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How to balance your creative work with a full-time job

Portrait of Symposia author Colin Fisher
Colin Fisher

Mar 10, 2022

 | Max 


 min read

Woman learning how to balance full time work with creative projects
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How do you balance a full-time job with creative projects? It can be challenging, but it's not impossible. This guide will share tips and advice on making the most of your time and staying productive. We'll also discuss ways to deal with creative work blocks and overcome other challenges by balancing two demanding roles. So whether you're just starting or you've been struggling to find balance for a while, this guide is for you.

"Teacher burnout" is an American term used to describe the state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion brought on by prolonged periods of stress.

This has resulted in eight percent of teachers giving up their job over the past decade, with low wages combined with inadequate funding for schools disheartening educational policy that further drives people toward quitting this line of work altogether.

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My Strategy for Maintaining a Sense of Balance in my Life

My strategy is simple: I keep tabs on how much time has passed since the last creative work project and then make an effort to fill that gap with another fun or challenging task. If you find yourself feeling bored during your day-to-day routine at work (or any other aspect), try adding some new activities into what's already scheduled each night before bed so it won't seem so daunting when morning comes around.

How do you balance your multiple creative side projects with a full-time job? I've found that it is possible to be successful if we follow these few guidelines. This guide will provide some great tips for staying organized and intentional while creating and promoting, or publicizing one's work on the weekends.

man working at his day job doing just what he needs to do

What you do as a day job matters for an enjoyable and creative life

We spend at work more than 33% of our lives. That's about one-third. And the other two-thirds?

We sleep and sometimes do things like adventures or enjoy hobbies, but not always together with "work." Ideally, 9 to the 5-day job should provide you with at least one of three things: more time, resources, or a skill set that will help support your creative passion.

When considering what type of day job might be best for you, keep in mind that it's time to leave work after working hours are over. You may not want any more feelings like "drained" or even happy - just grumpy and sick with everyone else who feels the same way. So think hard about how glad your future self will feel when she finishes this shift?

What type of work would make you happier and more fulfilled? By brainstorming, we can narrow down what might be right for us. The key is to think about the jobs that are a good fit for your personality.

Before teaching, I had a job in New York that left me deeply unhappy. My frustration and uncertainty about what to do next translated into being generally unpleasant around others; this attitude also affected my relationships at work - friends and my romantic ones (partners).

It wasn't until it came time for us all to do something utterly mundane like writing songs or articles did we realize how much joy hassles can bring.

Have patience and enjoy the ride

You are a creative individual, which means you have different interests than others. It's crucial to find a job or career that compliments your personality while allowing for creative, independent pursuits outside the office walls.

The search process can be complex at first but keep in mind these tips from The muse: Were there new trends on display during this role? Did I notice any change(s) with how productive I was within my 9-5 hours after getting into something more fulfilling creative projects?

Fortunately, we all have a few things that we're good at. What would you say your strengths are? Is there something specific to the field of work or hobby hobbies that might fit into this category better than others do for now?

A simple exercise starts with taking inventory of one's skills and passions, writing them down, then looking out patterns/themes that come naturally; anything goes afterward, write everything down.

Person building creative habits and maintaining focus

Find a job that gives you time for your creative projects

When looking for a job, it's essential to identify peak creative hours and what skills are most valuable and then match them with an employer. If something doesn't agree well with your creative work routine or personal goals in life, leave them on the list because eventually, we'll come across opportunities where you can use these talents again.

The key to finding the right job is being honest with yourself. Do you want a career that will make money for your family and expand connections across industries and societies to touch people's lives in some unique way? Be specific about what kind of work best suits who we are as individuals so our desires don't go unfulfilled because someone else might be more easily satisfied by any given opportunity's perks without considering how they'll fit into our everyday lives first hand.

Get comfy with sacrifice and boundaries

Say "no" with confidence.

Learning to say "no" is essential for any creative individual. It's tempting when you have a  full-time job and friends, family, or partners who want time from your busy schedule, but often we must learn how much we should set our priorities if success in artistry does indeed come first.

While it's natural to want to please others, re-framing how we say "no" can create fewer distractions and protect your time. You might even find yourself respecting the importance of what you do.

