I get it. I balanced a full time job and calligraphy for more than a year. We only have 24 hours in a day and when you have a full time job, sometimes half of our day is spent getting ready for work, commuting, physically being at work (but maybe daydreaming of practicing calligraphy) and commuting back home. Then there’s the dogs to take out, a workout to squeeze in and dinner to make. Finally, it’s creative side hustle time. Maybe that means replying to emails, writing blogs or working on addressing envelopes. Now it’s midnight and you repeat this all tomorrow.
While you may not be able to quit next week, you can make more time to work on your side hustle during your busy day.
Here are five things you can do to make more time for what you’re really passionate about - even if you have a full time job.
1. Time Blocking
While your 9-5 is pretty consistent when you have a full time job, you can block out early mornings and evenings. I know, waking up earlier can be rough but if your goal is to eventually leave your full time job, some sacrifice (ie losing some sleep) may be necessary. Just think, it won’t be forever.
Maybe you block off 6am - 7am Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for admin things for your biz (emails, making sure Quickbooks is up to date etc). Or 9pm - 10pm Tuesdays and Thursdays becomes your time for practicing your craft. Once you hit the end time, STOP. You put in solid work and do need to rest.
Block your workday lunch hour too. Step away from your desk and use that time for yourself or to make client calls.
2. Plan Your Upcoming Week
Every Sunday night, grab a piece of paper or notebook and write down all the things you have to do. At first, don’t think about when you have to do something or the priority. Just write down anything that you need to accomplish that week - from replying to a specific email to beginning a larger project, even chores.
Then take a new piece of paper or new page in your workbook and assign each task to a day. I suggest no more than 3 “big” tasks per day - film a lettering video, reaching out to 5 potential partners, or getting 50 envelopes addressed. Then plug in your smaller tasks throughout the week.
It’s super tempting to continue down the list after you’ve completed the day’s tasks but don’t. You already have the day job and if you continue to do all the thangs for your biz, well - you could burn out faster. Feel amazing about yourself that you got through your tasks and save the rest of your tasks for their assign days.
3. Batch Your Days
This could look like this:
Admin Mondays, Content Tuesdays, Custom Work Wednesdays, Content Thursdays, Admin Fridays
Even if I have a client job that I’m going to have to work on all week, I set aside time on Mondays and Fridays to first make sure all emails are answered and bookkeeping is up to date. Then I work on that client job. And on Wednesday, well that’s one whole day where I can work on client orders.
4. Say No
Never say no to tacos, wine or puppies - but know what you will, and most importantly WILL NOT do. Your time is limited because your business is currently a side hustle and that’s ok! Just be firm in what kind of jobs you will take on and what kinds of clients you will not work with.
A last minute chalkboard sign that will cause you loss in sleep or a bride who wants you to write like someone else with a completely different style - just say no. Just. Say. No. You literally do not have time for things like this.
5. Use Your Lunch + Commute + Gym Time
Audio books? Business podcasts? Email/blog/IG caption drafts? Use your lunch, commute and gym time. For me, it was tough to leave my desk for lunch at my day job but I definitely took advantage of my commute on public transportation. I’d listen to podcasts and take notes as well as draft blogs. I’d listen to audiobooks at the gym.
Being a calligrapher, it’s difficult to bring ink and nibs on public transportation, so doing other things for my business filled my commutes + gym time. Heck, I’d even make sure my bookkeeping was up to date while on the ferry by using my Quickbooks app on my phone.
Find those pockets of time. Even if it’s 5 minutes as you wait for your coffee to brew. You could totally outline a blog draft in that time.
Bonus Tip - Weekends
I know. You deserve a break because you work so hard in both your day job and your own business. But know that you’re working so hard now so that you may not have to later. And if your goal is to leave your day job like my goal was - you do need to set aside some time on the weekends to work on your business.
I definitely don’t recommend 8 hours. But an hour or two while the kids are at a friends. Or asking your significant other to do the grocery shopping while you work? Those hours add up.
Have any other tips? Please share below.