How I (Attempt To) Balance My Career and my 9 to 5
“Aysia, where do you find time in day to do all these things?!?!??!” is a question I get at least once a day, so I figured I’d write about it and put these comments to rest… for a week or so! Let’s start from the beginning. If you take away nothing else from this entire post, at least take away the lesson from the title. It’s the most important part and there are a few things about it that I’d like to point out…
- Adding “(Attempt to)” is crucial. I’m by no means an expert in balance and we all slip up. Moreover, I don’t believe in finding a perfect balance between life’s parts. Some moments or people or situations will require more effort and become momentarily dominant in your life, thus overshadowing the other parts. That’s just the nature of the beast. However, I DO believe in learning how to recognize and redirect when a particular aspect is unhealthily dominant for too long.
- “My Career” Vs. “My 9 to 5.” Getting into the mindset of this next point has been the most impactful productivity booster yet. I now 110% consider being a professional people-gatherer my career, by business, and my life plan. I introduce myself by this, not my 9 to 5. My day job still plays an important role in my entrepreneurial path at the moment, but I don’t personally identify with it. For me, it’s a means to an end and certainly temporary. Making this distinction puts a massive fire under me. If I slack in my career, I won’t progress and tomorrow will look just like today and yesterday. Simple as that!
Now keeping the two points above in mind, let’s dig into the more nitty gritty details of how I attempt to balance my career and my 9 to 5. For me, it’s all about those ever important daily habits.
- I choose to have a low-stress 9 to 5. Building a business is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining, so I need to keep my gas tank as full as possible until 5pm arrives. Once the clock hits 5pm, I go full speed ahead and start running on “E” around midnight. Are ya tired of this car analogy yet? Having a full-time job that I don’t have to worry about once I leave the office allows me to dedicate myself and the remaining 128 hours of my week to building my career.
- Prioritizing down time and self-care. Because I spend nearly all my hours working one place or another, I can get really tired. My eyes get tired from staring at screens for 17 hours a day, my body gets tired from running around the city, and my mind gets tired from thinking about business constantly. When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I read, make myself a fancy dinner, go to church, have a spa night, or sleep (Has anyone read Ariana Huffington’s book The Sleep Revolution?) and I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I know that my work will be higher quality once I am properly rejuvenated – mind, body, and spirit.
- Not sitting down when I get home from my 9 to 5. My couch is my kryptonite after a long day. I know that if I sit down when I get home, I probably won’t get up again until 9 o’clock. Instead, I try to jump straight into the next activity or sit at my table where I know I won’t fall asleep.
- Understanding my best hours. I am a morning person through and through. My brain is sharpest from 8am to about 2pm, so on the weekends I wake up early to work. During the weekdays, I usually don’t push myself to stay up all hours of the night because I know I’ll have to review whatever it is in the morning (it will be riddled in tiny, dumb errors). So after 10:30pm or so, I call it quits. This allows me to get a decent amount of sleep, too.
- Finally, figuring out ways to work smarter, not harder. I’m going to be very transparent in sharing a personal case study with you all. Until a few weeks ago, I was spending at least 3 hours a day interacting on Instagram… liking, commenting, following, messaging, etc. I knew that the Instagram God’s (aka algorithms) work best for interactive accounts, so I was doing everything to stay active. However, this was taking up 3 valuable hours that I could be working on something else less tedious. I told my boyfriend about my conundrum and he told me about Instagress. Side note – the common thread in my entrepreneurial journey thus far is some of “my” best ideas are definitely his. Okay, continuing. Instagress is a website that will interact on your behalf and only exactly how you want it to. I entered the specific hashtags I want it to like and a few other filters, and away it goes. Doing it for you. I don’t use it all the time because nothing beats genuine interaction, but if I need to dedicate 3 hours to working on a client’s mood board, it’s comforting to know I can turn Instragress on and it’s helping me work smarter, not harder. Tiny life hacks like this make me happy and productive.
That’s all, friends! I hope that gave you a little insight into my productivity habits. I assume if you’re reading this, you might be a fellow new entrepreneur or trying to figure out how to be more productive in your current job or maybe someone with a lot of side hustles. Regardless, I hope some of my tips may be able to work for you OR if you have tips you’d like to share, leave a comment down below! Sharing is caring.