Working 9-5, When Will I Have the Time?!

Some key areas of focus for building whilst working full-time

Working 9-5, When Will I Have the Time?!

TLDR: Focus in and say no to everything else (for now)

If you are anything like me, you have a million and one commitments, and 24 hours go by in a blink of an eye.

You sometimes wish that days could be just a tad longer, and so despite the irresistible seduction, you tend to reject your comfy/cozy bed as it calls your name in the wee hours of the night.

So when we start discussing building a part-time business on a crazy busy schedule, it sounds difficult or even impossible.

Here are some things I learned throughout my journey that have made a difference in my workflow, productivity, and overall ability to juggle my part-time business on top of all my other commitments:

Identify Core Priorities

The danger of pursuing many good projects is not having the time to pursue any great projects. Therefore, a rule of thumb: Move slowly when choosing what to focus on. Then move quickly once you've decided. Move slow then fast.

Julian Shapiro

One solution to the aforementioned conundrum is to limit the number of commitments in the first place. We need to both be real to ourselves and courageous enough to let some dreams go (for now).

I had to do just that, which was super scary initially. My social media profiles across multiple platforms were growing with momentum, and I couldn't get myself to step off the proverbial gas pedal.

But I had to get past burnout. So I sat down and figured out what was most important to me.

I figured out that the following three things deserved my attention the most:

  • Family

  • Health (Gym & Sleep)

  • Business (Freelancing)

Social media didn’t make the list, so I had to build up the courage to let it go until I had adequate systems to bring it back into my life.

And that’s the key to pulling the trigger: knowing it’s never goodbye forever.

Redefine Success

This is one key point I come back to again and again. I must constantly remind myself of this as to-do tasks tend to creep up on my list.

If you have one mandatory task to be completed daily, you can prioritize this one task and adjust your day accordingly to ensure that the task is completed.

In contrast, having many tasks of equal importance in your day means you are more likely not to prioritize any of them.

So that’s how I try to set up my list for the day (setting it up the night before, of course):

  • 1 mandatory task

  • 2 high-priority but non-mandatory tasks

A successful day is defined as the completion of my mandatory task.

If I can get to my other two high-priority tasks, then great! If I can’t get to them, then that’s ok too.

This is how I launched my personal website in just a few days. I chipped at it gradually, assigning its tasks as “mandatory.” Typically, I rush things out to get them done in one sitting. So forcing myself to work on the webpage gradually across several days was both new & surprisingly enjoyable.

Now - because I do work a 9-5 in addition to my part-time business, I host two different to-do lists with two different mandatory tasks:

  • 1 mandatory task for work

  • 1 personal mandatory task (i.e., working on my website)

Speaking of to-do lists, a big THANK YOU to today’s sponsor: TeuxDeux

A simple to-do list for organizing everything. Try it free today.

Systems & Procrastination

Systems, systems, systems.

Building systems is the difference between launching a profitable part-time business and procrastinating and never launching anything at all.

I’ll illustrate a recent example.

I’m a social media doom scroller. I subconsciously get the urge to check my feeds, so I pick up my phone and do so for a ridiculous amount of time.

I needed this to stop, but I couldn’t rely on myself to stop alone.

So I added two apps to my phone. It changed the game. No more wasted time and no more feeling bad about it afterward.

  • Opal blocks any app I choose for a time period of my choice.

  • Kindle - it allows me to read ebooks on my phone.

Whenever I get the subconscious urge for dopamine, I get a message from Opal blocking the social media app I was trying to access.

This is important because it wakes me to the reality of what I was doing. It takes me out of that “zombie” mode and reminds me that the doom-scrolling activity will not do me any good.

Next, I trained myself to open up Kindle whenever I saw Opal’s message. So now, whenever I try to access social media during the day, I read a couple of pages of an ebook.

This is key because much of my content is inspired by what I consume. But when you are busy, reading becomes a luxury.

For context, last year, I read a total of 7 books. 7 books in 12 months.

We are in March of this year, and I’m already reading through my 5th book. I’m well on the way to reading over 15 books this year. This is a huge difference!

I’ll take it a step further.

I highlight these books on Kindle. My highlights are then exported to my Readwise account. My Readwise account then exports these highlights to my Notion page automatically. So all of my highlights are in one place, ready to go in case I need them for content creation. Awesome!

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