You can add balance and side-hustle to the buzz words of 2019 because everyone is talking about them, but what is balance, and is it possible to achieve while working a traditional nine-to-five and going after your dreams? Balance, like success, is individual; how you identify with it in your life may be different than others, but there are common threads and practices many people who are juggling parenthood, corporate work, side-hustles, and social lives are doing to maintain some stability and normalcy.
Let's be honest; the days of having a single, secure nine-to-five are over. Most of us have a side-hustle—a job, or several alongside the [main] source of income that fuels your creativity and supports your dreams. Like most, I, myself have a few hustles that are supporting my dreams and feeding my creativity, and when most people find out the number of things I'm working on, they always ask; how I find the time, and if I'm missing the work-life balance many of us crave. The truth is, some days are better than others; there are days when I'm killing it at my nine-to-five, and my content is falling to the side, or I've spent all night, and early morning working on content that I'm too burnt out to focus at my nine-to-five. It truly is about managing your time and finding the balance to work and create without getting burnt out, so if you're stuck trying to achieve work-life balance with a side-hustle, keep reading for five practices you can execute today.
Wake Up Earlier
If you do not have a morning routine that starts with you waking up early, I can promise you; you're missing out on valuable time. Mornings should start the night before; as most of you know (or maybe not), I plan for everything; I encourage you to write out your to-do list the night before, these items will depend on your lifestyle and schedule, but should include work that feeds your mind, body, soul, and side-hustle. Give yourself at least 90-minutes to 2-hours before heading to your nine-to-five to work on everything that fuels your spirit. For me, this includes the gym, meditation, and writing my gratitude list before I jump into creating content; my routine varies some days, but not often; consistency is what will keep you on track day-to-day.
In addition to your morning routine, I encourage you to create a solid evening one as well. Your evening routine will be two-fold; it will be time dedicated to your side-hustle and time set-aside preparing for your morning routine. I know it sounds like a lot, but you want to make the most of your time, especially if turning your side-hustle into your [main] source of income is your goal. Building a regular morning and evening routine will undoubtedly increase your productivity, and you will see the quality of your day increase.
We are on information overload; everything demands our attention—emails, text messages, social media, TV, and kids, but in reality, more than one of these things is going to demand more attention over the other. Finding the balance to maintain each requires us to remove distractions and those outside forces that will try and deter you from staying on track. I encourage you to lean towards a minimalist approach to living because it requires you to let go of all unnecessary items you [may] identify with; now, this doesn't mean to throw out your TV and disconnect your phone but create a space that allows you to remain focused and on track. With items such as these, it also requires balance; if you're always watching TV and on your phone, you can expect other things like your side-hustle to fall to the side.
I'm easily distracted; I found myself writing with the TV on as background noise—a terrible idea and am also guilty of picking up my phone too many times while trying to get work done. Now, I put time limits on my phone, so I can monitor how many hours a day I'm spending on different apps, and will also put my phone on 'do not disturb' to remove the distraction of notifications; being aware of what distracts me has helped me eliminate and give balance to those things that are more important.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Understanding what's a priority and the ability to prioritize are key elements in being organized, and this will lead you to create the balance that you need when it comes to balancing multiple jobs. To effectively do this, you'll need to recognize the difference between the important, urgent, and this can wait until later tasks. Before you even begin, I encourage you to follow these quick five tips for prioritizing:
Write a full to-do list without worrying about order; write down everything you think you can complete in one day.
The next step is to identify if you have any tasks that need immediate attention; those tasks that will have a [negative] impact on your business and work.
Next, identify your important work and those tasks that carry the highest value to your business; this will be different than those tasks that need your immediate attention.
If you have tasks on your list that will take more than an hour to complete, you'll want to finish these first since they will require more effort.
No to-do list is perfect, and as you're working through it, you'll need to be flexible, and okay with your priorities changing especially when you're working on your side-hustle at random hours.
It goes without saying, and it's clear by this post that we're all strapped for time. One of the most important things I've learned while trying to maintain a full-time job and a side-hustle is to batch my work. Batching is a productivity concept that allows you to have a laser focus on one set of specific tasks. For example; if you're a writer or blogger, you’ll write all of your posts on one day, edit another, and shot the images for it the next. Batching allows you to break down the components of a complete task and tackle each component together individually. Doing this over time creates consistency and a routine that will help you balance your nine-to-five and side-hustle.
I discovered batching about three years ago, and it's what has allowed me to remain consistent in pushing our blog content. Though I've scaled back to focus on quality vs. quantity, I'm still following this process to create all types of content and maintain a healthy workflow.
Leverage Your “Free” Time
No time is free, but we all have those moments when we're endlessly scrolling social media or watching our favorite housewives episode when we could be working on that email that needs to be sent or finishing up that article so you can hit publish. Think of the moments throughout your day when you have moments of idle time that you can dedicate to your side-hustle. These moments will be valuable because you'll focus on getting work done, once your work is done, you'll have the downtime to explore anything else you want. I, personally, try to use every minute of my day to get work done, so I have [uninterrupted] time to spend with my partner, family, and friends.
Managing your time can be like having another job, but once you create a consistent routine and your [own] flow, you will be able to find the perfect balance between your nine-to-five and side-hustle until it becomes your full-time gig. Continue to Live Your Life in Style and always Be Inspired.