If you have a passion project, it can often feel like you’re getting pulled in different directions.
There’s the stuff you must do, and then there’s the stuff you really want to do. But what do you do when your responsibilities are taking up all your time?
This is a struggle that everyone faces at one point or another. And the tendency is to put your own happiness aside to take care of responsibilities.
But what if you really could have it all?
Here are some tips for pursuing your own happiness without ignoring responsibilities.
Wake up earlier
No one really wants to wake up early. Our beds are too warm and cozy for an early wakeup call to be appealing to anyone. But most successful people do wake up before the sun. Why? Because that’s the best way to accomplish more in your day.
Even if you just spend the extra time reviewing your goals for the day, it’s time well spent.
But there’s another benefit to waking up early. The morning time is when we’re at our creative best. So, you can use that time to work on your passion project. Or you can spend the morning learning about something that makes you happy.
Since the rest of the world is likely still asleep, this time is yours and yours alone. Do with it whatever makes you happy.
Use calendar blocking
Calendar blocking is a very basic technique, but it can be life-changing. If you aren’t currently living on a schedule, you simply must try this.
You probably think that scheduling every part of your life sounds like the opposite of happiness. But hang in there because this is an amazing tool to help you balance life.
Start by blocking out time for everything you do on a regular basis. From the moment you wake up until you go to sleep, all your major activities should be planned. This includes morning coffee breaks, any phone calls you can schedule, TV time and scrolling social media feeds. When you have to keep up with your car maintenance, it goes on the calendar.
It may sound silly, but you’re going to be much less likely to waste time when you have to account for it. When you have to face how much social media time you’ve spent, it can be a wakeup call. You could have spent that time doing something that makes you truly happy. Next time, you will.
Not only will you waste less time this way, but you’ll also keep better track of appointments and important items from your to-do list.
Make happiness a priority
Once you’ve reclaimed your mornings and organized your day, you should have some time on your calendar to dedicate towards your passion project. Make it a non-negotiable.
This time is as important as anything else you’re doing during your day, so don’t bend because someone else wants something from you. Mark this time as “busy” on your calendar and learn how to say no to any requests during this time politely.
Naturally, emergencies get priority. But they would also get priority if you were at work. So, you should be safe to handle this time as you would handle your time at work. In reality, it’s equally as important.
The only way to make calendar blocking successful is to get serious about your time. If you’re stopping what you’re doing to check Instagram or text messages every five minutes, you’re probably not going to stay on schedule. And if one thing runs over its allocated time, everything else will follow suit. It’s a domino effect that you want to avoid at all costs. Because it will inevitably cost you your happiness.
Here’s a pro tip that can help with distractions: put your phone on “do not disturb” mode whenever you’re busy getting stuff done. Any contact on your favorite’s list should still be able to get through, so you’ll be accessible in case of emergency. But in the meantime, you won’t be a slave to your notifications. A few seconds here or there may not seem like a lot, but whenever you stop working, you lose momentum. Then, you must get back into the flow until your next distraction. When the day is done, you’re left wondering where all your time went.
We all have the same number of minutes in a day. You can either take control over those minutes and live the life you want, or you can let time get away from you. Time will pass, either way, so you may as well make the most out of every minute.