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How do I keep up with my hobbies having a full time job?

I really want to continue writing and performing, but I don't know how to carve out time for everything I want to do. Do you use any planners or digital tools to help plan life outside work?

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Brandon’s Answer

Well Abby in my personal experience I always went with what worked for others as opposed to what really works for myself. For example, many people use daily planners every morning and draft out times of their days. Some have To-do-lists, etc. My point is you have to figure out the way your mind works when it comes to task management, spreading oneself to thin, and being unapologetic for being who you are. Find a system you know that will work for you so it's not a chore to do it.

When it comes to me I operate on two styles of organization:
1. I call it "to-do-wish-list" I take a paper out and draw a line down the middle. Left side is my to-do-list for the week, day, month and the right side is the wish list. The to-do-list are things that you stick to because you either need to or they supplement your life and cannot be compromised, these can be work, gym, any immediate priorities. The wish list is composed of things I want to do but they can be planned more accordingly, these can be cleaning out car/room, handling any clerical things, hanging with friends, a hobby etc.
2. Then when I have that list decided, I designate days of the week as certain days. For example, Wednesday are my "clerical days" which mean any bills need to be setup or autopaid, any chores I need to take care of etc. I designate other days as creative days, so after work I involve myself with the hobbies I enjoy, any people I want to see, etc. This method helps me so if a friend asks to hangout, I know I have designated for that day, or if I need to go to the DMV I have clerical days for that. etc. It organizes easier in my head. I've trialed and error-red many times and this is what worked for me. I really hope my perspective helps! Find what works for you! Good Luck!
Thank you comment icon I've never heard of this kind of approach before, and I really like it! I take very well to structure, and this seems like a wonderful way to organize myself. Thanks so much for taking the time to share :) Abby, Admin
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Ryan’s Answer

Hey Abby,

As a creative soul navigating the bustling world of work, finding harmony between your full-time job and personal passions is both a challenge and a necessity. To keep the flames of creativity alive, begin by setting clear priorities and dedicating time each week to nurture your passions. Establish a schedule, treating these blocks of time as unmissable appointments. Utilize digital tools like Google Calendar or Todoist to help organize your life outside of work, and maximize your downtime by seizing opportunities to pursue your hobbies, even during breaks at work.

Creating a consistent routine (discipline) that incorporates your passions is key, but remember to establish boundaries between work and personal life. Stay flexible, as life can be unpredictable, and remain open to reassessing your priorities and schedule when needed. Connecting with like-minded individuals can be a source of motivation and inspiration, making it easier to prioritize your creative pursuits. Celebrate your achievements, both in your professional life and your hobbies, as acknowledging your progress can boost your motivation and help you maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Finally, don't forget the importance of self-care. Taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being is crucial in supporting both your work and creative endeavors. By following this approach, you can continue to nurture your creative passions while maintaining a successful career. Stay focused, be persistent, and enjoy the journey as you strike the perfect balance between work and play.
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Leanna’s Answer

I would suggest proactively scheduling your 'me' time. Work-life balance is super important and will help to prevent potential burnout. I like to keep track of all work and personal related activities in one calendar so that I can properly manage my time and ensure I have enough time to do the things I love to do.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Abby, Admin
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Rana’s Answer

I like to set my self up on my work calendar and personal calendar and ensure I am adding any important activity and appointments I have in both. It is also important to set expectations with work that you only work these hours and after that is your free time.
Thank you comment icon That's great to keep in mind - thank you! Abby, Admin
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Ann’s Answer

The first thing I would decide is whether a paper planner or digital planner/to do list works for you. This will take some time and experimenting. I personally need to have things written down and right in front of me at all times. If I can't see it I won't remember it. And sometimes don't remember even if I can see it!

It's really important to set boundaries for yourself and your work/school hours. Time management and planning skills are crucial, but they won't help if you don't set boundaries. If you know your work hours and make a point of not going over those hours (no checking emails or messages after hours), then you know what time is available outside of work/school commitments. That should be your starting point to determine where you can schedule blocks of time for yourself without feeling overwhelmed or guilty that you're not doing it all. Things like meal planning and prep, doing a load of laundry a day if you have the option, clean one area per day instead of cleaning the entire house/apt all at once, etc. Those can all set you up for success and free up valuable time!

Ann recommends the following next steps:

Decide if digital or paper works best for you
List on a piece of paper everything you have to do in a week. Include everything.
Determine how much time you need for each task.
Decide what can be done less frequently to free up some time
Make time for yourself a priority. Set boundaries and stick to them.
Thank you comment icon Setting boundaries is something I definitely need to work on. Thank you for this advice! Abby, Admin
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Cristina’s Answer

Hi Abby! I think calendars are a great way to carve out time for your hobbies. Set aside time in your calendar for your hobbies, and stick to it. Your hobbies are important!
Thank you comment icon Thank you! I'm trying to work on time blocking as a practice Abby, Admin
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Abby,

Calendars are great to keep track of important dates and activities. One can synchronize personal and work calendars to have an overview of what is occurring daily, weekly and monthly. Calendar alerts and reminders can be set up in advance to remind one of important dates and appointments.

