Balancing Your Passion with a Day Job

Balancing Your Passion with a Day Job
March 23, 2016 Daniel Palacios

How do you fit lettering into your schedule?

Spending eight hours at a day job when it’s not your passion can make you feel unfulfilled. All you want to do is that one thing you love, but you can’t because you’re stuck at a job that pays the bills.

You’re not alone.

You may be surprised to learn that I can relate to the above. I have a full-time day job in a non-design field. I work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

On top of having a day job, I also have a wife and two-year old son. From the moment I get home, which is around 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., I’m daddy. This gives my wife some time to herself, while I have a chance to bond with my son. We play together, have dinner, do bath and read books. Most nights, after he’s sound asleep, I either write or work on my lettering, while other nights, I just hang out with my wife. My night usually ends around 10:00 p.m.

Weekends are family time. I dedicate all of my time to family because it’s important to me. But once the little one is in bed, I write or practice some more, depending on if there are no other events for the evening.

The hardest part about all of this was getting into a routine.

If you’re feeling stuck or not making the progress you imagined, here are some things you can do to break your current habits and establish a routine that allows you to work on your lettering or any other passion.

Say No

This is probably the biggest contributor to freeing up more time. If you’re a people-pleaser, it isn’t going to be easy because it’s unnatural for you. By being selective and not saying yes to everything, you free yourself to do what really matters to you. In turn, you will be fulfilling your passion.

You’ll also learn that saying no actually feels liberating.

Eliminate Distractions

One of the ways I have been able to do this is by turning off all notifications on my iPhone. If you’re constantly on your phone, you will be amazed with how much time this simple step will save you.

Another distraction I eliminated was my television in 2011. I got rid of all of them, to be exact. That meant no cable, too. I only have internet and I can honestly say I don’t miss the T.V. at all. When you don’t have a T.V. to zone out in front of, you will have plenty of time in the evenings for the things you love.

Make Lists

Most cell phones nowadays have a default list-making app. The iPhone has the Notes app, which works great for saving all of my blog topics, words for lettering and to-dos. Whenever there’s a word or phrase I come across that sounds interesting, I add it to my list. I do the same thing for blog topics. This helps when I’m stuck trying to figure out a topic for next week or when I can’t decide which word I want to practice with. I just glance at my list and start.

It saves you from wasting time.

Schedule Your Time

For the most part, if you have a day job, then you know you’ll be spending about eight hours of your day there. The question is: what do you do with the time before and after?

Last year in September, I started going to bed at 10:00 p.m. so I could wake up at 6:00 a.m. and write for an hour before my day job. It took about a month to get used to, but by October I was adjusted to the new schedule. In the evenings, I spent roughly two hours lettering until it was time for bed. I even used an alarm on my phone to remind me to start winding down.

Accountability Partner

I highly recommend partnering up with someone who can keep you accountable. All it takes is an hour out of your week to follow-up with each other about the goals for the week. I’ve been doing this since December and it has helped me remain focused on my writing. Ideally, you want someone with similar interests who is around the same skill level as you and who’s also reliable, but if your goals align with one another, then that works, too.

There are many artists in the lettering community. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Change is Good

The important thing to remember is that changing your habits is going to require time to adjust. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I assure you that if you’re consistent, you will see the results of your focus.