4 Tips for Juggling Your Day Job with Your Passion Project

This week on Episode 134 of the podcast we’re talking ALL about the things that we’re most passionate about—and how we can find the time we need to focus on them no matter what we have going on in the background.

Now, while this can seem like an easy enough thing to accomplish, the sad truth about a lot of the passion projects that we start is that they often wind up sitting on the back burner… because life happens!

So many of you have reached out to tell me that, no matter how hard you try to make your passion project your Number One, there is almost-always something else happening in your day-to-day life that makes finding the time to settle in and do some serious focused work on what you’re most passionate about nearly impossible… And, believe me, I totally get that.

When you have a full-time job, kids at home (or even just a partner, some pets, or all of the above), friends to get together with, an apartment or a house to take care of, and so on and so forth… it can be super challenging to take a step back and try to squeeze in even just fifteen minutes for yourself!

For me, what it all comes down to is some serious planning—and even more serious prioritizing. (Shocker, right?)

But here’s the good news about prioritizing and planning for some extra time to work on your passion project: even with a full-time job and a full house to tend to, there IS a way to make it all come together in sweet, sweet harmony… I promise—I wouldn’t have been able to write my book, The Joy of Missing Out, otherwise!

So, with that being said, let’s take our conversation from this week’s episode one step further and take a peek at a few of my favorite tips on juggling your day job WITH your passion project so that you can get back on track and start enjoying your life (and yourself!) to the absolute fullest.

Ready to jump in?

 

4 Tips for Juggling Your Day Job with Your Passion Project

 

1. Rework Your Schedule—

This probably seems easier said than done if your schedule is already jam-packed with responsibilities related to your day job or your personal life, but trust me…

If you want to squeeze in time to work on writing your first novel, painting your masterpiece, or getting your side hustle off of the ground, for example, then it’s a MUST that you take a peek at your existing schedule and rework it as best you can until all the pieces fit!

One of the things to keep in mind here is that reworking your schedule shouldn’t make you feel like you’re coming off of your day job (i.e. work!) to come home and do more work… Rather, your passion project should be that one thing that makes sense for you, that gives you a true sense of purpose and that you get excited about spending some time on!

So, for the sake of your schedule and this first tip, it’s actually pretty simple: Where might you be able to make some room for yourself? What might your ideal schedule look like with your passion project at the top of your priority list?

When it came down to writing The Joy of Missing Out, I found a lot of valuable time in the early hours before anyone else in my house got up for the day… which basically means that I needed to look at my schedule and rework it so that I had my bedtime—and bedtime routine—down pat to ensure that I wouldn’t hit the snooze button on my alarm five hundred times at 4 AM each day!

Maybe you could adjust your bedtime so that you can wake up a bit earlier in the morning to focus on your project before heading off to your day job, or maybe you could find some time in the evenings when you might otherwise binge on your favorite TV show or scroll through your social media feed… or maybe, just maybe, there’s a block of time during your weekend that might be a good spot to block off.

With a little bit of tweaking, trust me… it can be done! (Still don’t believe it? Check out my latest TonyaTV episode on YouTube to learn exactly how to find an extra hour in your day!)

 

2. Set Boundaries and Stand Your Ground—

Here’s the thing: If you really want to make your passion project a priority in your life, to the point where you’re actually able to complete it, then friend… you have got to set some boundaries for yourself so that any time you plan to devote to that project doesn’t become bogged down or tainted by anything else.

What this basically means is that once you’ve created your ideal schedule, you’ve got to stand your ground and get your head around saying “No, thanks!” when others try to tempt you with spontaneous shopping trips, brunch dates, and so on and so forth.

In other words, make sure that whatever time you block off on your schedule to focus on your project is absolutely non-negotiable! Tell any FOMO you may have experienced in the past to chill for a bit, and limit outside distractions—especially those brought on by friends and family—by letting those around you know what you’re trying to do beforehand.

Tell them a little bit about your project and why it’s important to you! The more honest you are from the get-go, the more steadfast you can be in your efforts to spend some focused time working toward your goal, and the easier it will be to sit down and see your passion project come to fruition.

 

3. Go for the Goal –

I know that for some writers working on a book, setting a goal in the form of a word count is what they strive for…

And this is essentially what I mean here when I say “go for the goal” each day as you take those first steps toward the completion of your big project: keep your end result in mind and develop  a timeline for yourself for when you want to achieve that result if at all possible!

Whether your passion project is to write a book, or even if it’s something entirely different, having an idea of what you want to achieve in mind before you set out is so important when you’re working a day job and have a limited amount of time in your day after all is said and done.

Set yourself some things to aim for before you start in on your week; think of these things as your mini goals, or stepping stones, that will lead you to the finish line… and make them a priority.

Whether this means you’re aiming to write X-number of words or X-number of pages per day, contacting 5 people who can help you get your side hustle off of the ground (i.e. networking!), or you’re spending just one hour painting or sculpting or boning up on your skills…

Keep your laser-like focus working and go for the goal!

 

4. Lean on Your Support System –

We all go through ups and downs when it comes to focus and motivation… and this is especially true when you find yourself frustrated with something going on at your day job, or you’re just having one of those weeks where nothing seems to be clicking like you want it to (Helloooo, writer’s block!).

And because of that, we all need a boost from time to time!

Just like it’s important to let those around you know what you’re setting out to do so that they won’t put any pressure on you to stray from your set schedule, having a great support system in place (think: your spouse, BFF, family members) and learning to lean on them when you’re in need of someone to remind you of your brilliance and to cheer you on from the sidelines as you’re powering along is equally important.

Remember, The Beatles said it best: sometimes the best way to get by… is with a little help from [our] friends!

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Have you been hard at work on your passion project lately while juggling a full or part-time job on top of that? What are some of the things that have helped you find the harmony you need to keep it all together? Share your experiences and any pointers you have in the comments below.

And check out Episode 134 this week to learn the difference between hobbies and passions (they’re not as similar as you think!) and how YOU can take your passions to the next level so that your big dreams don’t fall through the cracks again!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton