7 Tips for Finding the Time and Energy to Pursue Your Passion
No one really dreams of being a mindless and unsatisfied office drone when they’re young, but for various reasons, many of us nonetheless find ourselves falling into jobs that we just can’t stand, an having to put up with the fact that the work we do for five or more days of the week, is ultimately meaningless to us in the grand scheme of things.
This is a terrible situation to be in — but it’s a really terrible situation to accept, and to stay in, for the long term. Ultimately, it takes an enormous toll on your wellbeing and robs life of much of its joy and wonder.
Sure, at some point in our lives we almost all have to work jobs that we don’t like in order to make ends meet. But everyone should nonetheless be striving to move more and more towards a place where they’ll be able to follow their passion on a daily basis, and eventually turn it into a career.
This dream can be a lot more achievable than you realise. It just requires you to be focused, optimistic, and to adopt the right approach to your work and life.
So, if you’re struggling to find a way to live your passion, here are some suggestions that might help.
Focus on your “One Thing” as much as possible, and reduce time spent on other things in your professional life
In the famous business productivity book, The One Thing, its authors point out that a common feature of all highly successful people seems to be their ability and tendency to focus incredibly specifically, on one key area of expertise, rather than trying to juggle everything at once.
This makes some sense, when you consider the fact that all of us — from the most to the least successful — have the same number of hours in a day, and that no amount of wealth or expertise can expand a day beyond the set 24-hours.
When you scatter your energy and attention by trying to do twenty disparate things, equally as well as each other, you’re likely robbing yourself of the time and energy required to be really successful in a particular endeavour.
To find the time and energy to do the things you’re really passionate about, it’s important that you focus, and do whatever you can to reduce the number of tasks and duties you have to deal with in your professional life, that don’t specifically relate to your passion.
This can mean deferring certain tasks, refusing certain projects (insofar as you’re able to do so), and maybe even hiring a virtual assistant, so that you can spend less time in the office doing work that you hate, and more time focusing on what you actually care about.
Setup automated systems to allow you to do what you do in a more streamlined manner
Often, time and energy are lost, simply because of technical or mechanical issues. If, for example, your job or passion project requires you to do a lot of printing, then running out of printer ink and not having a spare cartridge, can stall your ability to put in meaningful work for days at a stretch.
Something as simple as stocking up on HP printer ink from a reliable and affordable supplier, can help to forestall such an issue.
Wherever you can, you should try to focus on introducing automated systems into your life that allow you to to streamline the processes surrounding your creative work.
You want to ensure that you’re never caught off guard, or prevented from making progress, due to some silly technical issue that you could have taken preemptive steps to avoid.
Become much better about your time-management — force yourself to start, even if you don’t feel like it
If you’re trying to work on a passion project and find time to turn your creative endeavour into your full-time career, you absolutely need to be on top of things when it comes to your time management. Failing to capitalise on every free moment to the greatest possible extent, is tantamount to a crime, and can cost you years of potential progress.
If you get home from work every evening and then watch two hours of TV a night before going to bed, you’ve got to ask why it is that you’re willing to prioritise that form of mindless entertainment over pursuing your dreams.
A big element in successful time management is simply forcing yourself to start, even when you don’t feel like it. Often, once you’ve taken the first step, the whole process becomes much easier to follow through on.
Don’t try and pursue all your hobbies and passions at once. Focus on one thing at a time
This is something like an extension of the “One Thing” principle, but applies to your personal life. It might be that you’ve got various important goals at once, including things like getting fit, learning a new language, practising the guitar, writing a book, and learning a martial art.
That’s all great — but you’d do well to not try and do all of these things simultaneously. Simply put, there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything at once. You should focus on one or two core areas of your life that you want to work on, and then leave the rest for later.
By trying to pursue all of your hobbies and passions at once, you just increase the likelihood that you won’t make any substantial progress on any single one of them.
Organise and structure your schedule, and manage your projects, using a comprehensive system
Life can be dazzlingly complex, with all kinds of daily chores, tasks, and requirements placed on us. When you’re trying to turn your passion into your full-time career, or at least to find the time to make it a real and significant part of your life, you’re going to have to be organised in a way that you may never have been before.
An essential skill to develop is discernment. You need to able to figure out, in a hurry, just what tasks and ideas should be actioned, which can be safely dismissed, and how you should plan your days in terms of to-dos and the like. On top of all of this, you should have a clear idea of the best ways to structure your projects, along with a clear overview of which actions need to be completed in order for the project itself to be marked off as complete.
Trying to “wing it” and keep track of all of this stuff without a coherent, tried and true system, is generally bad idea. Instead, turn to well-established organisational methods such as David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system, Ryder Carroll’s “Bullet Journal” system, or at least utilise tools for cataloguing your obligations and planning your day.
Get more sleep
Sleep is far from the decadent luxury that so many high-flying entrepreneurial types seem to think it is. Instead, sleep is connected intimately to our well-being and productivity, in every dimension of our lives.
Recent research in the field of sleep science has found that people who sleep more are more effective at their work, more efficient with their time, learn things more easily, remember more of what they learn, have better interpersonal skills, and enjoy overall better health, and mood.
It’s not just the time you spend working on something that’s important. The quality of the work that you put in during that time is a major factor, too. Two hours of focused, clear-minded work, when you’re in a well-rested state, is likely to go a lot further than four hours of “work” when you’re heavily sleep deprived, can’t focus, and are suffering from brain fog.
If you’re working to pursue your passion full-time, you need to turn out good work, and you need to do it consistently, while staying motivated. One of the best ways for achieving this is to ensure that you’re getting enough shut-eye at night.
Get started on pursuing your dream now, without over-thinking it -- improve and refine your strategy later
If you’re a perfectionist by nature, you might easily fall victim to the phenomenon known as “analysis paralysis”, which is where you sit around over-thinking the best way to take action, and the best action to take, and get so caught up in fretting over the logistics and theory of a thing, that you never take meaningful action at all.
If you sit yourself down and give yourself a laundry list of reasons why you think it’ll be difficult, or impossible, to make a living from your passion, you’re writing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyone can psych themselves out of doing anything under those conditions.
By far the better approach is to get started on pursuing your dream now, even with imperfect knowledge of how to begin, and then improve and refine your strategy later in the process.
You’ll be amazed by just how powerful it can be to take action rather than contemplating it for years.