It’s Possible to Enjoy Your Hobbies While Working Full-Time. Here’s How

Step one: Remind yourself that you won't always find perfect balance.

Pressmaster / Shutterstock
Pressmaster / Shutterstock

Working full time can take a lot of mental energy and leave you uninspired to live the life you want and love. If you’re like many people, you want time to have an adventure, indulge in your side hobbies and help make the world a better place.

You want to be an adventurer, humanitarian and a business pro. But how can you manage all of these while working a 40+ hour week? Where do you get the energy and time for more out of life?

Here are six tips to help you balance your career ambitions with your adventurous life and side hobbies.

1. Know Yourself

You must know what you love to do what you love. So, take the time outside of work to get to know what makes you happy. What activities do you look forward to? What drives you, challenges you or upsets you? Do you gravitate toward things at work and avoid others at all costs? Take a hard look at yourself, what you respond to and how that affects your daily routine.

2. Choose Your Priorities

Prioritizing allows you to make time for the things you love. If you define what matters most to you every second of every day, then you won’t be distracted surfing the web or binge-watching Netflix original series.

Instead, you will have more time allocated to the activities that matter most to you. If you work eight hours during the day, allocate at least two hours a day to do the things you love. This still gives you time to tackle anything else on your to-do list for the day.

3. Do What You Love

Add personal time on your agenda to do things you love, whether it’s painting, going out for dinner, taking a daily walk or getting that side gig you’ve always wanted. If all you do is go to work, come home, do chores, sleep and go back to work, then you won’t be happy.

If you don’t know what you love, explore different avenues and find something that makes you happy outside of work and to-do lists. Taking the time to do these things will boost your overall morale at work and at home.

4. Take Advantage of Lunch Breaks

If you take lunch every day at work, it takes maybe 10 or 15 minutes to eat your meal. What do you with the rest of that 30 to 60 minutes? If your day consists of you staring silently at a screen, take that time to socialize with your coworkers, read that book you’ve been dying to start, join a walking club or read up on that hobby of yours.

Use your lunch break to do what you love, and allow yourself to not think about work. No more eating at your desk!

5. Keep Your Work at Work

This may be easier said than done, but worth the conscious effort. If you are like most, your job is demanding a lot of mental energy out of you during your work day.

Of course, this is important, and you want to focus on it to advance and excel in your career. However, taking that mental demand home with you every day can lead to more stress and worry when you should be relaxing and enjoying the rest of your day.

If you do have to take work home, don’t let it affect your quality of life after hours. Designate time to stay ahead or reach that deadline if that gives you more flexibility and less stress, but worrying about obligations during your time off can lead to feeling guilt and hinder any hope of having fun.

6. Let Go of Perfectionism

Overachievers tend to have one common trait: perfectionism. Perfectionist tendencies begin at a young age when time is limited to school, hobbies and sports or afterschool jobs. It may be easier to maintain that perfectionism then, but as we age, life gets more complicated, and we have more responsibilities on our plates.

This idea of perfect becomes out of reach and can make for more stress and destruction. Avoid burning out by letting go of that perfect model. Strive for excellence, not perfection, and you will start to enjoy more out of your day.

Doing what you love while working a full-time job isn’t impossible, but it does take dedication and planning. Try slowly incorporating these six tips into your routine, and you’ll notice your work-life balance and happiness will begin to improve.

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