The holidays are here, and there’s a good chance you are starting to feel overwhelmed. Your calendar is probably filled with parties, gatherings, and special dinner plans. You’re running around during lunch breaks trying to finish buying gifts for everyone on your list, and your phone is buzzing non-stop all day and night. With everything that’s going on right now, it’s easy to feel like your me-time has become obsolete.
Imagine all that commotion…AND you’ve got a side hustle going on too? Oh man, let the insanity begin.
First, let’s breathe. There’s no need to completely let go of your side, or passion, projects just because things are a little out of hand at the moment. And no, you don’t have to cut out sleep either. As someone with a full time job and my own side hustle, I know exactly what you are going through.
Here are 5 key steps to keep your head on your shoulders during the busiest time of the year—especially if you’re working on your own side project.
Let your clients know your new availability
For freelancers, side hustlers, solopreneurs—whatever you want to call us—finishing up your 9 to 5 does not mean you have to hop into your next job position once you leave the office. Whether you’re working evenings or weekends on your freelance gig, define your availability to your clients during the holiday season. Are you taking off for Hanukah or Christmas? Are you leaving town sans your laptop to visit your family? Before things start to get crazy, tell your clients about your travel plans, or let them know you’re only available via email from 6pm through 8:30pm. Remember, you’re the boss now.
Check your full time job at the door
There is no better advice than ‘leave work at work’. That means you need to silence those email notifications after 5pm, and certainly DON’T answer an email after hours. Your personal life and professional life shouldn’t overlap when it comes to your time. Being available at all times may make you feel secure at work, but the truth is that it will actually lead you to exhaustion or worse, a breakdown. Live by the rule that unless you’re heading to a work event after the office, everything work-related stays behind at your desk until tomorrow. Outside of your 9 to 5 is the time to focus on your passion project or side business.
Carve Out Time for Yourself
This is when it’s okay to set up some alarms or notifications to go off! When do you feel most relaxed? With a glass of wine and DVR’d episodes of the Bachelor? Or after climbing into bed with your latest book? Your personal time is essential to your wellbeing, so it’s time that you start acting like it for your own sake. Schedule a block of time for you to do whatever it is that helps you unwind. At least take an hour or two to do so as well.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Sometimes your to-do list look endless, and you just feel hopeless. This is not the moment you give into burnout. This is when you strategize. How long will that press release take you? Can you get that pitch done in 15 to 20 minutes? Google Calendar comes in handy here; time out and schedule all of your tasks before starting on anything. And don’t forget to throw in a 10-minute break here and there. Figure out what is top priority and complete those tasks first. Then, begin to tackle the hardest tasks; you’ll be thankful you got them over with. The easy tasks won’t seem too bad either once you complete the hard ones.
Say ‘No’ to Some Things
That ugly sweater party your neighbor is throwing? Maybe you can skip that since you’re meeting your friends for drinks this weekend. Or perhaps your client is asking for an extra press release. Whatever the case is, don’t be afraid to say no to things. Skipping a party, or letting your client know that you can’t add an extra task to their project at the moment is not the end of the world. It’s important to keep in mind that you’re both human so there’s a good chance that they themselves are going through their own hectic season and are able to relate.
This is an original story that I wrote for PR Couture.