How to Balance Working Full-Time and Chasing Your Dreams
Are you caught between working full-time and chasing your dreams? You’re not alone.
Working full-time is necessary because we need to be able to afford to live. But rarely do we work in a career that aligns with our life dreams. In fact, only roughly 27% of people actually work in a career they went to school for. That means the rest of us are working at a job just for the money.
What happened to chasing our dreams?
Full-time work isn’t easy. Often working full-time is between 40-50 hours a week, it’s tiring, draining, and it hardly leaves time for anything else.
But, the truth is, many people work full-time jobs while chasing their dreams on the side, so it is possible.
However, just because it’s possible doesn’t make it easy. Working full-time and chasing your dreams is hard. That’s why so many people don’t do it because it’s hard work.
So the question is, how do you succeed at doing both? Here’s how:
Be Clear on Your Dreams
The easiest way to fail at working full-time and chasing your dreams is to not have a clear focus on what you are working towards.
Do you know someone who has tons of dreams and ideas but they never seem to accomplish even the slightest amount of anything? Are you that person?
People like that tend to have the best intentions of chasing their dreams but they fall short in having a clear vision.
Sometimes even our dreams can be overwhelming.
Before you go any further on your journey of chasing your dreams, get clear on exactly what you are after. Spend some time alone reflecting on your goals and writing them out.
Are your dreams to start a business? Write a book? Go back to school? Travel? Have a family? Learn a language?
Maybe you have more than one dream. Whatever it is, make sure you are clear about it and that you write it down.
Once you have them written out, put them someplace where you can see them every day. This way you are constantly reminded of what you are working towards.
When things get hard and work gets overwhelming you can always refer back to your list and remember what you’re working towards.
Focus Your Mindset & Work HARD
If you’re working a full-time job and chasing your dreams, your mindset will need to be extremely focused in order to succeed at both.
Doing both things automatically makes you busy. That means your mindset needs to be focused on working hard and working often.
Dreams are rarely achieved when you work on them here and there. We will never have more than 24 hours in a day. So, where do we find the time to work toward our dreams?
We create it!
We find time to hang out with friends, binge-watch TV, go to sporting events and concerts, go on dates, and lounge around being lazy and doing nothing. The fact is, there is enough time in the day.
We tend to make time for the things that are most important and valuable to us. If your dream is truly important to you, you’ll make time to chase it.
When I decided to start this blog while also balancing my personal writing endeavors, work, graduate school, and an e-commerce business, I had to make adjustments.
I now wake up earlier, I time-block my days, I rarely watch TV, I dedicate only 1 – 2 days a week to hang out with friends, and I make sure my priority is chasing my dreams.
I value my goals so I work towards them. My social life has not suffered. In fact, it has improved because I spend more meaningful time with my friends. My focus is better and I’m pleased with my adjustments.
Focusing your mindset is necessary when working full-time and chasing your dreams. There are only 24 hours in a day and you chose how you spend them.
Develop an Action Plan
Dreams don’t just happen overnight. They usually take tons of work.
For example, if your dream is to start a business you need to figure out what type of business to start, how to get a business license, where to get the start-up money, a location to run the business from, the product you will have, how to source your product, a general business plan, and so much more.
If your dream is to write a book you need to figure out the topic of the book, how long you want it to be, the characters, the plot, find an editor, find a publisher, build an audience, and so on.
I could go on and on but the point is all dreams need a plan of action for accomplishment.
The reason a plan is so important is so that you always know what you are working on. Life won’t wait for you to catch up when you fall behind.
Sometimes you may need to work late or deal with family issues or you get sick. Once you are back and ready to work towards your dream, you need to know exactly what to work towards.
It’s a guarantee that work will get in the way of your dreams. Use your solid plan of action to continue to chase your dreams even when that happens.
Trust me, a solid plan of action will keep you on a solid path toward your dreams.
You’ll likely have many meetings, assignments, and due dates for your full-time job and for aspects of chasing your dreams.
I like to write out my monthly meetings and assignments on two separate calendars on my phone.
I like using this method because it is easy to add information and it is somewhere I can quickly glance at if I am typing an email or on a phone call.
Another important reason to stay organized is that people who are in a disorganized environment tend to be less productive and aren’t seen as professional. Additionally, if you are working on your dreams and in a messy environment, your brain is more distracted and less productive.
Don’t Take Work Home
Work is for work and everything else is for after work.
Office work should not be taken home with you. Unless you are getting paid to do work on projects at home, leave your work at work!
If you bring home work from the office, it cuts into the valuable time you use to work towards your dreams.
If you feel guilty for not finishing a project, or you are overwhelmed with your workload, talk to your boss to see what you can do. Unless they want to pay you to do some work from home, that can be an exception. If not, then leave it in the office. It can wait until the morning.