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What you do outside of work matters – Finding that side hustle

There is no denying that I think everyone has found this latest lockdown the hardest as we approach the first anniversary of COVID-19 restrictions. Days merge into nights and weekends merge into the week, and I am sure I am not alone in asking ‘What day is it today?’.

I am a big fan of side projects. I write a lot for work but have a passion to write a book, and I have a long list of ‘minor’ skills I would like to develop. I want to learn to crochet and knit; my mum was amazing at these, but I just wasn’t interested as a teenager. I have however taken up my teenage love of sewing and embroidery I bought a new sewing machine at the start of the first lockdown.

 I also love to cook, not just dinner. I mean proper cook! My Husband got celeriac tarte Tatin and a beef wellington for Valentines. Cooking is my therapy and a lifelong memory of my former career in hospitality.

People often ask "How do you find the time for other things, other than work?" Truth is, I have no more time than anyone else. I just try to make time for things that are important to me. It's good for my wellbeing and mental health.

Side projects make me happy. To be honest, they give me the same sense of achievement as completing a project for the BEC.

Theorists say that as a human, we are the average of the people we spend the most time with. If the people we surround ourselves with inform who we become, so too does how we spend our solo time. I guess that makes sense from my perspective. I spend lots of time (online of course) with creative people, and of course my son is in the hospitality sector, which explains the continued fascination with cooking.

Hobbies, side projects or hustles--our day-to-day activities. These are reflections of ourselves that add up to form your life experience over time. If how we spend our time says a lot about who we are, would you be happy with what that says about you? 

Consider for a minute. Where do you spend your time and doing what? Of course lockdown factors must be considered. Home working, home schooling and finding things to entertain the family may have impacted on your ‘me' time. I get that of course, but consider for a minute. Are you on social media because you are fascinated by technology, building a business, or simply scrolling through as a habit?

Do you watch TV, Netflix, or Disney+ because you want to be an actor or director, or are you avoiding a more interesting but difficult activity? Does the time you spend build up your skill set and expertise or is it just a way of avoiding it?

 Now is a great time to evaluate especially during lockdown. Are you truly happy with how you spend your time? Making time is about deciding what matters. There is only room for distractions if you let there be.

 In this role, I get to speak to a lot of people about their side projects, especially when they start out turning that side hustle into a business. When we have side projects, I get excited, full of questions, and the person is full of excuses.

 You can crank away at an idea without making it a full-time commitment if you commit to it. More time is not the answer! Dedicated time is! Reality is if its important to you, you will find a way, and if it is not, you will find an excuse.

 When you commit to something, it is easier to find time for it. Over the last year, I have become a dab hand at managing my times and aware how my time is spent, with who and on what, and I calibrate amounts.

Make the best of dedicated time. No passion project blooms overnight on its own, but structuring your dedicated time can go a long way.

● Look for pre-existing pockets of time you can convert into dedicated project time

● Decide when you are consuming and when you are creating and do not mix the two.

●  Jot down in an ideas journal and no multi-tasking

● Set simple, achievable deadlines and goals, do not try to do everything at once, aim for reasonable. For me this is one blog a week

● Do not push it know when you work best and on which sort of project, respect your natural productivity cycle. My blog time is Sunday afternoons and my best ideas come late at night.

● Pick projects that energise you and inspire you.

Whatever it is, if it is not making you happy or content, then switch gears and change it up; when you do find it, grab it, and hold on tight, make time not excuses it counts and start now!