Looking back on my time in Brooklyn, it is remarkable how little work I produced resulted from saying "yes" to everything. It's hard for me to admit now because people are so important and what they think matters but at the time, being too COMMITTED hurt all three: you (your relationships), your well-being, plus any chance or potential collaborations with others.

Examples of how to say no

No is the only answer that works. Here are some ways you can make saying "no" part of your produce creative work practice:

There is nothing wrong with saying "no." It can be a refreshing break from the routine of always being available and giving everything you have without hesitation or regret. The trick to making this work for us, though, starts before we even engage in conversation: first, acknowledge that there might exist times when our schedules don't permit room (or space)for other obligations; then adjust accordingly - declining offers drink invitations while still attending social events would allow more freedom than hosting them both simultaneously--and let's not forget how much better things go if capped off by ensuring.

You can overcome any obstacle with a bit of self-confidence and wit. A great example is replacing "I can't do it because I don't have time/energy/money etc.," with "It's not worth doing if you aren't going to follow through." This simple change in words will go a long way towards increasing your creativity.

We all have moments when we feel guilty for doing something that is not strictly related to work. You might find yourself thinking, "Why am I feeling this way?" When guilt becomes an issue and takes control of your thoughts, release them by examining the reality behind it; most importantly- don't let those feelings consume who you are or what decisions come naturally in life.

Maybe it's time to re-assess what is going on if you find that your work prevents the things in life that make it worthwhile. A "yes" can become an opportunity for self-expression and growth.

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Even if you can only find time to work on your creative projects in the evenings, sacrificing things like Netflix or dinners out will help you carve out time.

Time management and organization for an enjoyable and creative career

Build good habits

The creative work routine is a place to start, rather than rules that we can never break. It's crucial for you as an individual artist or writer and creator of any kind. In this day-and-age with social media breathing down our necks 24/7 - it's imperative we establish habits that will help us succeed creatively, whether on purpose or by accident.

Inspiration does not strike every time. In general, the creative people I know come from two schools of thought: those who don't work until they feel inspired and can't wait for their next big idea; and then there are those like myself—writer/musician–who write songs even when no music has come to mind or produced anything lately because we value creativity over consistency (and good luck trying to get us into a rut.). The following habits will help both types be more productive in consistently exercising our muscles; however, it manifests itself.

Establish a routine

Finding your perfect time block and sticking to it will help you establish a routine. Find when the distractions are minimal, energy tends towards being at its highest point for maximum creativity; this could be an hour or two every day where work doesn't take over as well. As a teacher, I operate at full steam from 7 am–2 pm. After that, my energy wanes significantly, and it's only rare occasions when creativity can be found in the evenings after dinner with some short bursts of power throughout weekends due to exercising or meditation before eating large meals, which rejuvenates me enough for more work outside school hours.

What's the point of doing something great if you don't finish it? Highly creative people are always doing exciting projects with potential, but they often give up before finishing. It makes me sad because no matter how good your work is or what opportunities come along in life afterward - they will never complete this project. Having a "stash" of ideas can be super helpful when you are feeling stuck. It's also lovely to scroll through your creative well and know that even on days where nothing seems like it's coming up for air, there is still something in reserve.

Find a creative space to  call your own

A creative environment that supports your goals and habits. One simple way you can create this type of environment for yourself? Avail yourself of any necessary tools, whether physical items or electronic ones. Walking into the room where these supplies exist as soon as possible after waking up each morning becomes second nature within moments- instead of being something completely new, it takes time to get used to. One of my favorite things to do when I'm stuck in a creative rut is going downstairs and setting up all our recording equipment.

Sometimes, even if it's been years since the last time that happened because there are so many triggers for starting again: hearing an idea, seeing what other artists have done with their space - rearranging furniture, or checking out new gear at Trade Your Place.

An established friend groups of creative communities

Understand that great endeavors take time

When I would hear about guitarists who practiced for multiple hours a day uninterrupted, the first thing that came to mind was how could I get enough time in my schedule? It took me some surprising and unexpected places when there are ways around this problem. I included- myself being an example of someone who started with 10 minutes on top priority tasks instead of attempting something hard right away without giving yourself any cushioning or supports along the way if needed.

