I’m going to be real with you guys - the amount of times I have searched for a blog post covering this topic is staggering. Starting a business and working a full-time day job is NOT easy. I have searched for articles on this topic countless times because I have been desperate for tips and advice on how to make it through.
Let me give you some insight into what my life currently looks like:
Every week, I work 4 full days in the office. I leave my house at 7:30am, and I don’t leave the office until 6:00pm. I also work Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:30pm. When I’m not in the office, I am running my business (creating for clients, posting on Instagram, writing blog posts, attempting to network with others, photographing my work, etc), I’m working for my church (always the #1 priority!), and I’m trying to balance a family/social life.
I live a busy life, but it is so full of things I passionately love. I am BLESSED. With that being said, it has taken me quite some time to finally feel a glimpse of control in my schedule. I am not even close to having it all figured out, but I get a little closer every day. Here are some practices/pieces of advice that have worked for me along the way.
Put it on the calendar.
You guys - you will drown if you don’t keep track of what’s going on. In the midst of a crazy schedule, confusion makes everything 10x worse. If you aren’t keeping track of your to-do’s, whether in a planner or on your phone, you will forget things, mix up due dates, and constantly feel like you’re racking your brain to remember something. Find the method that works for you! For the longest time, I was a paper planner addict. Sadly, that ended as I got busier. I now use Google Calendar so I can update my schedule while I’m out and about. It’s also great because you can create multiple calendars for different parts of your life (personal life, business, etc…).
2. Set deadlines for yourself.
Owning your own business means you are only accountable to yourself. That can be a scary responsibility! Even if your business is your passion, laziness makes it easy to push things aside. Particularly in the beginning stages of opening a business, many projects you will work on will be for yourself and your business, not for an actual client. This makes it easy to procrastinate. By setting yourself *reasonable* deadlines, you’re able to work toward something without falling behind and without bombarding yourself with pressure to get the job done right away. I promise, this will bring your productivity up significantly.
3. Remember this: You set your own standards.
Man, if only I could have learned this earlier. Fighting this truth brought so much difficulty in the first year of running my business. I would constantly have a list of 10 projects I wanted to get done, and I felt like people expected me to get everything done immediately. I heaped pressure onto my shoulders because I didn’t want to let other people down. At the end of the day, I realized I didn’t want to let myself down. Business owners, please know this - there are only so many hours in the day. Set realistic expectations for yourself. If a project is never even announced publicly, people can’t hate you for not getting it done on time. Don’t place such an unbearable weight on your shoulders. Give yourself grace!
Balancing a full-time job, starting a business, and having a personal life is no joke. Although this won’t be my fate forever, I am happy to live in it now. I’m taking it one stride at a time!