When you work a 9 to 5 job and decide to start a side business on top of it, achieving a proper work-life balance can be difficult. You will quickly learn that the juggle is real! Aside from weekends, the only time you will have to dedicate to your side hustle is after a long day of work. By that point, you’re probably exhausted and eager to change into sweats, jump into bed and spend the rest of the night binging a new show on Netflix. In the back of your mind, you know that you should be spending this time productively, but you promise yourself that you will work harder tomorrow!
I used to experience this type of inner conflict daily when it came to working on my blog. It would lead to sporadic content creation and an inconsistent posting schedule. Recently, I made the decision to break the cycle and commit to spending more time on it. At first, it was challenging to figure out how to prioritize and manage my time while still leaving room for relaxation. Over time, I picked up on a lot of great tips on how to improve and maintain a proper work-life balance. Whether you’re trying to ditch the 9 to 5 grind entirely or trying to balance working full time while supporting your passions, I have some valuable advice to share with you!
1. Perform A Self Audit
The first thing that you need to do is identify what tasks or obligations are preventing you from working on your business. You need to be completely honest with yourself! Reflect over the past few weeks and write out a list detailing how you spent your time. Next, write out a list of all of the tasks you want/need to complete for your side hustle. When you compare the two, think about the vision you have for your business. Do any of the tasks on the lists overlap? How well do the tasks on your first list align with your business goals?
Performing a self-audit is a real eye-opener as it helps you visualize how you’ve been spending your time. It will be easier to hold yourself accountable as you can determine how efficiently you are working towards your goals.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
Keep in mind that achieving a perfect work-life balance should not be your goal. There will always be times when priorities come into play. It’s common for people to set unrealistic goals for themselves when it comes to their projects. Doing so will no doubt lead to burnout, and you will feel more inclined to procrastinate on tasks as a way to compensate. Setting realistic goals that are easier to work towards will reduce stress and pressure in your daily life.
To this day, I still use the SMART goal setting method that I learned back in elementary school! Smart stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based. Using this method ensures that you have a clear and achievable target in mind, and you will feel less inclined to procrastinate or quit entirely.
3. Stick To A Schedule & Maintain Momentum
Staying organized is crucial when it comes to juggling multiple tasks and various deadlines. For years I was guilty of buying new planners and never filling them out. This year I have managed to stick to using it. Not only does it help keep me on track, but it also keeps me accountable. I schedule my tasks in advance, and that forces me to manage my time efficiently to be able to meet the deadlines that I have set.
If physical planners aren’t your thing, there are a variety of web platforms and apps that will work just as well. Monday.com and Asana are both excellent project management tools, and they both offer a free plan. Alternatively, you could stick to using the calendar or notes app on your phone. If you’re using these platforms, be sure to set notifications to remind you about upcoming deadlines.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what tools you choose to use, as long as you stick to using them. It may not always be possible to stick to the schedule that you have laid out 100% because, as we all know, life can be unpredictable. Regardless, planning out your week will help reduce stress and provide peace of mind. You’ll have a pretty good idea of what is coming up and can plan accordingly. This is a key step in improving your work-life balance! When you start to consistently follow your schedule, be sure to maintain that momentum! It’s a lot harder to get back into the flow once you’ve let things go and have to catch up or start over!
4. Make Time For Self Care & Set Boundaries
Do not fall into the trap of “hustle” culture! You do not need to be busy 24/7 to be productive. Remember that a work-life balance is achievable, and that’s what you should be working towards. Setting some time aside each day for yourself is crucial as it will help to reduce stress and avoid burnout. When you allow yourself to take a break and relax, your work life will be positively impacted. It will be much easier to stay focused. During your break, put away your work! You shouldn’t be checking emails, your calendar or anything of that sort during break time! Doing so will negate the positive effect of taking a break in the first place!
5. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s difficult to stop comparing yourself to others when you regularly see people posting about their work ethic and achievements on social media. You need to remember that everyone has different commitments and obligations. Some people may be able to dedicate more time to their projects while some may not. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to quit their full-time gig and spend 100% of their efforts on their business. You can’t compare yourself to others when you aren’t in the same situation. That’s why you must determine what your goals are and focus on working towards them. Start off with easily achievable goals. Once you have a better grip on time management, it will be easier for you to commit to spending more time on your business.
Remember that working to achieve a proper work-life balance is a long process! You will always have to adjust your schedule based on what’s going on in your life. Eventually, you will notice the positive impact that a work-life balance will have on your mental health!
Do you have any tips on managing a full-time job and a side business? I’d love to hear your thoughts!