Almost everyone I know has some sort of side hustle from their primary job. Sometimes it’s a second or even third job, driving for Uber, writing a book, websites, blogs, Instagram, acting, freelance contracts, podcasts, the list goes on and on and the possibilities are endless. These side hustles can be great for generating extra income, breaking up the monotony of your day job or even provide you with the chance to make your side hustle your full-time career one day (travel blogger anyone?). But side hustles and the age of social media, in particular, have also created a culture of constantly working and burnout.
If you haven’t already guessed from my website and social media, my primary career is that of a Pilates Instructor. I also graduated and became a Registered Holistic Nutritionist last year which, apart from my website, blog posts and some workshops, I have not really focused my energy towards. Obviously, I also have my website and a separate travel blog that I write content for, but I also write articles for Nucleo Fitness’s website and have been looking into more freelance opportunities as of late. Earlier this year my colleagues and I launched our first retreat in the city and we have plans to do another one in Costa Rica in the winter (stay tuned!). My YouTube channel was a focus for some time, but I’ve started pulling away from that over the last couple of years. I did enjoy making videos but it was very time consuming to edit while in school and I just haven’t gotten back into it since. I do have plans to use it in conjunction with my website for recipes and exercise content in the future though. My eBook endeavour a few years ago was another way I tried to bring in extra income, but the video content made the book file too large to download and while I have hundreds of recipes and ideas, I have not created a new one yet. Let’s not forget my tote bags either! My Etsy shop does still exist and randomly gets purchases even now, but sales have definitely dwindled over the last year. Finally, I have been attempting to start a career in voice acting for the past year and a bit. I began workshops, lessons and creating demos about two and a half years ago, maybe longer, and then officially got an agent last April. Since then, I have been auditioning fairly consistently but have not yet booked any jobs. I’ve also attempted some random side hustles, such as selling Arbonne (did not continue with it) and driving for Uber Eats (still do on occasion for extra spending money).
The biggest downfall to having all these ideas and side hustle options is that I’m not currently making much (if anything) from most of these endeavours, yet they take up more time and effort than my primary job. The lack of focus also means that not one of these options is getting my full attention. By not devoting the required time to grow any one idea I have not fully succeeded in any of them. Now, it is okay to have hobbies and to want to do a multitude of activities, but focus and consistency is the key to building your career. Time and effort must be given to an idea in order for it to flourish properly before adding new growth opportunities. I tried to do everything and I ended up not growing anything. I became so overwhelmed by what I thought I should be doing that most days I just curled up on the couch doing absolutely nothing, but still stressing about what I wasn’t doing. It was a vicious cycle.
The other problem with many different endeavours on the go at the same time and working as a one-person operation is that you begin to burn out mentally and physically. The main reason this burnout happens is that you never have downtime. Especially in this age of social media, you never fully turn off, even on vacation or “days off”. I’m old enough to remember living without social media and finishing work or school and just watching T.V. or listening to music. Now even while watching T.V. my phone is beside me and I’m periodically using Google to look up something about the show I’m watching or going on Instagram during commercial breaks. Many millennials comment on this trend and how their side hustles make them feel like they are always on and always working. My job as a Pilates instructor means I work most mornings and then most evenings with a large gap during the afternoon. Even if I’m resting I’m always thinking about the next thing I “should” work on or planning out the following day. Physically I cannot work solidly from 6am to 10pm and breaks are necessary but my brain has a horrible time shutting off, even for a couple of hours.
These are my personal opinions and experiences and what I’m doing to combat the burnout. Firstly, I make lists sorting out what I have to do for the entire day including everything from working out to eating lunch. By physically checking off each task, it makes me more organized and productive throughout the day. I’ve also seriously taken the time to think about what is important to me and to set realistic goals and expectations for myself. Focusing my energy allows me to be more productive and more detailed with how I want to grow my career. I’m also able to be more consistent with the few projects I have on-the-go, rather than weeks (or months and years) between blog posts or product launches. It sounds simple but it is still a battle to learn how to turn off and how to prioritize my goals. I’ve also still got to earn an income, so sometimes what I want to work on and what I have to work on will vary. Some days I will be productive and some days I will fail. This is a process and anything worth having requires work, so I am prepared to give it my all but I need to be smart about it. The biggest change I have made is allowing my days off to be days off! I’ve asked work not to text on the days I am not there, emails only (unless an emergency) and I try to limit my time on my phone on these days overall. It’s not foolproof and often I’ll still think about the next day but I’m working on it. Doing things I enjoy helps to clear my mind on my off-time like going for a run, taking an exercise class, watching a movie or getting lost in my kitchen with YouTube playing in the background.
Let me know if you have any side hustles and if you are experiencing any of these issues too.
What do you do to unwind from work stress?
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