5 Tips to Balance Your Day Job and Career Goals

By Ali Daly

Remember being a little kid and your parents, teachers, and coaches saying, “You can do anything you set your mind to!” Boy, were they wrong. Turns out that your mind isn’t enough these days to achieve your goals. You need determination, motivation, and, of course, money.

Pursuing your dreams and being your own boss is no cheap affair, and in order to pay for your dreams to come true most people take on side hustle to fund their goals. A study from Bankrate found that 28% of Millennials have a side hustle to make some extra cash. While 61% are working their side hustle every week, an astounding 96% say they do it at least once a month. The challenge is balancing the construction of an empire and making money at the same time.

If you’re a dreamer with multiple side hustles but find yourself lacking motivation to keep pushing towards your goals, check out these tips to make your hustle easier and more productive.

Find a hobby completely separate from your day job and goals

This piece of advice might seem counterintuitive at first, but hear me out. Finding a project that is just for you to enjoy without the pressures of work is necessary for growth and might lend creative inspiration to your work projects by allowing you to view a work issue you’re having in a new light. A “for fun” hobby will also help keep you driven and is a great distraction for when things get too crazy. Between working a job, volunteering, interning, and sleep, fitness usually takes a backseat. Find a dance class you love or try kickboxing to get out some of those I’m-going-nowhere frustrations. Not into fitness? Try knitting, pottery classes, or painting. Having a completely different hobby will allow you to come back to your job and projects refreshed and inspired.

  1. Work towards your career goals within your day job

Don’t throw away your day job as something that can’t help you achieve your long-term goals. Want a career in music? Make the playlists for the retail store you’re day-jobbing at. Are you an aspiring artist? Try designing beautiful latte art at your cafe job and capture it to populate your Instagram. Want a career in marketing? Ask to take over your employer’s social media accounts. These are little ways to improve your experience at your day job. These are also small things to add to your resume. As much as we all want to be working our dream job full-time, with rent prices and bills to pay, it isn’t always realistic. Doing little things to work towards your goals will pay off in the long-term.

  1. Plan your rest days

When you’re working 80-plus hours a week, you can get burnt out quickly. As busy, young pre-professionals, the last thing anyone wants to do is rest. But trust me when I say that as a young go getter, YOU are your product, business, or service. Stew Friedman, author of Leading The Life You Want, explains, “Research shows that after you take a mental time-out, you are better at creative thinking and coming up with solutions and new ideas, and you feel more content.” You need to recharge, rest, and take care of yourself. The work cannot and will not get done if you are not at your best. Make sure you schedule 30-minute breaks, take naps, walk around, be human. Avoid burnout at all costs!

  1. Write down your accomplishments – often!

When you’re constantly pushing towards your goals, it’s easy to brush off any and all accomplishments. We are always looking to take on the next project or work towards the next goal. Take the time to reflect and look at how far you’ve come. If you’re feeling down on yourself for not being where you want, take a minute and write down all the things you have accomplished in the past year. Take the time to reflect on yourself and how much work you have done. It’s a great way to change your perspective and regain focus.

  1. Chill out

This is the final and potentially most important tip I can give. Chill out: you are young, you are successful, you are important, and you will make it! The best tip for balancing work and goals? Recognize that you are human and you will get tired and make mistakes and be turned down from jobs. A lot. Always stay positive and remember there’s nothing a good power nap can’t fix.