Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

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.

Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are right under our noses.

Big Think LIVE

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Keep reading Show less

Swedish scientist advocates eating humans to combat climate change

A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.

Surprising Science
  • A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
  • He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
  • The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
Keep reading Show less

Russia claims world's first COVID-19 vaccine but skepticism abounds

President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced coronavirus vaccine at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.

Credit: Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Coronavirus
  • Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Russia.
  • Scientists around the world are worried that the vaccine is unsafe and that Russia fast-tracked the vaccine without performing the necessary phase 3 trials.
  • To date, Russia has had nearly 900,000 registered cases of coronavirus.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Therapy app Talkspace mined user data for marketing insights, former employees allege

    A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.

    Talkspace.com
    Technology & Innovation
    • In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
    • Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
    • It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
    Keep reading Show less
    Mind & Brain

    Viewing abstract art causes notable cognitive changes

    Viewing art that doesn't look like anything makes your brain take extra steps to try and get it.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast