Are you crazy stressed trying to juggle a business and a day job? Here’s how to make is easier…
Get ready for the “no s***, Sherlock statement” of the day: building a business takes time!
Sometimes way more time than you had hoped or anticipated. And what this likely means is that you’re going to be building your business around your day job — no easy feat.
When you’re just starting out, it isn’t too bad.
Excitement about your new venture has you so wired you feel as if you’ve been hooked up to a Red Bull IV. But this gets old, fast.
Are you ever going to be able to send off that resignation letter you drafted months ago? Can you cope with a 50+ hour week? Will the staff in your local even recognise you by the time you get the chance to have a pint with your mates?
How can you survive when your business isn’t the only job you have?
Check out the tactics that have helped me keep my sanity (well, mostly) while juggling a business and a day job.
Make time for self-care.
It’s so blinkin’ obvious but are you actually doing it? Honestly, how many times have you worked through your lunch break, skipped your workout, or reached the end of the day only to realise you haven’t even finished your first bottle of water?
I’ve done all of these, and occasionally still do when I’m swamped with work. And you know where it leaves me? With a thumping headache, zero creativity and an overwhelming desire to raid the kids’ stash of Christmas chocolates. I’m guessing you can relate?
So here’s the plan.
Let’s all promise ourselves that we will drink water throughout the day, we will get out for a walk in the fresh air as often as we can (hook yourself up to a podcast while you’re walking if that helps you feel less guilty), and we will cook real food, from scratch. It only takes 10 minutes to throw some soup or stew ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning before you head to work. You’re far less likely to bung a ready meal in the microwave when you get home, if you’re greeted by the smell of homemade soup, right?
Oh, and I know that evenings are probably your only chance to work on your business but I guarantee that even a 20 minute run or workout DVD will give you an extra hour’s worth of energy to get stuff done before you hit the hay.
Find ways to multi-task.
There are always ways to use your time more productively. Watch training videos or listen to podcasts while you’re cooking or ironing. Bring your laptop with you while your kids are in football training, or write notes for your next blog post and brainstorm marketing ideas while you’re on the train to work.
Outsource what you can.
If you find that planning your editorial calendar or writing your blog content takes forever, then outsource it to someone like me. If you feel like you spend your whole life on social media, try hiring an SM expert or a VA to take care of your accounts for you. Or if it’s your finances that give you the biggest headache and take up all of your time, look into taking on a bookkeeper.
It’s might sound counter-intuitive to spend money on things you can do yourself — especially if you’re squirrelling away as much cash as possible in preparation for going full-time self-employed — but you need to consider if doing these tasks are really the best use of your time.
Getting on with your own client work might make you far more money than you would have made if you’d spent the time battling your admin.
Try working in batches.
I try not to jump from task to task. Even for a writer, I think sometimes it takes a wee while to get back into writing mode, so I try to work in batches — if I’m writing I’m writing, if I’m editing, I’m editing, if I’m translating, I’m translating.
The first task in any batch is always the hardest, but once it’s out of the way, my brain seems to be in the right mode and I can usually zip through the rest of my workload with relative ease.
Could you adopt similar practices? If you do your own writing, can you dedicate a few hours one day to sort your content for the whole month? Or set aside a spare evening to work out your social media updates for the week?
You’ll find you get much more work done that way, leaving you with more time to play with and hopefully a bit more sleep!
Figure out when you’re most productive.
If your energy or creativity are at their peak first thing in the morning, it would be worth setting your alarm an hour or so earlier. You’ll be far more productive and after a hard shift at the day job, you’ll be able to justify chilling on the sofa for a bit, having made a dent in your to-do list before you’ve even left the house.
Or, if you prefer working in the evening, try to get as many of the household chores out of the way while you’re getting ready for work so you’re not loading the washing machine when you’re at the height of your productivity.
Sacrifices are inevitable so don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
If you’re missing your Saturday morning lie in (for those of you who don’t have kids!) or you’ve missed the last three episodes of ‘Strictly’, you might need a wee reality check. Yes, these things suck, but they’re the sacrifices you have to make if you want to build a successful business.
Keep reminding yourself that it WILL be worth it in the end.
That said, don’t spend so much time focusing on the future, that you leave yourself feeling miserable now.
Ignore the guilt: have a drink with your pals, take your kids to a movie and switch off for a while. After all, when you do eventually hit the business big-time, you want to be sure you still have people around you to toast to your success!
Are you juggling a growing business and a day job? I’d love to hear you top tips for how you’re managing to keep all of the balls in the air without dropping your sanity! Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.