You Can Still Be Poppin’ with a 9-5 (Here’s How I Manage My Time)

| December 13, 2016


No one wants to work for ‘the man’ 

Honestly, give me a break. The best decision I made was to maintain a 9-5 while juggling my business ventures. It’s called side hustlin’ – educate yourself. I recently wrote a piece called Why Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Should Work a 9-5 Job (and Shut Up About It Too!) which hit home for a lot of people I shared it with. It talks about my opinion around people who complain, wants to quit; thinking that’s the easy way out.

It’s not. Because you end up leaving a 9-5 to work a 24/7.

If you want to become a success, you have to understand there are levels to this and it begins with an attitude adjustment. I look at my 9-5 as an opportunity to conduct research and data. It’s my chance to gather critical information and use it for the betterment of my personal development.

Spend time with people who inspire you. Study their habits. Study their qualities.  
It’s really for your own good. 

I wanted to quickly get that out the way for anyone reading this post feeling down and out of the game because they have a 9-5. Cut that shit out and play to your advantage. Get the lesson where you are and let it prepare you for the next phase of your life.

Anywho, we are here to discuss how I effectively manage my time. Well, I’m far from perfect but at least I’m out here trying. Below are some real-life scenarios about how I balance it all.

1.  I make good use of my mornings. 
In my early 20s, I worked at a financial institution. I also was a Nationally Published Journalist which meant the occasional all-nighters and dealing with regular tight deadlines. So I thought to myself, if I clock in at 9 and out at 5 that leaves a ton of hours to play with. So there were times when I would wake up at 4am and trek my ass into the office by 6am so I could get some (journalism) work in before “punching in” – in addition to writing during my train ride in. You have to remember that I was regularly published in all major players: National post, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun. They don’t play. A deadline is a deadline. So I had to find time where I could.

I remember in 2011, I was asked to interview Olivia Newton-John. Due to the time difference, it meant that out call would happen at 2am est my time. So I went home right after work, napped and woke up in time to speak with her. Catch the joke. My article for the Toronto Star was due the same day at 8am. Like, omg why. But whatever. So guess who didn’t sleep that night. Guess who made that killer deadline. I did.

I’m sure you’re thinking – so how did you manage to kill at work too? That day in particular, I booked a boardroom during my lunch period. Girl, I caught some Zzzzzz for an hour. I realize not everyone is able to to this, but I’m sharing my way of doing things. I will also add that I had a very supportive boss to be fair. As long as my side hustle didn’t interfere with her hustle, we’d be cool.

I’m not encouraging anyone to do any sneaky shit – just think outside the box and be more creative :)

2. I don’t play with my down time
Earlier than that, during my late teens I worked as a receptionist at an interior design firm. Working at the front desk had its perks. With little to no traffic passing through the office, it allowed me to use my down time to write. At the time, I was a budding novelist working on my first book, Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother. I was already putting in work after hours but I loved my passion so much I literally could not breathe during the day without sneaking an additional hour or two. So I did. During slow periods I’d pull out my notebook and handwrite my story so I could go home and type it up afterward.

I also want to add for the last 6 years, 90% of my evenings are spent working on my craft and building my brand. No excuses. Cut the bullshit. From 7pm to 2am – YOU CAN FIND TIME.

3. I practice my speeches during my lunch break
My poor co-workers. There’s been many times I’ve had to decline a lunch date because I had to practice – I don’t even thnk I could count. There was always an empty office or vacant boardroom to use at my leisure so I tucked myself away, closed the door behind me and would walk around reciting my speech as if I was on-stage in front of thousands.

Because I literally speak in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands and using your imagination when practicing is important.

4. My vacation time was/is meant for gigs 
When I was hired by a Canadian organization to host a week-long event for millenials, I used my vacation. The time I had to go see one of my (personal) clients in Philly for a 1-day trip, I used my vacation. The time I had to go see my new agent out in NY, I used my vacation. Heck, in January I’m flying to Washington, DC for a weekend conference and due to my agenda I have to fly back on Monday morning.

Catch the joke. Monday’s are the most critical days of the week (at my corporate job) and ain’t no way in hell I can skip. So I’m taking a 6:00am flight from DC to Toronto so I can twirl into the office by 9am. Girl, I’m out here creating miracles on no sleep. But that’s the price you have to be willing to pay if you want to crush goals and pursue dreams.

I think the most important take away is not to let both clash. Make sure you can give 100% to your corporate job and the same effort to your side hustle. The minute your 9-5 takes notice that you’ve let things slide, that’s when shit hits the fan. Do your best to balance. It won’t be perfect, but trust me you’ll learn to manage.

It’s called making sacrifices. 

You will get tired.
You will have to say no to friends.
You will be frustrated.

But in the end it’s worth it.

Today, I’m in a corporate career (which I love btw) that provides a zillion times more flexibility to balance it all. So I don’t have to pull any more ninja moves to make things work. Instead, my boss and I have a conversation about it and as long as my hustle doesn’t interfere with her hustle, we’re good.

I own and operate 4 brands. I also have a staff of 20 freelancers. I have to say this to give more context. So while I work my 9-5, my businesses still run. It takes time to get to this point obvi, but it can happen.

I hope this opens your eyes to understand that there is always a way around a problem. If you are fortunate enough to be a role that encourages side hustlin’ – props to you. But if not, girl be ready to pull out your best Jackie-chan moves.

Plan your days ahead.

Peace & Love,

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Category: Arts, Beauty, Blog, Career and Business

About the Author ()

I am the co-founder of New Girl on the Block, a mentorship platform for millennial women who are dealing with major life and career transitions. In addition, my passion includes advocacy for anti-bullying and mental health in which I contribute my free time spreading awareness, providing expertise on media platforms and delivering keynote talks in schools nationwide. When I'm not working with young adults, I am growing my brand as a content strategist. I have successfully crafted a business in storytelling as a Journalist, Author and Ghostwriter.

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