Whether it’s to actualize a passion, make extra money or explore an interest, millennials are consistently taking on side gigs. More than other age groups, we are pushing the boundaries of what we can do and concretizing our full potential.
In a study, Career Builder showed that nearly 39% of those 18-24 and 29% of those 35-44 reported making money on the side. We are effectively leveraging our ability to do different things to add to our skill set and make more money. This can only work to our advantage as it also makes us more marketable. As Career Builder’s Chief Human Resources Officer said, “Side hustles not only provide financial benefits to workers, but they make them more attractive candidates to employers, especially in a competitive job market.”
Multipotentialites exist in greater numbers than we think. I’m willing to bet most people you know have at least one other thing going on. Know that classmate who now works in advertising? Chances are, she does photography on weekends. Remember your old chemistry professor? She probably takes ballet classes after work.
I currently freelance as a social media strategist for a startup and write for 4 different publications each week. Somehow, I still find time to manage my blog and YouTube channel, explore New York City for inspiration and hang out with friends every now and then. When I share everything I do with people, I often get a “Wow” in disbelief. Their eyes open in amazement as if I was a superhuman. The truth is, I’ve just been figuring out how to effectively spend my time. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I still procrastinate like everyone else, but I’ve been better at making every day count.
When handling different projects, time management is key. It’s good to have endeavors that don’t relate to each other, but if you don’t cultivate discipline, you will not be able to sustain them. Here’s how I integrate everything I love into what I do:
I Work From Home
Let me preface this by saying that I only work from home because I freelance full-time. I sometimes miss the social aspect of being in an office, but working from home has its perks.
Commuting used to take 2-3 hours each day. It’s a good chunk of time that I now use to either sleep more, do some exercise or mentally prepare myself in the morning. When you don’t have to rush to work or overdose on coffee, you tend to have a better start to your day. Doing that naturally predisposes me to being more productive.
If you have the option to work from home, you should try it. It’s not for everyone, but I can say I get more done when I’m in my natural habitat. And not just for my main job, but for my side projects as well. I still follow a regular 9 to 5 schedule and I use my lunch break to either write a blog post, update my social media pages or work on a new video.
I Apply What I Learn From One Endeavor to Another
My endeavors complement each other. From doing social media strategy for startups and small business owners, I learn tactics that I can apply directly to my own social media platforms. For example, I recently learned how to optimize Facebook ads for maximum conversion by running a few campaigns for a client. This is a skill that I won’t have to learn when I decide to run ads for my own blog.
Even if your endeavors don’t relate to each other, they can teach you a transferable skill or give you access to a network that can advance your career. A financial analyst can leverage his attention to detail and the data-driven side of his brain to, say, conduct lab experiments. A real-estate broker can possibly use his selling capabilities to create marketing campaigns.
If you look beyond the surface, you will most likely find an underlying theme behind everything you do. Make your jobs and side gigs work for you!
I Spend My Leisure Time Productively
If you tell me that my leisure time is meant exclusively for leisure, I’ll agree with you. But I can’t help it. When I take a break, I usually do something that helps me get better at my side gigs. For example, I listen to blogging podcasts when I can’t bring myself to write a blog post, browse articles online or read a book when I’m experiencing writers’ block or go explore a random part of the city to take pictures for Instagram or create content for Snapchat. These are all considered my leisure activities, yet they stimulate my brain.
I still struggle with unplugging completely and this is why this technique works for me. So I don’t recommend it to everyone. I believe your leisure time is yours to use as you please and that not doing something productive in that timeframe will not necessarily delay the process of achieving your goals. Because my gigs naturally fit into what I do, it’s harder for me to find a balance, but I’m working on it.
My Sister Holds Me Accountable For Getting Things Done
It’s good to have someone to remind you of what you should be doing and keep you on track. That’s who my sister is to me. We run the YouTube channel together and it’s a great way to hold each other accountable for maintaining it. I often joke that she’s an obnoxious alarm clock that comes without a “snooze” button. One needs people like this in their lives. It may add pressure to complete tasks, but you can channel that into being more productive.
For multipotentialites, it’s important to strive for great time management. It’s what will ultimately allow us to make a living and be fulfilled by the things we do. There is no “one size fits all” guide to spending your time effectively, but I hope you can learn from my experience.