This is a subject I am always researching a re-analyzing. My own personal schedule shifts quite often and I need to know how to manage my own time. I go to work from 9-5, eat, and work some more. It has been tough and it will take some trial and error but it is possible! Hopefully, the freelance work you do will take off and you will be able to maintain an income solely on your own business, but for now; These are a few of the things that have worked for me and tips that I would recommend anyone with this double shift style to try out!
1. Write It All Down.
Whether you just jot it down on a notebook or a napkin, it is essential for you to remember the tasks you need to do when you are already filled with things to do! Even if you have a great memory, writing things on a list and crossing them off is a great feeling that motivates you to keep going. You will be more efficient and feel less overwhelmed when you get home and scramble to figure out what your next tasks are.
I keep a journal with me at work that I will make a list in. There are countless moments when I will be finishing a project at work that reminds me of a something, or gives me the solution I was trying to figure out the night before at my own desk. Instead of stopping what I am doing to work on my own client (not an ethical idea), i quickly write down my thoughts so I can come back to it without any hesitation. Works amazingly to save time.
2. Always Keep Learning.
This is less of a balancing mechanism and more of a productive way of working. I personally hate wasting time when I know I have loads of things I could be doing. If I am low on things to do at my day job, I take every opportunity to learn and sharpen any qualities that I can. The company I work for is pretty small, so I have the ability to talk to the owner and be very close to everyone - which helps me learn what to do and what not to do in a business and in dealing with clients. If this isn't where you want to work forever, then think of it as a class you are getting paid for. Even if it doesn't pertain to your freelance work (I am grateful that mine does), you can still learn a lot from other people.
3. Section Off Your Days
I like to have a clear view or idea of what I am going to be doing that day. Along with last minute jobs and files that need to be sent, I dedicate every weekday to a specific goal that I can check off at the end of the night. For example;
Monday is Networking day. Where I schedule out social media posts, write emails to clients and look for more connections.
Tuesday is Finance day. This is when I calculate what I have spent so far and organize whatever invoice I might need to send at some point.
... and so on. This helps you keep an organized plan and stay on track. When you spent all day at work you can get used to going to someone else to give you a task. This way you will always have something on task for today that you already know about. It's what I love about being your own boss.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Take Risks
This is something I think we all struggle in. Once in a while I will have so much to do that will be impossible in the short amount of time that I have when I come home from work. I have had to take personal days off from the office to get my own work done. If you know what you are worth and are making sure to stay responsible at your day job, there is nothing wrong with investing a day for your own career. Would you feel guilty taking a day off when you are sick? (for us work-a-holics, yes, but mostly no) You need to take care of your body and you need to take care of your goals.
It is insane how much work I can get done in a full day completely dedicated to my career. If you price yourself correctly as well then you will be making more money working at home then at the office anyways.
5. Cut the distraction.
This includes kids, phone, Tv in the background, but specifically the day job. If you have a lot of responsibility at work, sometimes you aren't even off the clock when you are off the clock! its important to make those boundaries clear with your boss and co-workers. Don't accept calls after hours and don't reply to emails once you are on YOUR time. Stop making someone else rich and hustle for yourself.
If you work retail, don't take extra shifts. You made your schedule around them and you need to honor your time dedicated to your career. That job is most likely not where you want to be in 5 years, and although you might need those hours, you also will never get to the career spot you want to be in if you spend all your time at that day job. Stay focused.
There is a lot more that I have learned at work and during my freelance that I would love to write about, so stay on the look out for a part two! Comment with any tips that have worked for you!