Today, Mrs. Micah was kind enough to do a guest post for me as I’m tackling three finals today. I think it’s a great post and if you enjoy it, please visit her site and subscribe. I liked the post so much I gave it 2 photos!

In October and November, I was working full-time and carrying on several sideprojects–including my blog, various crafting projects, some freelance writing, and website evaluation.

Normally a full-time job is enough. I took on these for personal fulfillment, extra cash, and experience. Maybe you would like to be a writer but you haven’t had anything published. In that case, you might dedicate yourself to being a part-time writer in your free time–doing freelance, pitching stories to magazines, whatever you’re into–to get the experience.

I was preparing for my patchwork full time job–freelancing, working part-time, and doing odds and ends. Trying to do everything on my plate could be crazy some days. Here are a few things I learned which made it easier:

First, don’t take on more than you could handle and be willing to say “enough.”

When you’re trying to rack up experience or earn a lot of extra cash, it can be tempting to take on as much as you can. I apply for almost every position that interests me, but I have to know when to say no or even quit.

One of the freelance projects I got involved in was just too much. With my full-time job and other commitments, I couldn’t get the writing done. The compensation wasn’t great, which made it easier to tell them it wasn’t working out. It wasn’t very bright to take the position in the first place, but I was too eager for my own good.

Second, plan your time.

Even if you’ve should be able to handle what you’ve got on your plate, poor planning can make it seem too much. If you’re trying to juggle a lot of things at once, you have to be coordinated.

Various tools can help with this–timers, instant boss software, (an online to-do list), Google calendar’s e-mail reminders. Find what works for you and set it up.

Third, keep a list of all the projects you’re working on and their due dates.

You can use tadalist for this, or just a piece of notebook paper in plain view. Otherwise, it’s really easy to forget something, especially if it’s something that could wait for a few days.

Consider creating a special file which shows not just the projects and due dates but the specs you’ve been given and the contact info for the person you’re working with. This way you won’t have to dig through old e-mails.

Fourth, schedule some free time.

If you’re working full time and doing other things part-time, it can feel like you never have free time. It’s really important to get some sanity breaks–you can schedule them into your calendar or set a “quitting time” after which you can’t do work. Or both. I’m trying to stick by a “quitting time” or 9pm, for instance. After that, I can only work on my blog–but I’m free to do whatever I want.

Working on the side can be fun, it can be fulfilling, it can be the gateway into a new career path. Unless you go nuts trying to do it all. So follow these tips and stay sane!

Photo Credits: hi-tekznologik (juggling) & unimatrixZxero (desk)

Laura Martinez

Laura Martinez