If you’ve ever done any kind of freelance work, writing or blogging outside of your full-time job, you’ve likely worked at odd times of day and night. If so, welcome to the wonderful world of side hustling!
Maybe you’re like me and choose to wake up at 5 a.m. to get a jumpstart on freelance work and blogging. Perhaps you’re able to squeeze in some work during your lunch hour. Or maybe you’re a night owl who stays up long after the rest of the world has gone to sleep hustling.
Either way, when you have a side hustle or passion project, sometimes you need to get work done at uncomfortable times. Times when your body and mind would much rather be doing other things.
Reader Janelle from The 20 What blog reached out to me with this fantastic question:
I work the normal 8-5, come home and make dinner, and my brain turns to mush. Even when I sit down at the computer with the intention to write, my brain says that command does not compute. Do you have any tips for how you get yourself back in the “work” mindset after working all day?
Can any other creatives relate to Janelle? I sure can.
After a long day at a 9-5, getting back into work mode is sometimes the last thing I want to do, but the work needs to get done, so we find a way to push through.
Here are five tips to help side hustlers get back in the work mindset after working a 9-5 all day:
1. Set an intention for what you’ll work on that evening first thing in the morning. It’s easy to procrastinate work or a project when you don’t have a clear goal in mind. Each morning when you wake up, think about (or even write down) the one or two projects you need to complete that night when you get home from work. That way, throughout the day, you’ll already have it in the back of your mind that you have sometime important to do when the work day ends. Keep it simple and take things one task at a time. I generally set one or two big goals per work session (i.e. complete one blog post for my blog and schedule one blog post for the blog I manage on a freelance basis).
2. Hydrate and eat properly throughout the day. I find that when I’m hydrated and fueled, I’m in a much better mood (don’t mess with me if I’m hungry!) and have way more energy than on days I forget to drink water or skip a meal. Water is really an amazing thing; keep a big bottle at your desk and be sure to refill it often to prevent that dreaded sluggish feeling from creeping in during the afternoon. Continue hydrating when you get home to keep your energy flowing throughout the evening.
3. Use your commute to recharge. Whether you travel home from work by car or train, use your commute to relax and re-charge. Put on your favorite music; for me, something calming and soothing like John Mayer or Gavin DeGraw usually helps me to relax during my commute. That 40 minutes by myself in the car allows my mind to switch gears from my full-time job to my blog and side gigs. Lately, I’ve also been really inspired by business and entrepreneurial podcasts (my favorites are Smart Passive Income, The Fizzle Show and The Suitcase Entrepreneur) so I enjoy listening to those on my way home to get motivated to pursue my own blog and business goals.
4. Take a break. Don’t jump right back into work the second you walk through the door. Allow yourself time to unwind from the day and settle back in to work mode. You don’t want to burn out and not taking a break can lead to fading fast. Consider a workout, an episode of your favorite TV show or doing something else that you genuinely enjoy for about an hour. The trick here is to allow yourself enough time to recharge without taking it too far and spending the rest of the night on the couch. Find the balance that works for you and once you feel sufficiently recharged, jump into your work.
5. Make it a habit. Remember, practice makes permanent. One study shows that it actually takes 66 days to make something a part of your daily life so much that it becomes automatic. Getting back in work mode after a day at the office is NOT going to feel comfortable for many, many days. Just know that each day you do it, it will get easier and will become part of your routine. Push through the discomfort and count each day you successfully accomplish working on your side hustle after work as a win.
If you liked these tips, I also wrote a blog post about how to find the energy to hit the gym and work out after a long day at work. Many of the same tips and tricks apply here, too.
Freelancers and side hustlers: weigh in! Do you have other tips and tricks for getting back into work mode after working a 9-5? Share in the comments below.
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