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How to juggle a FT job and a side passion project?

I see a lot of posts on Elpha about people working on side projects in addition to a full time job and I'm really curious about how you juggle it all!

When I think about all the other things I do besides my job (life admin, exercise, hang out with friends, read, cook, get a good night's sleep, etc) it seems impossible to add a project on top of that. Sometimes it's not even about having time, but about having the headspace for it.

I'd love for those in it, to share how they juggle the two, whether they're able to do it all OR what "trade-offs" they've had to make.

I love this question! I think we can easily DO a lot of things, but as to what really creates traction is an entirely different story. There's a difference between staying busy and "moving the needle". When you talk about having the headspace for it, I would ask you what your current capacity is, then follow up by asking what contributes to that (your answer). Then I'd ask you if you can identify things that diminish your capacity (taking on too many tasks, stress levels, how well you take care of yourself, personal boundaries, etc.). How able (and willing) someone is able to start navigating a "day job" with a "side hustle" is so incredibly varied. It can depend on their own personal ability to navigate discomfort, how supportive their close circles are, how easily (or not) they lean into taking messy action (and/or failing forward), the amount of over-analysis they contribute the process (different from education and risk-assessment), and even their financial security, and sooooo many more things. I think the biggest hurdle depends on what you think is possible, and ESPECIALLY what you think is possible for YOU (there's often a double standard here). If you have expectations around what this process "should" look like, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, and probably some sessions with your Inner Critic too. I think one of the most important parts of the process is understanding your "WHY" behind the pursuit, so you have something deep and personal that will keep you invested when the going gets tough, and surrounding yourself with those that are navigating similar things to yourself AND those that are beyond that (they've "been there, done that"). Confidence, grace, belief and support will be HUGE determiners of how "easily" (it won't be easy but it can definitely be easier than we usually make it) you navigate your pursuits. And a HEALTHY dose of learning to trust yourself, know (and honor) what you know is best for you, and making sure you approach (and achieve) things in a way that honors your own personal definition of success, your personal goals, and your personal values. I believe we are capable beyond our wildest imaginations. The key lies in starting where you are, and taking it one "next right step" at a time.
Wow thank you for sharing this thoughtful response. I love the idea of doing a headspace audit to start. I think I'm still at the stage of figuring out my why... but I've made some progress this week in finally successfully scheduling a long overdue reflection block over the weekend. I started a reflection exercise and I haven't finished it yet, but it's already revealed some insights! So, I'm excited about making this a weekly thing. Anywho, rambling here... thank you for these kind words and tips!
I love that for you! You are most welcome. Don't get hung up on taking action just because you don't know the why yet. As long as you stay open and curious, you'll keep gleaning wisdom from the process. I read a quote yesterday that comes to mind now, "Taking action is the only path to make your dreams a reality." I'm rooting for you!
Hey! I am one of those people who juggle a lot of things every day :) I have a FT job and run my business on the side, I'm also a mom and a wife and I try to exercise several times a week. Every day I remind myself that I can do anything but not everything - not everything at once. I like to look at my life as consisting of several distinct areas (such as parenting, FT job, business, relationship with my husband, fitness, personal space, social life, etc), and every week/month I pick one "focus" area - area where I am really trying to move the needle - while keeping all other areas in the "keep the lights on" mode. I do weekly and monthly check-ins with myself to rotate these areas to make sure I don't neglect anything for longer than necessary.On a related note, for my "focus" area I always try to have a particular direction in mind - where exactly I want to head next - but I don't set strict deadlines for myself. I know that unexpected things happen and often priorities have to shift last minute (when my daughter gets sick for example), so I want to give myself freedom and permission to shift gears, slow down and pivot instead of coming up with a detailed plan and then heroically trying to stick to it (unsuccessfully).Hope this helps!
This is super helpful! And I love that there is structure with a lot of flexibility. Thank you so much for sharing this!
Absolutely! Happy to brainstorm together - let me know if you'd like to have a virtual coffee chat over zoom!
I love the focus areas… l too manage a FT job, childcare, caregiving, household chores, wife duties, fitness, cooking, networking, and have a desire to create a side business. I have outsourced the things that I can. However, I want to carve out time to work on my business. I would be open to an accountability buddy.
@sheiladst thank you for sharing! I'd be happy to share in more detail what's working and not working for me, let me know if you want to hop on a zoom call!
"I can do anything but not everything"........ YES! So much truth and wisdom in that!