5 ways to pursue a passion project while working a full-time job

There's a reason they call work "work."

how to pursue a passion project
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

I'm a writer (in case that wasn't obvious). I'm also a visual artist and musician, but unlike writing, I don't have the privilege of drawing or singing professionally.

"There's a reason they call work work," my Grandpa likes to tell me — a reminder of how few people get to pursue their creative passions as a full-time professions.

Enter: The Freelance Life, the side hustle, the Etsy page — the myriad of modern-day ways we try to address the dilemma of not getting to pursue our "real" passions in a nine-to-five world.

You might be wondering: "Why bother, when we're all so busy as it is?" Well, studies show creative hobbies have numerous benefits for our happiness and well-being, and they can even aid in boosting productivity at work. Interestingly, a new study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior found that spending more time on a hobby that's unrelated to our work has the power to boost our confidence at our jobs. What's more, when we go through tough times, having a hobby may help us cope. One study, for instance, found that activities like drawing, painting, and sculpting were especially useful in helping people deal with difficult emotions and experiences.

Clearly, creative activities serve a multitude of purposes, on top of just being fun. That's why I asked the experts: How can everyone, no matter what our day jobs, find time for the hobbies we truly enjoy? Read on for their advice.

Create a morning routine

"Having a morning routine is a game changer," says Stephanie Hendrick, a certified business coach and time management expert, who recommends getting up an hour or two early to work on your passion project. "Your mind is the clearest, there are no distractions, and the best part is that you feel accomplished before your day begins." Your routine is unique to you, of course, and everyone needs to find the groove that works for them. But just for an example: Hendrick spends 30 minutes reading then another half hour working on a single step in business, like registering a domain name or starting a website.

Work in increments

In a perfect, mythical world, I'd set aside days of uninterrupted work time for my passion projects. But this kind of all-or-nothing thinking can stop us from taking any steps toward the things we want to spend our time doing. So instead of setting unrealistic goals, start small. "Work on your passion project in 15-minute increments," says Debra Eckerling, a productivity coach and author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning, and Achieving Your Goals. "While sometimes you need to carve out an entire afternoon to work on big-picture tasks, consistently working in small pockets of time adds up."

Practice the 5 of 7 rule

I'm constantly inundated with writers' "tips" that tell me to write everyday, "NO MATTER WHAT." While that advice may work for some people, it hasn't been realistic, or sustainable, for me. That's why I love Eckerling's "5 of 7 rule," which provides the flexibility to decide how many days you can realistically work on your project per week. Most opt for five of seven days, but it can be fewer, too. "It's all about setting yourself up for success in a schedule that works for you," Eckerling says.

Track your progress

Tracking the time you spend on creative pursuits is an incredibly helpful tool for reaching your creative goals while also helping to boost your confidence. Eckerling suggests making appointments with yourself in iCal, Google Calendar, or whichever calendar app you prefer. "After you complete whatever task during each designated passion project time, make a note about your progress within the appointment," she says. That way, "at the end of the week or month, if you are frustrated that you didn't get more done, you can look at your calendar and be proud of your accomplishments and dedication." It's always nice to have a reminder that you really are working toward your goals.

Get enough sleep

It may seem obvious, but attempting to, say, make progress in a manuscript, or break out the watercolor paints after work is less likely to happen if you're constantly scrimping on shut-eye and exhausted. "If you're chronically sleep deprived, you won't have the energy or the creativity you will need to pick up that side gig at the end of a long day," Maura Thomas, M.B.A., productivity, work-life balance and attention management expert, reminds us. Prioritizing sleep can give you the boost you need to reach for your craft.

Reprinted with permission of Thrive Global. Read the original article.

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This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

In June 2021, El Salvador became the first nation in the world to make bitcoin legal tender. Soon after, President Nayib Bukele instructed a state-owned power company to provide bitcoin mining facilities with cheap, clean energy — harnessed from the country's volcanoes.

The challenge: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a digital form of money and a payment system. Crypto has several advantages over physical dollars and cents — it's incredibly difficult to counterfeit, and transactions are more secure — but it also has a major downside.

Crypto transactions are recorded and new coins are added into circulation through a process called mining.

Crypto mining involves computers solving incredibly difficult mathematical puzzles. It is also incredibly energy-intensive — Cambridge University researchers estimate that bitcoin mining alone consumes more electricity every year than Argentina.

Most of that electricity is generated by carbon-emitting fossil fuels. As it stands, bitcoin mining produces an estimated 36.95 megatons of CO2 annually.

A world first: On June 9, El Salvador became the first nation to make bitcoin legal tender, meaning businesses have to accept it as payment and citizens can use it to pay taxes.

Less than a day later, Bukele tweeted that he'd instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to put together a plan to provide bitcoin mining facilities with "very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy."

Geothermal electricity is produced by capturing heat from the Earth itself. In El Salvador, that heat comes from volcanoes, and an estimated two-thirds of their energy potential is currently untapped.

Why it matters: El Salvador's decision to make bitcoin legal tender could be a win for both the crypto and the nation itself.

"(W)hat it does for bitcoin is further legitimizes its status as a potential reserve asset for sovereign and super sovereign entities," Greg King, CEO of crypto asset management firm Osprey Funds, told CBS News of the legislation.

Meanwhile, El Salvador is one of the poorest nations in North America, and bitcoin miners — the people who own and operate the computers doing the mining — receive bitcoins as a reward for their efforts.

"This is going to evolve fast!"

If El Salvador begins operating bitcoin mining facilities powered by clean, cheap geothermal energy, it could become a global hub for mining — and receive a much-needed economic boost in the process.

The next steps: It remains to be seen whether Salvadorans will fully embrace bitcoin — which is notoriously volatile — or continue business-as-usual with the nation's other legal tender, the U.S. dollar.

Only time will tell if Bukele's plan for volcano-powered bitcoin mining facilities comes to fruition, too — but based on the speed of things so far, we won't have to wait long to find out.

Less than three hours after tweeting about the idea, Bukele followed up with another tweet claiming that the nation's geothermal energy company had already dug a new well and was designing a "mining hub" around it.

"This is going to evolve fast!" the president promised.

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