Caught Between Your Business and Your Day Job?

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Ever feel like you have a split personality because you’re straddling the line between your business and your day job? Like you have to be in one mode to be effective in one realm, and a completely different mode to be successful in the other?

Welcome to the club!

Okay, I’ll let you in on my version of this scenario. To be honest, sometimes I get super overwhelmed with trying to to function well in two completely different realms – maybe you can relate.

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See, I moved to Los Angeles when I was 22 to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, specifically, as a scriptwriter/actress/filmmaker. Well, in the last few years I’ve made several films and even booked some significant acting roles, but I learned pretty quickly that it’s a really good idea to have a steady income that I can rely on while I build up my resume in the entertainment industry!

Know what I mean?

For many people, this attention split happens if they’re trying to build up their side business while still working a day job. There’s nothing wrong with relying on a steady income, heck, it’s kind of a prerequisite these days, especially if you live in a big, expensive city.

But the challenge comes in, well, getting enough sleep for one, but in being able to switch modes. For me, it’s challenging to transition from cranking out marketing copy for The Blog Babe and then suddenly flip over to being Lady Macbeth, despondently mourning the death of her child and venting her grief by murdering the king.

Yeah.

Honestly, managing my focus from one to the other sometimes makes me feel a little crazy. Almost like I have two different personalities in my head.

You probably have your own version of this split-focus scenario, whether it’s handling kids, volunteering, or juggling a lot of responsibilities in two seemingly opposite realms. So, what can you do? Here are some of my favorite habits that help keep things running on track, even when they’re hectic as all heck.

Set Aside Designated Time for Each

Confession: the biggest hurdle to being successful in two realms is the temptation to multi-task. And yes, I’m guilty of that.

For instance, and I’ll just use myself as an example, say I’m crafting a blog post for one of my clients. It takes a lot of focused attention because I want to do well for the client! Then a text message comes in from a film director friend who says, “Hey, Allison, can you send me a copy of the script we were working on last week?”

Temptation strikes! Of course, I love thinking about scripts and interacting with other artists who are my friends, so I want to click over and start emailing scripts out. I also want to respond to him with something like, “Sure, also I was thinking about the monologue on page 3 – I’m going to re-write it later today.”

Bam. Now I’m thinking about that danged monologue instead of writing the blog post, and I’ve probably set myself back at least 15 minutes.

If, instead of letting myself check the text message (which derailed my train of thought big time), I had set aside my phone and given the blog post my undivided attention, chances are I’d finish much more quickly and do a better job.

The Lesson? Set aside designated time for your two different “worlds.” Don’t research ways to generate web traffic for your budding business while you’re supposed to be making sales calls for your day job (unless you’re reading a post on The Blog Babe site, that’s the one exception – hehe!).

Give Yourself Permission to Let it Flow

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we really must adhere to deadlines and stay focused. But other times, when timelines aren’t quite as locked in, being a little more flexible can be super beneficial.

For example, I personally like to write on Sundays. Usually that’s the day when I’ll work on scripts, but sometimes I’ll get a GREAT idea for The Blog Babe and have a ton of energy to give all my attention to that project.

In this instance, it would be totally crazy for me to force myself to work on a script. The muse has called! The Blog Babe muse, that is.

The Lesson? When the muse strikes and you find yourself bursting with energy for one project or the other – go with it! Spend 5 hours working on a project if you’re so inclined (just as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of important work projects that have deadlines).

Get Lots of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of those things that is just SO obvious… but that many of us rarely actually do! It’s the simple things that can be the most difficult, isn’t it? 😉

Ever notice that you can be totally cranky, hopeless and depleted at 7 pm one day and wake up after a good night’s rest wondering what all the fuss was about?

I truly believe that life is MUCH more fun and creative when you get plenty of sleep, and as it turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Studies done at the University of California, San Diego found that “Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep enhances creative problem-solving.”

The Lesson? Making sleep a priority always makes juggling so many things at once much easier! And not only will it be easier, but it will also give you more clarity, better ideas and help you enjoy life more.

Okay, so to recap: when you’re juggling two life-pursuits at once, here are three helpful tips to keep it all in check and experience success in both arenas:

  • Set aside designated (aka uninterrupted) time for each during your day.
  • Give yourself permission to let it flow when possible – especially if you are struck with energy and enthusiasm!
  • Get lots of sleep. Seriously.

I’ll bet you have some strategies of your own to keep yourself moving forward in different areas of your life. Share one in the comments area below to join the conversation!

 

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2 thoughts on “Caught Between Your Business and Your Day Job?

  1. In your initial email, you wrote: “Because even though I’m totally in love with both things, having two means that neither of them get my full, undivided, 40-hours-a-week attention.”

    As a business owner and performer, I never assume that I’ll just be working 40 hours-a-week. I still workout, run errands and socialize, it’s just that I’ve made a distinctive shift b/c my business and our clients require more time and I’ve made that commitment.

    I 100% agree with you on the sleep thing though. If I don’t sleep, I’m not productive. Happily my business partner is more of a morning person and I am more of a night person so there’s an overlap that never suffers.

    Enjoying your POV and posts.

    • Good point, Kristina. Owning a business and being a performer often takes WAYYY more than 40 hours a week, especially when you’re really hustling to get things done!

      Thanks for your comment and insight. 😉

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