To give you some background, I started Skylar Grace Co. in 2020 when my videography business came to a halt during the pandemic. Around 2021, I picked up some graphic design freelance gigs. May of 2022, I graduated and started my full time marketing job meanwhile still having all the previous obligations of my businesses & freelancing.
I knew signing up for a full time job would mean I would have to shift my priorities, as of course, that comes first. I’ve found ways to balance my different passions in a healthy way. I will say, I am an enneagram 3 so maybe that’s why I’m a crazy workaholic that monetizes her hobbies. I hope these tips help you if you’re like me; or are curious what it’s like.
1. Setting aside designated time
I’m really intentional about my prioritized work and setting aside time to complete tasks. One way I do this is waking up early to work on freelance or Skylar Grace Co.
I’m on a really good flow with one company I freelance for, ShopTrue. We meet at 8 AM every Monday to go over my tasks for the week, and I have to get them in by Thursday evening so they can be reviewed Friday AM. I make revisions over the weekend and repeat. I only work around 5-8 hours a week for this job so it’s really doable if I work 1-2 hours in the morning before my 9-5 or grind all the work out on a given evening; which I’ll talk about in #2.
For my other freelance gig, Jill Razor, we use Asana and it’s super duper helpful for me to know when things are due. This is a pretty remote team and they’ve figured out an amazing system that has been working seamlessly. If I have something due ‘next Wednesday’ I will probably spend 30 minutes just beginning it a week early so that it’s less daunting as the due date approaches. I’ll then work on it more robustly on Monday and do finishing touches on Tuesday.
2. Grouping my work together
I’m not sure if this is good advice, but this is what I tend to do, so I stopped fighting the urge to work on several jobs in one sitting.
What I like to do is one job at a time. If I have something due for Jill in 1 day, then that evening is designated to Jill. If it’s a Thursday night and I’m not finished with my ShopTrue work for Friday AM, then Thursday night is for ShopTrue. If I wake up early Tuesday AM with some inspiration, then I’ll be creating content for Skylar Grace Co.
In the past, I’ve tried doing a to do list of a variety of tasks for different businesses and it’s just so hard to switch gears and it breaks up my flow. If I’m designing something for Jill for a few hours, but on my to do list it says ‘make desk organization video’ for Skylar Grace Co., I’m simply not going to feel like doing it after being in the graphic design mode for Jill. Same thing goes for wedding season. When I have the urge to edit a wedding video, that’s all I’ll be doing for hours on end. No stopping and starting a different task. If you have multiple occupations or jobs, try designating specific days to work on them, or listen to your brain and just do what feels most inspiring that day (as long as you don’t have deadlines!)
3. Lists, notes, planning.
I would die without a to do list. My brain is always rambling off tasks, and having different agendas and to do list really calms my head. It’s also so rewarding to cross something off your list when you’re done doing it. Right now, I mostly use a weekly planner, and a to do list (check out my brand new ones just launched!). For actual content planning with Skylar Grace Co., I use Notion. At work, I use the same to do lists and planners that I use for personal life & freelance work. I keep separate pads there, so that they aren’t mixed in with things I do at home.
Overall, I do my extra passions/jobs before or after work, or on the weekends. When I go into my 9-5, I can let all my other things drift away until I leave at 5 (& vice versa). The key to all of this is having jobs you LOVE and being able to take what you can handle. If I was overwhelmed or stressed, I would have to make a change immediately.
If you’re someone who works 9-5 and wants to start a side hustle or start freelancing, here’s your sign that it’s totally doable without quitting. I think there’s a lot of negativity around 9-5s but they’re great (not all are) for a lot of people & I love where I work. You can have both.
If you’re someone who has a small business but wants to apply to a full time job— you don’t have to quit your dream! Signing up to work for the man isn’t a death sentence. You aren’t quitting by trying new things.
I hope this helps at least 1 person work toward a healthy and fulfilling work/life balance! You’ve got this.