Another recommendation is to write out appointment dates and times from the combined work and personal calendar on a post note. This can be done the night before and the post note can be stuck to the bathroom mirror or on top of your laptop or smartphone. This method helps to reinforce and to remind what needs to be accomplished for that day.

Balance is needed to prevent burnout. Visualizing schedules can greatly assist one to prioritize activities, dates and times.

Hope this help and best wishes in balancing personal and work activities!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Abby, Admin
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Chirayu’s Answer

Hello Abby,

Prioritizing your personal interests with your other work commitments is crucial. To help me keep track of my schedule and make sure that all of my business and personal events are arranged, I find it easiest to utilize an electronic calendar (such as Outlook, Google Calendar, or Apple Calendar). Keep a schedule or routine to make sure you have time set out for the activities you enjoy. This will assist you in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and taking part in hobbies outside of work may also help us feel in control and at ease, which enables us to be more focused, energizing, and equipped to deal with challenges at work.
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Vaidehi’s Answer

Volunteering in the area where your hobby is. A lot of organizations work with your schedule. Try to join some groups to inspire yourself. Some of them have zoom meet ups as well or you can ask people to talk about it on a call once you meet them in these groups. Try to find some events around your area when your time permits so you can make network and/or get an opportunity to practice/rehearse. Try some non profits where they perform in a different events. Most of the events are on weekends if that works with your schedule. Scheduling some focus time on your calendar can also help if you need to work on your writing. For performance events, my local community has summer plays where people can participate if they have some experience. Look around in your community if there are any programs like that. Good luck. I know finding time for yourself is very difficult but if you don't find time for yourself, noone will. I see this as, if I am happy doing things I like, I am happy and if I am happy, I can do my responsibilities better.
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Ebonee’s Answer

Hi Abby!

Your question is absolutely fantastic and I'm confident that we've all grappled with striking the right balance between work and life at some point. One strategy that I've found incredibly useful is carving out "ME" time. This means dedicating time to engage in activities that I enjoy outside of work. It could be anything from embarking on a weekend road trip, indulging in a spa day, or simply enjoying a captivating movie at the theater. Prioritizing self-care is crucial and effective time management is the secret ingredient. No matter the circumstances, always ensure you make time for the things that bring you joy. This will not only lead to a sense of fulfillment but also help to reduce stress. Wishing you all the best!
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Julie’s Answer

Hi and one way to stay involved with acting (for example) if time is too limited to commit to being in a play, is by volunteering to help take tickets/usher/with concessions during intermission,etc. I would do that while going to night school of my undergrad, working, exercising, friends, etc. You also get to see the play free as time permits for that showing. This helps you develops contacts, like minded friends and get familiar with the whole theatre process. Also, like others I happen to like a 'day planner' that I buy the refill for every year and the binder lasts forever. Best wishes!
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Ramapriya’s Answer

Hello , Please have a plan of action for the day and act accordingly. You might have hiccups here and there but it is good to always start after planning and then correct the course of action.
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Mary’s Answer

Hi Abby, It helps me to think about balance as an active pursuit. If you think about sitting on a ball or standing on a wobble board, you are constantly in motion, making small adjustments to maintain balance. Work-life balance is the same. It's not a perfect state that you achieve, it requires making constant adjustments in response to changing conditions. With that in mind, my advice is to maintain one calendar (electronic or paper, whatever works best for you) rather than two separate ones. This will allow you to visualize where you can fit in your hobbies. You've taken a great first step by stating that this is a priority for you. That will help you make it a reality!
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Nayra’s Answer

Hi Abby, Calendar planning works great. You can block your time outside of work to commit yourself to dedicate time to your hobbies, up-skill, studying, anything you set your mind to. Your personal goals are very important a simple tool can be Google calendar, it allows you to get reminders on your phone and you can also set up tasks for you to mark at the end of the day.
Best of luck!
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Purva’s Answer

Hi Abby,
It is very important to prioritize your hobbies similar to your other professional engagements. Maintain a calendar or routine to ensure you have time blocked for things that you love. This will help you maintain work-life balance and engaging with your hobbies outside work can also make us feel in control and relaxed—which lets us be focused, energetic, and better able to handle difficulties at work.
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Howard’s Answer

Hi Abby,
This is a great question and the answer may make it sound easier than it really is. My answer is, document a plan and set aside time to ensure that you can have a hobby or hobbies. At one point earlier in my career, I was going to school, working almost 50 hours per week, raising a family with very young children but I still found time to play sports two days per week.
I was committed to being there for my family and we found a way to ensure that we (wife and I) were both able to do our hobbies.
We sat down and planned how this would work and 20+ years later the plan continues (though no more school for me).

Good luck!
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