I would love to be in a position to blog full-time. I think many of my fellow creatives have similar aspirations. However, let's keep it real. I have real bills that the blog doesn't pay. As a result, I work a full-time job and blogging is my side hustle. I've been on my blogging journey for almost two years and have struggled to find a balance between my full-time job, home life, and other responsibilities. There have been times when I've experienced major blog burnout and disappeared from the social media streets.
Despite the struggles, I've been very calculated when it comes to spending time working on my blog and maintaining some sort of balance. I haven't perfected it, but I'm a long way from where I was. It's going to be quite some time before I can blog full-time, so I'm making the best and finding contentment and balance out of my current situation.
Are you currently juggling your 8-5 with your 5-9? If so, here's five tips to keep in mind.
1. Ask for Help When Needed. The weekdays are a huge struggle for me. My city hosts many media events which normally occur during the week. I can vividly recall one week where I attended three media events and was totally burned out by the time the third one rolled around. Between rushing out of work, fighting traffic, and a decrease in family time I knew I needed to make a change. After speaking with some other bloggers, I finally decided to bring on a contributor to help with some of the workload. Initially, I felt like a lame for asking for help. But by the time my contributor attended her first event, I felt a huge sense of relief. I even hired a VA to help with other tasks to alleviate the load. There's no shame in hiring a VA, contributor or an intern to assist with other tasks. Shoot, even Beyonce' has a team!
2. Use Your Full-Time Job To Your Advantage. Ok, I'm not advocating that you should start pumping out blog posts while on the clock, but look for moments during the day where you can get side hustle tasks during the work day. Can you find a few moments to post a social share? What about starting on a post or replying to emails during your lunch break? Start each work day by taking a few minutes to assess your workload at your full-time gig and assessing important side hustle tasks. I was recently introduced to Evernote and I access it during work to keep notes of blogging tasks. I also get in the habit of keeping my blogging supplies at my desk.
3. Schedule Downtime After Work. I use to instantly jump into ambitious boss lady mode the second that I arrived home from work. Every single minute after 5 pm felt precious, and I refused to waste even one. Nowadays, I take the time to take a break before I pull out my laptop. Give yourself a set amount of time to decompress before jumping into tasks. I try to set aside 30 minutes for a "brain break" and to regroup after a long work day at my full-time gig. Trust me, a few extra minutes of personal time shouldn't be the deciding factor on if you get something done or not.
4. Establish and Assess Tasks/Goals. Sunday isn't only designated as my day for worship but it also allows me to regroup and develop a schedule for the next week. Take a day to list out all of your tasks for the week. You can even start out small and create a daily list of tasks you need to accomplish. After listing out your tasks, review them and ask yourself if each one is attainable. Next, review each task and it assign it a number according to importance. Trust me, it can be easy to fall into a trap of setting unattainable goals, if you haven't considered your existing workload. Avoid trying to set the bar so high, that you you can't reach it within the allotted time.
Ensure that your goals follow the SMART Approach. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound.
5. Leave a Note by Your Bed Before You Go to Sleep. I know this sounds weird but I learned this strategy a few years ago during a leadership boot camp at my last employer. Before going to bed write a note to yourself that includes one goal. The goal could be something simple such as wanting to get to work 10 minutes early, setting time for study, exercising, etc. When you wake up in the morning read the note as soon as you wake up. Remind yourself of that goal throughout and follow through. Assess your progress through the end of the day.
6. Establish Work Hours. Trust me, I know it can be difficult to put the phone or laptop down. I used to have a bad habit of scrolling through social media and checking emails late a night. At one point, I had to start putting my laptop in another room to avoid the urge to open it up. After some conversations with my husband, I slowly began to pull back. Nowadays, I make an effort to pump the brakes on the side hustle at 10 pm. Be firm with yourself when it comes to setting work hours, and make your hours known to clients and colleagues. Your full-time gig isn't open 24 hours, and neither should your side hustle.
The struggle is real and I don't have the perfect balance but I'm proud of the progress I've made. Do you have any tips for managing your 9-5 with your 5-9? Drop a line in the comments and let me know.