Thursday, August 05, 2010

Doing it All

from the DLM blog:

Having Enough Energy to Chase Your Passions – Outside Your Day Job

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 05:27 PM PDT

You might dream of quitting your day job. Perhaps you want to be an artist, or a musician, or travel the world, or do volunteer work, or any number of other things. You might have a particular passion or keen interest – but the catch is, you still need to pay the rent.

Books like The 4 Hour Workweek aside, most of us do have to stick with a day job while pursuing other interests on the side. It might not be forever ... but it's where you're at right now.

(And even if you don't have a day job, keep reading. You've probably got plenty of other commitments in your life to balance against one another.)

How can you find the energy to keep up with everything that you want to do?


Your physical energy makes a big difference to how much you can get done. Taking care of your body and your health will help you stay on track with all your goals, and keep all the balls in the air. To keep your physical energy high, you'll want to focus on sleep, diet and exercise.


Too many of us start cutting sleep whenever we want to get more done – only to end up feeling like zombies the next day, groggily pushing ourselves onwards. If you're struggling to sleep because you're too wired when you go to bed, or because you wake up with things on your mind, try 10 Foolproof Tips for Better Sleep.

Yes, it's tempting to rely on caffeine and sugar to get through the day. These won't do your energy levels (or your long-term health) any good. You know the basics of healthy eating: plenty of fruits and veggies, plenty of water, lean protein, high fiber foods, and not too much sugar or fat. If you're really not sure where to begin, check out The 11 Most Important Rules for Healthy Eating.


You don't need to be hitting the gym every day to get the benefits of exercise. A twenty minute brisk walk can be a great boost to your energy levels. If you're feeling tired, don't use that as an excuse not to exercise – it'll give you more energy, not less. You can find the time, too; here's 5 Easy Ways to Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule.

Mental and Emotional

Having the physical energy to get stuck into project outside your day job is half the trick – but however alert and awake you feel, you may find yourself fed up, down, or just not in the mood to do anything but watch television.

It's crucial that you take care of your mental and emotional energy levels. That means:

Don't Bring Your Work Home With You
If you're literally bringing work home (or staying late at work), that's obviously going to eat into the time which you have available to get everything else done. But even if you're not checking emails from home or writing reports after dinner, you can still be bringing your work home in an emotional sense.

Some artists (writers, painters, photographers) and other creative types choose to take day jobs which are fairly routine and which they can "switch off" from in the evenings. If you're choosing between different jobs, keep in mind how emotionally or mentally involving they'll be.

Take Time to Recharge
If you're working on your home business every evening and all weekend, you're going to find your productivity – and your enjoyment – going rapidly downhill. We all need to take time off to simply rest and relax. Don't keep pushing yourself onwards day after day; make sure you're getting enough down time. It's not a sign of weakness, it's good sense – and it'll make you much more productive in the long term.

If you're juggling a day job with lots of other commitments, how do you manage it all? Share your best tips in the comments!

Written on 6/29/2010 by Ali Hale. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.Photo Credit: Valerie Everett

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