5 tips to balance your day job and your dreams.

It is that time of the week again. A time where mood is low, brains are foggy and even the timid of characters behave like a dog on the illegal breed list. That’s right, it’s Monday.

Monday can be a terrible day for most, it can even be even more terrible for those who are working towards a different goal in their spare time. The reason being, is that it is a strong reminder that the spare time will rapidly decrease and all the time and energy you were putting into your goals is about to get well and truly lost in your day job.

You can still find time.

“I just don’t have the time to do anything else”. You have said that before, I know you have. Well guess what, you a lying to me, you are lying to them and you are lying to yourself. Shame on you.

There are 168 hours in a week. Most people work 35-40 hours of them. They sleep 49 hours (give and take an hour either side). That leaves you with 79 hours a week, which is 11 hours a day to do as you please.

I think I smashed the maths. Even if I didn’t, the point is you have more time than you think.

Don’t get me wrong here, I know it isn’t easy. You can easily get locked into a toxic pattern of getting up, going to work, going home, having dinner, going to bed, repeat. But if you work hard and open the energy within your mind, it is possible to juggle the day job and the dreams.

Remember I can only speak from experience. I have come up with a system that work for me. The good news is we are not all as unique as our narcissism would have us believe, and these 5 steps should work for you also.  If not, at least take then as inspiration to make your own system, as the end goal is still the same.

Did someone say list? Okay here comes a list.

1.     Get out of bed an hour earlier.

“Oh I knew it. I knew he was going to say this. Coming over here, taking my sleep. How dare he!”. Yes, I am the sleep snatcher, sue me.

It is a bit depressing though, don’t you think? Getting up out of bed with enough time for a quick bite to eat and a shower before you roll into 8 hours of working for the man?

Just one morning, get up an hour earlier and see for yourself. Do as you always would, roll out of bed shower and eat, then look at your watch. “Oh wow, I have ages before I need to be at work. I am up now and ready. What should I do with this spare time?”.

You’re welcome. Whatever your personal goals are, use that new found free time to focus on them. Even if you have enough time to respond to a few emails, it is time you would have otherwise spent replicating a dead body in your bed.

2.     Work on your goals on your commute to work.

We have all see that guy, sat on the train with his laptop on his knees, clicking away. We have all probably sniggered at him, but maybe he is working on his personal projects whilst he has the chance.

Need to edit those photos? Maybe you have a deadline? Get the laptop out, put the head phones on and on that 30-40 minute commute fire up LightRoom and get editing.

By the time you get to work, your personal workload will have decreased and you won’t be spending most of the day thinking “I can do without being here right now, I have got so much to do far more important this”.

3.     Take a lunch break as much as possible.

There is nothing cool about saying “a lunch break? What is one of them?”. Even if you do not have personal projects going on, it is never healthy not to take time out from whatever is consuming most of your day. Take that one hour for yourself, and if you do have different focuses elsewhere, use it wisely.

Don’t just sit at your desk eating a sandwich, mindlessly scrolling through social media. Do as many tasks as you can. Remember, on a micro scale, each task you complete is a step closer to you to you fulfilling your dreams.

4.     Make your meals in bulk.

By the time you have cooked dinner and washed up, it is time for bed, right? Well for this point, we can just conveniently continue to miss out the part where you mindless watched YouTube for an hour before falling asleep.

To eliminate that time spent cooking and cleaning, each Sunday cook in bulk. Ideally you want to prepare enough meals for the working week, but even if you make enough for 2-3 days, it’s a start.

This way all you need to do is reheat it in the microwave, eat and wash up one dish. You can be done in 30 minutes and then ready to crack on with some work, and by work I don’t mean watching Top 10 funniest cat clips on the internet.

5.     Use your annual leave productively.

Many of us go on one or two trips a year (I actually went on 5 this year, but hey, I don’t like to talk about it), and find ourselves with an awkward number of annual leave days remaining. For those of you who don’t end up using them, you’re not boxing clever.

You have a deadline; you need to get those images over to a client. If you have not used any of the previous tips above, then at least use this one. Use those awkward 2-3 days of annual leave either side of the weekend, that gives you 5 free days. 5 days to make your dreams your day job, and when you spend a working week focusing on what you are truly passionate about, it is gives you reinforcement about what you want to achieve in your life.

An unrelated picture I took of a carousel. This is a photography site after all.

An unrelated picture I took of a carousel. This is a photography site after all.

Bonus tip.

If you struggle with any of the above, and let’s face it from time to time energy and brain fry gets the better of all of us, here is a little tip to keep you going.

Each week set yourself a set of tasks relating to your personal projects. If your week is busy, instead of getting flustered and not completing any of them, set yourself the goal of finishing at least one task. Contact that person on Twitter to work in collaboration for example. Next week set the goal of completing two tasks and so and so on.

The pain of reality is worth the end goal.

As I said, none of this is easy. Having to work a full-time job whilst also building a career on the side can destroy you at times. Keep focused on what you want to achieve and remember all this pain will seem minute in comparison to the fulfilment you will have when you reach your goals.

It is important to point out, this isn’t about not respecting your day job. It provides you with a source of income and is a good ground for working hard and you should always value that and your employer. That said, there is nothing wrong with a healthy balance, something that can often get lost in the world of the working system.

Tell me what works for you by commenting below. I would love to hear it.

If I could ask you to please enter your email into the box below, so I can keep you updated on all that is going on, that would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

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