I’ve sprouted more zits in the last two months than I have all year, which really speaks to my mental state.
Mid-June I started a new journey in my career and took a job at a start-up company in San Francisco. There’s a lot of money in tech start-ups, but they’re scrappy– the work load is hefty, and the hours are long. Under normal circumstances, I’m good with busy and productive. I usually thrive on deadlines and to-do lists. That being said, this new role has required a whole new level of time-management and productivity.
Why? Well, on top of my three-hour round trip commute, and full time 9-5 job, there’s a slew of freelance clients and this blog which all require my attention, too.
When I was unemployed, I took on a handful of contract-based jobs, some of which I decided to continue on with when I started full time in San Francisco. My decision wasn’t about the money (though the extra income is nice), instead it was about the experience. I loved my last job, but I was there for 6 years before getting laid off, which means my resume is pretty weak. I wanted to be able to add a few more notches on my experience belt, so ultimately made the decision to continue on as a part-time contractor on the side to boost my appeal to future employers.
About the same time that I was laid off and starting the freelance gigs, my blog started monetizing (thankfully, because I was unemployed and broke). At first it wasn’t much, a couple hundred dollars here and there, but soon it was a substantial source of income. While it’s not enough to support my boujee lifestyle as a full time career, it’s a significant payout that requires a significant more amount of work in terms of collaboration management. Of course, as my blog scales, more collaborations will come. I am eternally thankful for this platform (obviously), but gone are the days where I can photograph blog content during the work week, so I have less bandwidth to roll with the growth.
Are you following? Let me recap: 3 hour round trip commute each day, a demanding 9-5 job, 10+ hours a week of freelance work, all while building and maintaining The Ocean Minded. Exhausted yet?
Honestly, it’s not so bad, and the paychecks make it worth the hustle (I really can’t complain). But on the same coin, what has been a game-changer is prioritizing and being more productive with my time.
Time management is something I learned young being shuttled to and from swim practice before and after school, but I’ve never loved my calendar more than I do now. I go so far as to set aside time blocks for working out, grocery shopping, and a detailed to-do list, because it helps keep me on track throughout the day. Instead of watching Netflix or reading on the train, I use that time each day to chip away at said to-do list. I’ll write new blogs, respond to collaboration inquiries and emails, write press releases for my clients, or knock-out other freelance work during those 2-3 hours I’m commuting to and from the office. Similarly, I’ll take any business-related calls on my lunch, or during my afternoon walks. Since I don’t generally get home until 7pm, this frees up my evenings to cook, workout, or finish up any pending projects. So, basically, the hustle never stops– but I’m okay with it.
Sometimes it gets overwhelming, and I get caught up in the deadlines, but at the end of the day I’m grateful for all of the opportunities. It’s something I’ll never take for granted after being unemployed for four and a half months. My blog allows me to travel to new places, style new clothes on a weekly basis, and connect with new, likeminded people. And my freelance work gives me more leverage for a successful career down the road. All of the frustrations, rejections, and doubt that I endured earlier this year led me to where I am now. This is my new normal and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.