Before becoming a full-time writer, I had my regular marketing job as well as several writing rakets to augment my income. As with every woman with side hustles, I had so much on my plate. When others clocked out at six, I was heading out to cover an event or to rushing home to plug in a few articles before going to bed. The messy schedule wasn’t exactly healthy, but it helped cover my expenses--until I realized that the workload was burning me out.

From then on, I learned that I had to upgrade my personal system. I needed time to rest, and I definitely needed a social life. If you’re one of those people having a hard time juggling everything to make ends meet, maybe these few ways of how I managed so many responsibilities can help you get back time for yourself:

1. I wrote my schedule down.

I didn’t just save my deadlines in my phone’s calendar app. I wrote them down in a small notebook, which honestly made me remember them better. Looking at my tasks on paper made everything seem more organized.

2. I slept early and enough.

I used to burn the midnight oil to get my side gigs done, but I quickly realized that it was neither economical nor healthy. Not getting enough sleep meant that I didn’t have enough energy to perform at my best the following day, so I started being strict about my rest schedule. If I needed to finish my projects, I slept earlier to wake up earlier, and I finished everything before I went to my regular job.

3. I ate on time.

Eating right is definitely a huge factor that kept me going. Missing meals meant I couldn’t think well, and when I couldn’t think well, I worked slower. I needed to be efficient, so I did my best to never skip meals. I found that eating well and right kept my productivity up.

4. I considered me-time sacred.

I would work in the morning during weekends, but kept all my afternoons and evenings free. That was my me-time, and I didn’t allow my side hustles to eat into it, unless it's really, really needed. If a project needed immediate attention, I would make sure to reschedule my me-time, but I would never go without it. Me-time included three to four hours of exercise, a one to two hour massage, and several hours of napping. Me-time for me also meant chilling with my family and friends, because my relationships with them nurtured me.

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5. I did my best to stay focused.

Once I’m in front of my laptop, I would put on my headset, plug in some quiet music, and write until I was done. I didn’t allow myself to get distracted by any form of social media. Whenever I felt like indulging in them, I would tell myself that once I’m finished, I could do anything I wanted. That helped me work faster.

6. I allowed myself breaks.

Sometimes I would get a really huge mental block and I couldn’t write no matter what I did. When that happened, I took breaks. I would walk around, eat a snack, or even take a quick nap. I would feel better afterwards, and my productivity would improve.

7. I rewarded myself.

Whenever I got extra money from my rakets, I went shopping or traveling. After all, I worked hard and I knew I deserved it. Having fun was an important part of the package.

These tips are not set in stone, of course. It’s about whatever works well for you. Just remember that while earning additional income from your side hustle is great, it's more than just paying bills. It's about improving your quality of life. Work to live, don't live to work. Be strict about your work schedule, but be stricter about your personal life. Finding the right balance will help you stay happy and productive.

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