how-i-juggle-narrativity.png

Before I begin, I wanna start off by giving you a little background info about, well, me!

I'm a 25 year old who works as a legal executive at a company in the financial services sector (like a bank), located in KL. I live in Shah Alam, so I commute to work by taking the KTM.

I live with my parents and little brother. Another brother is in Japan, doing his degree. (Side note: It's my lifelong dream to travel to Japan) 

A perfect day out for me is watching a really epic sci-fi or fantasy movie at the cinema (and all the trailers because I love trailers) and then reading a book at a cafe somewhere while eating dessert. I love getting lost in stories. I don't know why I'm telling you this particular fact... But maybe I should a take a day to do this. It's been a while.

Anyway, what I wanted to talk about in this post is juggling a job with a business, a blog, or a passion.

All jobs are stressful in their own ways. There's no escaping stress. But I'm sure a lot of people think, even for just a minute, about how good it would feel to be their own boss and run their own business. Selling or doing something they really LOVE.

Most times the main motivation is not even money. The true goal is getting the freedom to do what you want, when you want.

I'm no stranger to that. I want to be my own boss too. So what I'm doing now is juggling my job with my blog by dedicating time to both. This way, I don't have to sacrifice my dreams for financial stability.

So I came up with a routine to make the best of my limited time. I know I'm not the first to do it, nor is my routine unique. But I'd thought it'd be nice to share it with you. I'm gonna share in the context of my blog, but you can definitely apply it to your business or passion. 🙂

 

My routine changes up depending on what 'season' I'm in: ON or OFF.

What my 'On' Season looks like

how-i-juggle.png

My ON seasons are basically days when I feel extremely -- extremely -- motivated to work on my blog. It's those days when physical and mental exhaustion don't affect my motivation to just DO. 

Someone pissed me off at work? Psshhh, who cares. I'm just brimming with ideas.  

Here's a breakdown of what my ON day looks like: 

  • 6.30 am - Wake up & get ready for work
  • 7.35 am - Leave house to go to the KTM station
  • 7.55 am - Browse my favourite websites while waiting for KTM
  • 8.05 am - Get on KTM and write (if I get a seat or manage to lean on a wall). If I have to hang on to the handheld thingy for dear life, I just read blog posts or ebooks on business
  • 9.00 am - Work
  • 1.00 pm - Write on my phone, office computer or notebook*
  • 2.00 pm - Work
  • 7.00 pm - Wait for KTM and write on my phone
  • 7.15 pm - Get on KTM and write again (see 8.05 am)
  • 8.05 pm - Drive home and discuss certain blog post / newsletter points with myself out loud**
  • 8.20 pm - Reach home and rest, and spend time with family
  • 10.30 pm - Cross off tasks on my to-do list that require a computer (e.g. Designing blog post headers, formatting blog post). If I finish early, I spend more time with family
  • 12.30 am - Sleep

As is normal with any office slave (haha), I only have short windows of time during the day. So I try to do the bulk of my writing during those short windows. My brain is fried by the time I get home, so, yeah.

* To save time, I buy 2 packs of the same food for breakfast AND lunch. Or I'll eat lunch that my mum has packed for me. (Thanks Mama!) This saves about 15-30 minutes that I would have spent if I went out to buy food.

** Yes, I talk to myself a lot. Rather than get the hated writer's block in front of the laptop, I discuss the points out loud as if I'm talking to a friend. It helps me clarify my thoughts and write more naturally. (I explained more about it here)

 

What my 'off' Season looks like 

OFF days are days when life doesn't feel so good. I may have woken up late, my stomach may be hurting, work may be extra stressful, or I'm just generally BLERH.

On these kind of days, my principle is to not force it. I won't beat myself up for 'not being productive'. After all, tomorrow's a new day. It's OK to take it easy today. :) 

Here's what it looks like:

  • 6.50 am - Wake up & get ready for work (Yes, I know how late that is)
  • 7.35 am - Leave house to go to the KTM station
  • 7.55 am - Browse my favourite websites while waiting for KTM
  • 8.05 am - Get on KTM and SLEEP (if I get a seat). If not, I cry internally and browse Reddit on my phone
  • 9.00 am - Work
  • 1.00 pm - Buy food at the cafeteria and watch Netflix (digging the Outlander series right now)
  • 2.00 pm - Work
  • 7.00 pm - Wait for KTM and browse Internet
  • 7.15 pm - Get on KTM and SLEEP. If not too tired, I watch Youtube or read fiction
  • 8.05 pm - Drive home while karaoke-ing my favourite songs
  • 8.20 pm - Reach home and rest, and spend time with family
  • 10.30 pm - Watch Youtube
  • 11.30 pm - Sleep
 

How to juggle without going crazy

It's easy to burn yourself out by juggling if you're not careful. And burning out means you'll dread your job and dread your blog / business / passion. Here's 4 tips to keep in mind to prevent burn out:

1. It's normal to have ON and OFF days.

I used to think that I had to be productive every single day. Or HUSTLE, as they say.

