Why are you juggling work and passion?
Before anything else, you have to acknowledge the reason why you're doing this in the first place. You don't need to do this. You can go to work, come back home and chill.
But you're choosing a different path. A passion is not like a hobby. Hobbies are for pleasure, passion is for personal fulfillment. You submit to your passion because inexplicably, you feel hot and bothered by the thought of not doing it. And when you do it, what fills your mind is the need to do BETTER. To do MORE.
It's not exactly happiness. Most times it's even constant frustration and pain. But you can't stop. Despite bringing more pain to yourself or as the Malay phrase goes, "sendiri cari masalah", you actually prefer it this way because it gives you purpose.
Everyone wants to be able to pursue their passion full-time and do it professionally. But if circumstances require you to have a nice, full-time job with a decent salary, don't kill off your passion just yet. It's time to juggle. Let's look at how you can do it without burning out on both ends.
1. Treat your passion like a second job.
Malaysians are told to have #2Kerja, but funnily enough, that has to happen for your passion to thrive.
Your full-time job is security. You don't have the freedom of developing your passion if you're constantly worried about money. So if your full-time job is the job you need, then your passion is the job you choose. Create your own regular office hours, and obey them as strictly as if you have your boss watching you punch in and punch out.
You don't have to work on your passion every day, but once a week is the absolute minimum. If you go lower than that (say, once a month), the momentum will die out. You might even forget what you practiced from last time.
Choose a time when you can concentrate on your passion wholeheartedly. Quality time is much more important than spending hours multitasking your passion with other things.
2. Make time, not find time.
You know you have to spend more time on your passion, but how? There's barely enough time to spare after you count out R&R, family time, running errands, etc etc.
You can do it by making time. You know how in TV or movies where the big shots always say to their secretary through the phone, "Cancel all my meetings for today"?
That's what you have to do. Cancel all the time-wasters. Look hard enough and you'll find them. Maybe TV has to go. Maybe you have to uninstall Candy Crush from your phone. Maybe you need to sign out from all social media. Maybe reading horror stories on Reddit NoSleep isn't the best use of your time (that one's for us).
Time with friends and family aren't time-wasters, but if you're just doing your own thing in the same room then maybe you can excuse yourself for a while. Explain how important your passion is to you and why you need to work on it. They'll understand if you make the effort to spend quality time with them on other days.
3. Focus on the things that matter.
Your limited time must be used wisely. As much as you want to explore all the nuances of your passion, you have to focus on things that will satisfy you in the long run. When you're faced with two things you can do, ask yourself these questions:
- Will this matter 1 month, 6 months, 1 year from now?
- Is this for short-term gain or long-term gain?
- Which choice has the most impact?
- Which choice will serve my goals better?
- Am I doing this because it's necessary or because it looks cool?
- Can I do this now but postpone that to later?
Doing everything related to your passion is nice, but not when you spread yourself too thin. We want that work-life-passion balance, right? By separating the 'core' from the 'add-ons', you get to go further and feel better about how you're spending your time.
4. Plan your progress.
Imagine if you had one night off that you could spend on your passion, and discovered that you're not sure where to start. This is dangerous, because it might be that you won't start at all.
Because our passion matter so much to us, it's easy to get caught up in visions of perfection. We say we won't start until we have the perfect conditions or tools, we say we want to 'do it right'. But the reality is, we're too scared to find out that we might not be good at it after all. This is what's stopping us from starting.
Force yourself out of the self-doubt. Plan out things to do weeks, months or even a year in advance. Set yourself challenges and deadlines. Prepare your own 'syllabus' by referring to existing classes in the market or take the advice of professionals. When you do this, it will feel less like blind effort and more like steady improvement.
Real progress requires you to actually do and do and do. It doesn't matter that you get it wrong. Mistakes are better than endlessly 'collecting inspiration'.
If it was too easy, it wouldn't be as fulfilling. Juggling a full-time job and a passion can go for quite a while. You might even feel wistful for the leisurely time before you discovered your passion. But you know what's worse than the juggle? It's waking up one day and realizing that if you had started this very day, you would've been able to stop juggling already. You would've been able to do the thing you love full-time. So start juggling today.
What's your passion that you're juggling right now?