The thing about having a side hustle is that if you’re calling it a “side hustle” that means you probably have a “main hustle” as well. When I’m not engaging in all of my artistic endeavors, I’m also a full-time graphic designer. It takes a lot to keep all of those balls in the air while also trying to be a good employee, partner, friend, daughter, sister and maintain a shred of sanity.

I’m not going to lie, some days it’s not easy and it feels like you need to question your priorities in life. Every year I set goals for myself and think of something new and exciting I want to add to my business or try. My excitement level isn’t a problem, it’s the lack of time I have. One thing I definitely don’t do enough of is take the time to relax.

The thing about too much stress is it leads to a whole host of other things that tend to be negative effects on your health. So while trying to be entrepreneurial champion may seem like a good idea, in theory, it doesn’t mean that’s a good long-term goal. Like it or not if your brain doesn’t tell you when to stop your body MOST DEFINITELY will. Sometimes that just means something like catching a cold or getting a headache. It sometimes feels like when the conscious you is working away and trying to do ALL THE THINGS there’s a second you behind the scenes having a chat with your body. They’re very clearly plotting how to take you down before you self-destruct. That may seem a little hostile but your conspirators actually have the best of intentions for you. You just need to listen to them once and a while.
There’s no substitution for working hard, but there are ways to work smarter so that you don’t burn yourself out. If you don’t already own some form of a planner whether it be digital or manual – get one ASAP.  Planning your time and creating a goal list is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself on track with what you have to do on a day to day basis. Having a monthly overview of your tasks can also help you see if you are over-committing or there’s a little bit of room to take on an additional task.

Scheduling in time for yourself, to eat a properly balanced meal, exercise, and get adequate rest is essential. I have a rule where I don’t work past a certain time a night. Because I have a full-time day job, I’m putting in a lot of my extra time in the evenings and weekends. Also,  I’m not 20 years old anymore and staying up past a certain time at night has a whole host of consequences for me that I didn’t think were possible if alcohol wasn’t somehow involved. As well, my full-time job is important to me and I don’t want to compromise my performance there either.
You don’t owe anyone being a workaholic. Studies have shown that after a certain period of time your brain needs a break anyway from focusing on a particular task. If not, it will find a way to distract you or you’ll be less productive anyway.  I know all too well the feeling of trying to get as much out of a day as the next person, but this is how we suddenly look up and realized we are halfway through September and scream in horror because where the H did summer go?!?

Another rule I have is that if I need to spend a weekend working on projects during the day, my evenings are free to watch TV, go out, or just do something that isn’t related to the extra tasks I’m taking on. I also try to do laundry on those days so that I’m forced to get up and go all the way downstairs to the basement periodically.
Above all, plan to take vacations where you do little to absolutely no work. Tell everyone you are away and unavailable during that time. It’s ok. The world will keep turning without you. If you don’t take care of yourself no one else will. It’s crucial to recharge your batteries once and a while by turning off and living your life unrestricted by all of these expectations and tasks you have accumulated.

I’m not in a perfect place with my work-life balance but it’s something I’m making a conscious effort to pay more attention to and change. Even little changes here and there will help keep your life more balanced. There’s a lot of reward in working hard on things your passionate about, just don’t forget to live your life and relax a little while you’re at it.

What do you do to keep a good work-life balance? Share with me in the comments!

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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