When I started The Broken Glass Blog and pitched the idea (to myself) of a companion podcast, I knew it was going to take discipline to keep it on track. After attending the She Did It Her Way Summit and returning with an abundance of ideas to create a true business out of this blog, I knew it was going to take more than just discipline. I was 100% willing and committed to taking on the challenge of developing my side hustle so it could one day become my full time gig. I told myself that despite a full time job, classes, keeping myself physically and mentally fit, I could manage this and not let it fall through the cracks like other projects.
Then it happened. As I was already going full steam ahead, I was offered a promotion at my full time job. I readily accepted it for a multitude of reasons, but I accepted the position on a condition: that under no circumstances would I work from home after hours or on weekends. Work-life balance has become so important to me as I juggle multiple projects outside work while maintaining healthy eating habits and a fit lifestyle, and I assumed that if I kept to that same work schedule, everything would remain the same.
Each subsequent day sees me tearing apart the promise I made to myself. I'm exhausted at the end of the day. Mentally exhausted that is, which then translates to physical exhaustion because I just don't want to do anything. I have to make a change. My health - both mental and physical - is one of the most important things to me, and I'm not letting all of my hard work of the last year disappear just because I have a new role.
Managing the Exhaustion
One of the most important changes I'm making is to get back to self care. Taking care of yourself is the base of managing exhaustion. I'm lucky that my managers fully believe in work-life balance, stress management, and fitness. Here are some of the changes that help me positively manage my energy levels in my new role:
This is a big one. When you're hustling through a day job and find yourself absolutely exhausted when you get home, take a look at what time you're going to bed and getting up in the morning. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you burning the midnight oil with your side hustle and then waking before dawn for your day job? Try going to bed an hour or two earlier for a week and see how you feel. You may have more energy throughout the day and you may be more productive working on your side hustle in the evening.
Check your diet. Are you eating nutritious, whole foods? Or are you binging snacks, eating fast food, or indulging in ice cream every night? One of the biggest [things] that drags me down is is eating unhealthy or foods my body can't tolerate, such as gluten or dairy. When I carefully watch what I eat, eating whole, raw foods, I have [so much more] energy, focus, and motivation to work on the blog after work.
In Tips: Self-Care in a Hustle Environment I discussed how even a 10 minuted guided meditation through Headspace allows me to stop, relax, and clear my head. As responsibilities piled on, meditation became even more important in the last several weeks. I meditate in the morning, on my walks, and before I go to sleep. I even started going to Reiki meditation on Friday nights to pull out the negative energy from my body and replace it with positive, calm energy for the weekend.
Mapping out the day
Trello is one of my favorite productivity websites and apps (I use it for this blog and other business tasks) and I took that into work with me. I created a spreadsheet similar to Trello and each day I write each major project, breaks, lunches, and meetings in a "To Do" list. As I start projects, I move them into a "In Progress" column, and later into a "Completed" column when they're done. As I take my breaks and lunch, I delete that cell. It keeps it clean, I can clearly see what I've accomplished, and I'm far less stressed and disorganized during the day.
If you want to take it a step further, use your calendar to create time blocks of when you're going to work on particular projects at work, take your lunch, and even work on parts of your side hustle after work. You'll see exactly what you need to do that day and you've planned out how much time you'll spend on that project.
If you want more information on schedule locking for productivity, check out the She Did It Her Way Podcast Episode 267.
Finding the Motivation
One of the hindrances to working my business after work is a lack of motivation. I've stared at a computer screen for 8+ hours already, why would I want to spend another 2-3 hours after work looking at it again? Even after instituting the above changes, I get home from work and want to just veg with a glass of wine in front of the television. What can I do to push through another few hours? Get past the mental block and write from the heart? Interact with followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?
First, I have to want it. And I do, I want to build this community, inspire others, and help women looking for a foot in the door.
Second, I need to analyze my body and my mind. Am I past the point of exhaustion, both physically and mentally, or is it just laziness? If I'm past the point of exhaustion then I don't push it. I get dinner, relax, and maybe read for fun. But if it's laziness, or just a lack of wanting, then I push myself. I'll change my environment and find a place where I can sit, focus, and just work. Sometimes a change of scenery is all I need to motivate myself to work a few more hours.
Third, I don't burn the midnight oil. That may mean I only get an hour or two of work in, and that's fine. An hour or two of focused work with a good night's sleep is much more productive than several hours of distracted, unfocused work and a less than desirable amount of sleep, which just perpetuates the problem.
Work in Progress
It may look easy from the outside, but let me tell you - this is a work in progress. I'm always testing what works and what doesn't work, what makes me feel good and what burns me out. I probably won't ever have a rigid schedule for my side hustle while I work my full time job, and that's okay. I'm doing what's best for me: for my physical and mental health and my business.
What About You?
Do you have a side hustle with a full time job? What works for you?