There are a lot of great things about pursuing a creative career and lifestyle. A flexible schedule, the freedom to come up with new ideas and chase them, the frequent ability to sleep in past 9am on weekdays. One of the drawbacks that I’ve found, though, is that when you’re a multi-hyphenate you almost always have too much on your plate.
A typical day for me is spent on any number of projects: 5-8 hours spent doing day job work for various clients (I work from home as a marketing consultant), 2-3 hours doing things for my acting career, another handful of hours spent working on the film I’m executive producing, finding time to get to the gym or get outside, cooking dinner, doing laundry, and sometimes playing around with another side project that’s suddenly sprung into my mind. (I kid you not, I spent last weekend designing a board game.) I’m not saying all this to toot my own horn, I think this is a pretty typical schedule for most of the people who read this website, and most of the people in my generation who’ve chosen non-traditional careers.
Sometimes I get burnt out, and the long list of things that I need to get completed becomes overwhelming to the point where I cannot get a single thing done. Here’s a few things I’ve learned about fitting it all in without losing my mind:
- Remove one thing. That silly saying about women needing to look in the mirror and remove one accessory before heading out the door? I think that’s an antiquated piece of advice from a fashion perspective, but a pretty decent one when it comes to task management. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, find a way to prioritize. Is there something on your list that doesn’t really need to get done? Drop it from you list for now, but…
- Always, always, always keep a to do list. That extra idea you put on hold might be an amazing one, so write it down and you’ll be able to come back to it when you do have extra time. I find that often the difference between me getting day-to-day tasks finished is entirely dependent on whether or not the item made it to my to do list.
- Have a weekend. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a strict Saturday-Sunday thing, but I think you need to give yourself 24-48 hours of “no work allowed” time to avoid getting burnt out. Plan to go out to dinner, to a movie, to a park, wherever sounds fun to you, at least once a week. I think that people who are in non-traditional careers often feel like they haven’t earned a day off, and that’s just not true. Go have some fun, your “weekday” work will improve because of it, I promise.
What helps you manage a busy schedule?