I’m often asked how I balance a full time job (FTJ) and running a business. On the surface it seems (and sometimes feels like) there are not enough hours in the day for both. The desire to balance these seemingly opposite endeavours can seem like a tall task but it is not insurmountable.
Some days the balance is 50/50, other days is might be 70/30 or even 100/0. The key to balance is allowing it to be fluid. Not everything has to be an even spilt down the middle and not every day is going to be the same. Releasing the expectation of perfectection is step 1 in recovery from an idealized life.
A Typical Day
Let’s do some basic weekday math:
- Morning routine and breakfast = 1 hour
- 15 minute commute each way = ½ hour
- Work hours are 8am-5pm with a 30 minute lunch break = 9 hours
- Dinner prep, cooking, eating, and debriefing the day = 2 hours
- Social media check in, answer emails, check website, fill orders = 1 hour
- Down time to stream a show or watch a movie = 1½ hours
- Shower, journal, and night routine = 2 hour
- Sleep = 7 hours
- TOTAL: 24 hours
That 24 hour block fills up fast! Not everyday looks like this but on average my schedule is pretty tight. The weekends look a bit different and this is when I would focus on making products, being outside, tending my gardens seasonally, sourcing materials, and catching up on organizing.
Yeah, it’s a lot.
(Notice how there’s not much space for socializing, errands, unpredicted tasks, quality time with my spouse, or a block to get lost in the woods…)
Yes, my business is paperwork, spreadsheets, and basic accounting, as is the foundation of any business. Being that I create every item I make, my business is also research, sourcing suppliers, testing recipes, writing copy for website listings, designing product labels, physically making each and every item, and so much more!
What Comes from Where
For me, the biggest difference between my FTJ and my business is that:
- My FTJ affords me all the things I NEED
- Stable income, housing, food, health insurance, stability, fulfilling work, etc…
- My business gifts me all the things I DESIRE
- A creative outlet, time to do what feels good, exploration, curiosity, a connection to nature, a sense of self, personal healing, etc…
I am very proud that my FTJ focuses on the needs of vulnerable students. It is the greatest reward and the biggest heartbreak to work with students who lack basic essentials and have been written off. Being someone who can be the smallest part of helping them get on track is a gift. The flipside is that this is highly emotional work and it doesn’t always go how we would hope.
Emotionally I plant seeds everyday and walk away from the garden. I do my work in faith that those seeds will germinate, grow, and blossom but the reality is, I have no way of knowing if that will happen. This is where my business comes into play.
When I go home and get my hands into a big jar of herbs, incense burning, podcast in the background, labels printing, I am whole again. My business is my self-care; it is how I mend the little tears that happen through the day.
How to Find the Balance
My BIGGEST tip for anything in life is 1 simple question:
Will it make me happy?
That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Will this choice make you happy?
I choose to run a business because it makes me happy. I choose to work a FTJ because it makes me happy. I choose to do both these things because the balance between them makes me happy.
Not all things can feel like choices but we can choose to find joy in them. For example, I had to purchase home heating oil for my furnace the week before Christmas. If you do not heat your home with oil, suffice to say, it’s expensive. While it’s not exactly how I want to spend that money during the holidays (or ever, really), I choose to find the joy and comfort in knowing my home will be warm and safe because I made the choice to fill the tank.
Making the Choice
You have the power to choose your own happiness. You have the power to decide what balance resonates with you. You have the power to direct your life.
It’s not always easy; every acquisition comes with a release, whether it be material, emotional, or spiritual. To pick something up we must put something down. Maybe that means it is discarded or maybe it’s just a bit of distance for a period of time.
Find your balance, allow it to be fluid, and ensure it brings you joy.