally. Take a day off, or heck, take a week off. I’ve had to do this multiple times when blogging and work became too much. At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself. Pay attention to your body and listen to what it’s telling you. After all, you can’t do all of these great things if you’re making yourself sick.
Do you guys have tips or tricks that help you to maintain balance? I’m always looking for anything that will help me become more efficient, so I would love to hear your stories. Please share them in the comments below, or feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aside from that, I hope you all have wonderful weekends!