By Lauren | May 15, 2017 | 0 Comment
Taking on work outside of work sounds like many peoples worst nightmare, but for me, taking on side projects/freelance work outside of my full-time career is a great way to build my resume, and also earn some extra cash. But managing additional work on top of my job isn’t always easy.
Like most people, I do enjoy having a work-life balance, and although it doesn’t sound possible when you decide to take on freelance work on top of your 9-5 career—it is. Here is how I do it.
I’m someone that learned at an early age the art of organization. I grew up as a competitive dancer, and balancing school, part-time jobs and dance, was something I just learned to do—a skill I’m thankful for now. Organization is key if you plan on taking on other projects on top of your career, and having a life on top of it all.
So how do I stay organized? I keep calendars and to-do lists everywhere—in my phone, on my computer, on paper, and it helps. Some people try and keep everything they need to do in their head, and as much as you’d like to think you have a great memory, it’s impossible to remember everything. Getting into the habit of keeping your to-do’s organized will help increase your productivity and allow you to better organize your time.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by feeling like everything needs to be done at once, prioritize what is the most critical. To do this, look at the timelines you are working with and breakdown the work you are going to need to accomplish to meet deadlines.
Every week I’ll write down what I’m going to work on each night after work. If there’s a night that I know I’m going to go to extra-curricular activates like yoga, or hangout with friends and family, I purposely plan to do the work that I need to do on the opposite night of those activities. It’s important to make time for the “fun” things in life, so keeping those things as a priority is critical for work-life balance. If you are finding you don’t have time for things outside of work and freelance, you’re taking on too much of it.
It’s easy to lose site of the things that are important in life when you see the dollar sign that that new freelance project can land in your pocket. It can be addicting to keep taking these projects on, and before you know it, you’ll realize that you’ve suddenly lost sight of your sanity and those things in your life that you loved doing (outside of work). Realize that it’s okay to be picky. When you’re not doing freelance work as a full-time job; you have to realize that it may become impossible to take on everything.
Take on projects that pay what you are worth, or that you feel will be valuable to add to your portfolio. Personally, I only take on projects that I like doing and are for companies that I can be interested in, and although I wish I could take on everything, I’ve come to learn that if I’m going to do additional work outside of my 9-5, it has to be work that I’m passionate about and enjoy.
I also look at how much time a project is going to take—often I try to stay clear of the projects that require a long-term commitment because then I’m preventing myself from taking on other projects that may come up that I am more passionate about and you don’t know how your life and priorities can change in six months. Instead, I take on a lot of one-off projects, giving me much more flexibility with my time and what I agree too.
Freelancing gives me the ability to continue to build my portfolio and work experience, while still holding a full-time career in my field. It provides me with new challenges, and gives me the chance to work on new and exciting things for a variety of clients. As a young professional, I firmly believe that you shouldn’t settle and stop learning. By freelancing, I’m continuing to grow in my industry but I constantly have to remind myself that freelancing isn’t my one and only priority, in fact, it’s not even my top priority. Having balance is important to your sanity and happiness, so don’t take off more than you can chew.
This post was originally written for Ten Thousand Coffees.