It felt meaningful and manageable when I went up to the hour mark. The progress was also entirely focused on playing rather than any one particular outcome because of how small my increments were for this new habit—building them in overtime helped make sure that even these more minor achievements added up.

Be realistic with your goals

What if you never had a singular vision of what I should be doing with my life? That's precisely how some people feel, and it's not an uncommon feeling. But accepting this was important for putting goals in perspective - especially because curiosity about music writing or education could all come out as something worth exploring.

To combat the side effect of becoming more proficient, be realistic about your productivity. Find yourself feeling crazy for aiming higher and becoming an expert in a short amount of time. It may just turn into something harmful - like being busy all day long without any actual accomplishments or achievements. I used to hate my office job. Now, it's the one thing that keeps me sane and happy.

But what if you're not sure whether or not your goal is still aligned with where you are at now? Don't let yourself get pulled into thinking about how many boxes on lists need checking off - ask yourself "why" before doing anything else...

Go easy on yourself. Do nothing, be mindful, and get moving

Sitting still is difficult for many people, and it always has been. I tend to punish myself when wasting any part of a day, so this becomes hard work as well because you can never be too careful with your time or tasks at hand; The same goes with vacations-they create an urgency in me which means that there's no room left over on my list (or rather –I don't want anything else.).

Roman Muradov's "On Doing Nothing" was a game-changer for me. Through the lens of various artists, writers, and philosophers, he argues that we can all do more than just work or perform; it's within our power to lead an enjoyable life without having any goals set in stone- simply existing is sometimes enough.

Boredom is a common occupational hazard for many people, but it can be dealt with in productive ways. We often think that our hyperactivity and chaotic nature make us creative; however, this isn't true because boredom may inspire more creativity than an overactive mindset.

Not only you are have an ultimately rewarding job

Take time for yourself to rest and recharge

We all need time to ourselves, especially if we are being creative in addition to having a day job. The best way of restoring your drive and creativity after a long day at work or even just some downtime for yourself is by taking advantage of these six secret activities that will help stimulate thought without any input from the conscious mind.

  • Clear your head, take off on an adventure. Explore different venues and explore yourself.
  • When you eat, focus on your personal experience and sensation of taste. Take time to chew each bite slowly before swallowing it so that the food gets all awkward in there.
  • Find a place where you can be alone and listen to natural sounds.
  • Take three deep breaths, and then let those guttural sounds resonate through your body.

Whether you want to zone out and slow down or get your heart rate up for the day's tasks- exercise is an endless benefit that you can tailor just right.

The author, Haruki Murakami, was once a teacher who found that interacting nonstop got tiring. He linked his work of fiction writing careers alongside long-distance Running. However, running fits him perfectly because it is low-cost and has minor barriers to getting started and solitude, which makes this sport enjoyable for its similarities in literature.

In addition, there are clear connections between how our bodies change when we participate consistently.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that team sports, followed by cycling (either stationary or on the road), are among the best exercises to support mental health.

Regardless of which exercise best suits you, try to build up a habit. Studies have shown that even walking for significant portions of time can improve cognitive efforts associated with creativity. Again, start small and build slowly.

Get support, let go, and move on

When balancing a full-time job with creative projects, it can be challenging to know where to start. One essential thing, however, is getting support from friends and family. Let them know what you're trying to achieve and how they can help you stay on track.

It's essential to be flexible and let go of some things. If your creative project is taking longer than expected, don't be afraid to put it on the backburner for a little while. And if you're struggling, don't be scared to move on if a project isn't working out. You can do plenty of other things with your time, so don't get too attached.

Final Words about balancing your creative work

Balancing a full-time job with creative pursuits can be challenging, but it's doable if you have the right mindset. Remember to be patient with yourself, and permit yourself to wobble back and forth between your two worlds. Celebrate your accomplishments, big and small, and don't forget to show gratitude for all of the fantastic people who support you along the way.

  1. Balancing a full-time job with creative projects can be challenging, but it's doable if you have the right mindset.
  2. Remember to be patient with yourself, and permit yourself to wobble back and forth between your two worlds.
  3. Celebrate your accomplishments, big and small, and don't forget to show gratitude for all of the fantastic people who support you along the way.
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