Are you finding it hard to strike a balance between work life and your passion?
If you answered yes then you’re not alone in this feeling and too many of us spend far too much time at work
If you want that to be quantified, here’s an extremely sobering video regarding how short our life is if we only live for the weekend:
If you watched the video, you’ll understand how much time we dedicate to our workplaces, and in many cases, this can often outstrip the time we spend at home with family or on our hobbies.
This is why it’s important to focus on gaining extra time away from work, or if you can, optimizing the little time you have to increase your enjoyment, health, and even finances.
After all, we’re only given one life and one opportunity on this wondrous planet so make sure you’re not living someone else’s dream.
Hopefully, you’ll realize the importance of our article today that can help you find more balance between work and your hobbies or at least get you living back on your own terms.
Own Your Time: 5 Tips to Strike a Better Balance Between Work and Hobbies
1. Segment your time with a schedule
If you have limited time away from work then it’s important to segment or schedule that time for the things you want to enjoy.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment and before you know it, end up squandering your time off by either being unproductive, doing what other people want, or even agreeing to spend more hours at work.
If you make a schedule then you are adding an extra step in the process of saying to yourself that you will dedicate that time to your hobby and your own passions.
Creating a schedule is not always easy at first as you may find it hard to break the habit of caving to other people’s desires, however, the more you keep doing it the easier it will become to visualize this time as being your own.
If you’re not sure how to create a schedule then we recommend starting with a daily planner as it will already have each period of time drawn up for you to fill in with your hobby tasks.
Most planners are relatively small meaning they’re easy to keep with your personal effects to take around with you.
Alternatively, you can set alarm reminders on your phone and even download a planner app to provide you with notifications and updates.
2. Negotiate your work hours
Instead of taking a pay rise you can get clever and negotiate fewer hours at your place of work — this won’t work for everyone but it can help you regain some extra time in the week to dedicate towards your hobbies.
On the flipside, you can also go part-time and drop some hours off your contract but this will mean you take a pay cut too.
Again, this won’t be feasible for everyone depending on your life circumstances, however, many people who go part-time don’t regret doing so.
In fact, it’s a common trend we’re seeing across the world where people are making the case for a four-day workweek rather than the typical five days.
This is mainly to do with the fact that most jobs aren’t optimized for productivity meaning much of the work could be consolidated within four days rather than five.
Using trending evidence or research like this when you make the case with your employer is extremely important as it might help make the negotiation a little easier for you.
3. Get mindful about your time
We mentioned this briefly in point one, however, it’s important to point out that complacency with your spare time is a far worse sin than having to work too many hours.
If you’re finding yourself pacing around or watching television without a purpose then you’re already doing yourself a disservice to furthering your hobby goals.
In essence, there’s no point crying about working too many hours if you don’t make the most of your free ones.
Don’t get us wrong, we all fall flat at some point where we find it hard to motivate ourselves but it’s really important to establish a routine where you are basically doing what you need to without questioning it.
This is why you need to become mindful about your time because it will help snap yourself out of unproductive loops in those moments where you catch yourself resting on your laurels.
4. Change your job or career path
If your job doesn’t align with your passion or hobbies then you’ll often become dissatisfied or resentful towards your job.
There’s no way to get around this not unless you completely reframe how you feel about the job which is much harder than just changing it altogether.
Some people believe you should keep your hobbies and job separate, however, just like writing for this blog is our hobby, it’s also a way for us to make some income meaning we meet both parts of the criteria.
You’ll not always be able to achieve this but finding a job you enjoy more or one that has more favourable hours means you’ll resent it far less making it easier to strike that balance between hobbies and work.
In fact, with recent developments across the world, working from home and part time living is becoming the norm meaning there may be some opportunities to change your job altogether for the better.
5. Further your hobbies in work time
This will depend on the job, and in some cases could lead to instances of gross misconduct so you’ll have to find out whether it’s allowed or whether you have this type of flexibility.
With that said, if you find you often have downtime at work where there’s nothing to be done or even on your breaks, you could use that time towards furthering your hobbies.
That could be a case of trying to meet your exercise goals in your break or writing a post for your blog on your laptop.
There’s nothing better than getting paid on company time to do what you really want to do which is why you should try to make the most of these opportunities when they present themselves.
If you work a job that requires little mental input and you enjoy reading as a hobby (as an example) then you may want to swap physical reading for audiobooks instead.
This means you’re being twice as productive with your time and still working towards furthering your hobby goals.
Hopefully, after reading our guide you’ll have a structure in place to balance your work and hobbies better.
With that said, you may want to observe some important questions that people usually ask around this topic, hence the frequently asked questions section.
What about balancing studies and hobbies?
A similar approach can be used when it comes to balancing your studies and hobbies, however, you should put more focus on your studies to make sure you pass with good grades.
This is because studies are mostly temporary and can lead to better prospects, and possibly better work scenarios i.e. reduced hours, more pay, negotiable terms etc.
In essence then, it’s better to put the hard work in now towards your studies to reap the rewards of more time later down the line for your hobbies.
Should I use holidays/annual leave?
Yes, you should always make the most of your holiday leave every year even if you don’t think you need it.
Sometimes a different environment can give us a fresh perspective to create a better balance in general, not just for work.
You can also use your holiday time to further your hobbies which is a productive way to spend it as it can help you unwind.
So what’s the bottom line then?
Well, striking a balance between work and hobbies is often the result of clever planning, structure, and communicating your intentions with the people you work for.
This requires a little bit of tenacity on your end but can yield a happier situation for you to do the things that really matter.
Whether you reduce the hours you work, negotiate more holiday leave, or get clever with your time at work (doing hobbies at work), it will all help in striking that better balance.
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