But mentally, I'm not equipped to be ON every day, and I shouldn't! Getting that mental rest on OFF days allows me to make my ON days more productive. And I don't sacrifice my job performance too. 

Despite sticking to this lax and unpredictable schedule (sometimes I think I'm getting too much sleep) , I've managed to cross off a few things on my list:

My results are just peanuts compared to other bloggers. But I'm proud of them because I didn't sacrifice family time, my job and my hobbies. 

Don't feel too bad if you find yourself relaxing after a long day instead of tending to your business or blog. That's your OFF day. Enjoy it guilt-free, and then be productive the next day!

You might want to experiment to see what combo of ON and OFF days works best for you.  

  • Maybe like me, you can alternate 1 day ON and 1 day OFF. E.g. Monday is ON, but Tuesday is OFF. 
  • 1 day ON and 2 days OFF
  • 2 days ON and 1 day OFF
  • Or even 1 day ON and 6 days OFF (meaning you only do stuff 1x a week)

 It's the quality, not the quantity (yeah yeah, cliche). 

2. Focus on doing, not learning.

OK, this is the kind of tip that goes AGAINST what a lot of people are saying.

The usual advice is:  

Learn as much as you can.  

What I'm advising is: 

Do as much as you can. (And learn) 

Too much learning can be a bad thing. I can read cookbooks, watch MasterChef and Youtube videos on cooking (Buzzfeed's Tasty mostly)... But is that enough to make me an expert on cooking?

 I may 'know' about cooking, but I won't be an 'expert' on cooking. Experts are doers. They don't just observe.

So if you're passionate about something, be it cooking, fitness, make up, nothing beats getting your hands dirty.

You have limited time. Use that time to pick up that brush / pen / spatula / chosen tool and you'll find yourself satisfied with your progress. 

3. Make a short to-do list instead of a long one.

How many tasks do you usually put on your to-do list?  (Not chores, but stuff related to your blog / business / passion)

I sometimes go way overboard and list up to 10 things daily that I just supposedly HAVE to do. 

  1. Write new blog post on blog post promotion. 
  2. Outline Friday's newsletter. 
  3. Fix typos in email course.
  4. Make new sign up form. 
  5. Design header for newsletter. 
  6. ... 

You get the picture. 

And at the end of each night, when I'm so ready to pass out, I'll HATE myself for not completing all the tasks. Not to mention the-morning-after regret too. 

It's such a toxic, icky cycle where I constantly feel bad and guilty. 

My CURRENT daily to-do lists have a maximum of ONE task on them.

One task that has the most impact to my blog and business. It's something that'll allow me to say, "At least I've done X today so I'm satisfied."

This cuts down so much UNNECESSARY tasks that you give to yourself. When you have limited time and energy, ask yourself-

What is the most important and meaningful task for my blog / passion / business? 

And then do that task. I swear you'll feel more relaxed. 

4. Practice doing stuff in less than ideal conditions. (AKA, the perfect setup is NOT a necessity) 

Writing on my phone is really... annoying. It's not as nice as writing on a laptop, or an iMac. (Oh, one can only dream...)

But if I wait until I reach home to write on my laptop, I'm never gonna get much practice.

If you wait for your surroundings to be perfect before you start practicing, you won't get much practice. And the less practice you get, the slower you'll become an expert.

Investing in quality tools or making your surroundings picture-perfect is good. But in the end, your skill is IN YOU. Not in the tools or surroundings.

So if you only have a hand-mixer instead of the Kitchen-Aid mixer, it's OK. Do what you can with what you have. Your skills will still be sharpened! 😉

 

 

So that's how I juggle. My routine's not perfect, and there are times when I have more OFF days than ON days. But I'll keep juggling. I know that if I stick to it and focus on the right things, I'll get my freedom soon enough.

What's your juggling routine? Leave a comment down below!

2 Comments