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In this episode of Making It Work, one woman tells us her tips for managing a time-consuming side hustle on top of her full-time job.

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Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video narration by Leslieann Powell

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an article by Gina Vaynshteyn:

The Financial Diet site:

"Making It Work" is sponsored by FICO.

Visit to learn more. [PAPER RUSTLING] Since late July, I've been balancing 40-plus hours a week at my full-time job with approximately 30 more hours for my freelance work. Has it been difficult?

Yes. I'm not going to put rainbow frosting on a jacked up cake for you. It's really hard, and some weeks are even harder.

Clients may not pay you on time, and you might miss deadlines and feel horrendously guilty. Sometimes you might feel like you physically cannot do it anymore. But before you turn into a pile of ashes, I wanted to talk about how I've avoided that breaking point.

Before I dive in, I just want to make it clear that I'm not romanticizing side hustles. Your work and the money you make from it should never be synonymous with your self-worth, and productivity is not a competition. On the flip side, I totally get that a lot of people have no choice but to work several jobs to make ends meet.

I choose to do this because of the current circumstances. The mortgage and bills got to get paid and also because I love what I do. So here's how not to internally combust while juggling freelance work and a full-time job.

Number 1, accept the fact that you may be working 60-plus hours a week, and work out what that means. The truth is, you're going to have less time when you're not working. I usually work from 8 AM to 9 PM and give myself a couple of hours to deflate and watch "True Crime" on Netflix, and I generally either spend half my Saturdays and Sundays working or a full Saturday working with a Sunday off.

But that doesn't mean weekend getaways and traveling to see family for multiple days are out of the question. I just plan for it. For example, I booked a couple nights in the desert to spend some time away from LA and in a pool, and I bulked up on assignments the week before.

That week won't be the most fun, but time management is key. Even if you're the most organized efficient human being, you'll still be working a lot. Be mentally prepared for it, and savor the time off you do have.

Number 2, give yourself a cutoff time every day. Not only does giving yourself a clear cutoff time make it so that you can't easily procrastinate because you think to yourself, well, I have all night to finish xyz, it gives you healthier work life boundaries. Log off.

Give yourself an hour or two of sugary stupid TV. Read a book, journal. You cannot and should not work 24/7.

Number 3, allot a specific number of hours you're willing to spend every day on your side hustle. Understanding how many hours you're working is key to organizing your day as well as understanding your limits. And 100% give yourself limits.

You can only handle so much before you burn out and start submitting work that's not up to your usual standards, and that can happen when you're overwhelmed. Number 4, be efficient with your time. I hate the term "work smart, not hard" even though the intentions behind it are fine, I guess.

I think you can both work hard and be efficient. You just need to understand which tasks need to be optimized and how you can do that. For instance, I hired several subcontractors when I realized I couldn't impossibly layout high level strategy and be the one executing it for one client.

Number 5, avoid staying up super late to meet a deadline. Just ask for an extension. Don't sacrifice your brain energy.

You're going to need it for your full time job the next day, and you never ever want to let your performance slip when you work full-time for a company. At the end of the day, you want to make sure everyone you're working for is happy with your work. Number 6, carve out a safe happy place for yourself in your home.

Whether it's your living room, a small desk in the corner of your bedroom, or an office you're able to revamp and truly call yours, you should try to create a serene spot to differentiate work time from the rest of your life. Because otherwise, the two will blend. And no matter what you're doing, you'll feel like you're working.

I get that this might not be possible if you have children, partner, or a roommate. COVID has made it difficult for us to even escape to a coffee shop or a library. But hopefully this won't be the case for long.

In the meantime, invest in noise canceling headphones. Find a seat that doesn't turn your back into petrified wood by 3 PM. Light a candle, and settle into focus mode on your own terms.

Number 7, if you can, ask for help. Since my husband is at home all day long, he self-elected making dinners and cleaning the house, which has been tremendously helpful. Not all of us had this.

But if you do live with a partner or even a roommate, see if you can divvy up chores and other tasks so that when you do have time away from your computer, you can spend it as leisurely as possible. When it comes to meals, if you can't rely on someone else to make them, try to meal prep one day of the week. And try to keep things as simple as possible.

Number 8, find ways to practice legitimate self-care. For me, this past weekend self-care was going to Trader Joe's and browsing the aisles like I used to do before COVID happened. I couldn't stay long, but just participating in an activity I used to love so much brought me a lot of joy and soothed my frazzled brain.

Also, yes, I bought two bags of maple popcorn and Apple cider spread. Number 9, talk to people. Finally, remember that almost every person is going through some kind of hell right now, and almost all of us need someone to vent to.

Sometimes it helps to just text a friend or family member and let them know you're stressed, or even ask them how they're doing so you can take your mind off your own anxieties and worries. I found that all of my friends are more than happy to talk it out. Just make sure you're also lending an ear, and giving them the support they need too.

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