I had dinner with a friend last week where we chatted about all of the creative projects we wanted to focus on in the coming months. My friend specific mentioned wanted to put more time and energy into refining her blog content and really getting strategic.
The only problem: there was no time to be put into the blog. And when you pair running a blog with freelancing and a full-time 9-5 career, extra energy can be hard to come by, too.
This issue isn’t uncommon with creatives who are balancing a side hustle with their full time gig. In fact, if you’re reading this blog you’re probably doing so in hopes of adding a bit more balance in your life between work, side hustling and doing the things you love.
It get it.
I completely understood where my friend was coming from. Of course finding extra time and energy to work on your passion project is hard. No matter how you try to flip it, we’re only given 24 hours in a day and we can’t work through all of them.
I talk a lot on this blog about balance and setting boundaries in your life. Things like not falling to sleep on your phone/computer and not checking emails as soon as you wake up. But the fact of the matter is, you just have to be flexible. Especially when you’re trying to get a new project off the ground while working full time on other commitments.
You have to make some sacrifices (that will hopefully all be worth it) and pay yourself back later. Sometimes, you have to make time when there’s no time.
Here are some ways you can make time out of no time, without driving yourself absolutely insane in the process:
Plot your late nights and early mornings
Depending on when and how you work best, you will likely need to put in some late nights or early mornings. Likely, a combination of both. I hate when this happens, because sleep is pretty crucial to me, but during the rebrand I definitely gave up a few hours of z’s in order to get things done.
Plotting these days and nights out helps a lot. Sometimes, no matter how hard you plan you won’t be able to fit everything into your typical schedule. Check your calendar for days and weeks where it’s okay to be a little short on sleep. Try to take advantage of those days to get ahead in your work so that when you’re bogged down with other commitments, you won’t feel that things still aren’t being taken care of.
Put something on the back burner
My favorite quote from Shonda Rimes’ book Year of Yes (which I highly recommend) goes something like “when I’m doing well in one area of my life, I’m ultimately failing in another.”
I don’t think any statement rings truer for me. During the rebrand, I definitely wasn’t as present in other areas because I was so focused on bringing SPoT to life. I didn’t have time to show up to happy hours and definitely declined lots of invites from friends to use my free time to work on content and give feedback to my designer. I read less books, spent less money (on things not for the blog….hello new camera) and spent more time on the site and content than any other passion project (like planning in person workshops).
Don’t try to bear it all at once. You can do anything, but not everything and putting some projects on the back burner for a season will free up time to focus on whatever needs to take priority in your life.
Become insanely organized
If you aren’t an organized person, now is the time to make a change. Find a system that works for you and stick to it. Use a digital calendar, paper planner or bullet journal. Whatever helps you to plan effectively and keep your projects in order.
This includes personal projects! Some things just can’t be put on the back burner, like remember to pick up medicines or seeing the dentist.
Create a simple, easy to maintain system that keeps you in line, on time and one step ahead of yourself.
I use a paper planner to organize my deadlines, dates and reminders so that I know what has to be done, when and where I should show up and any to-dos that require attention. I make a list every single day, usually more than one, to help me put action items right in front of me –and to help me feel a sense of accomplishment when I finally cross something off of the list.
Set boundaries and be realistic
I’ve mentioned that times where you’re making time out of no time will require a great deal of sacrifice. Losing sleep, saying no to fun opportunities or other projects. And yes, flexibility matters a lot.
But it’s still so important that you set boundaries with yourself and others during times like these and all of the time. What are your hard no’s? What are things you cannot sacrifice regardless of what project needs your attention? If we aren’t careful, we can lose ourselves while launching our passion projects because we become so absorbed in them.
Find your balance, get through the work as best as you can and remember to grant yourself some grace along the way.
Tuesday To-Do is a weekly column on the blog where I share an actionable productivity hack to get your week on track, even if your Monday wasn’t productive.