Five tips for balancing a 9–5 job with a successful content creation career.
Six months ago, I changed my job. And since then, my content creation career has never been grimmer.
When you make such changes, you may struggle to balance your new commitments with content creation. And you may expect it some way. But I wasn’t. So my experience was even worse.
I had plenty of free time to follow my dreams and ambitions where I worked before. So I was highly productive. My content was high quality. And I even started working with a few clients.
Things were going great.
But this new job completely switched my perspective. And even if I earn much more money, I still want to become a content creator. I haven’t lost my passion. And I wish to go full-time one day. Who knows?
In the past three months, I only focused on creating content and finding more free time. I committed to becoming a successful content creator even with my new job. So here are five tips you can use to produce content while working nine-to-five.
1 — Become an early bird.
The morning is the most productive part of the day because you are well-rested and fresh. So it would be a shame to miss this opportunity.
However, most people I know don’t wake up early to work on their projects. They prefer sleeping until 8 a.m and then rushing to work. But with a 9–5 job, you can spare at least one hour in the morning.
And if you create content one hour a day for five days, that’s already five hours of work per week. It is easily doable, and it doesn’t require too much commitment.
However, when I started waking up earlier, I couldn’t be productive at all.
- I wasn’t used to writing in the morning, so I spent time on my smartphone or doing breakfast.
- Also, I wasn’t sleeping enough. I was waking up earlier but not going to sleep when I should have. Thus, I was exhausted and unproductive.
But after three months of experiments, I’ve learned a few things:
- Set a specific time zone for content creation. And prepare for it a few minutes before, so you don’t have to drop anything.
- Don’t reduce sleeping time. If you wake up two hours earlier, you must recover that time.
- Don’t skip more than once. A new routine takes time to build up. But if you miss it more than once, you will turn to your usual sleep schedule.
2 — Make a free-time list.
To-do lists are awesome. They are simple to make. And they can enhance your productivity by allowing you to focus on one task at a time.
But a to-do list means nothing if you don’t have the time to finish everything you have wanted. So instead of a to-do list, start with a free-time list.
- List all the free time you can find in a work day. Usually, the time slot before dinner and right after are the best ones because you are not completely tired yet.
- Each free time slot should be at least 30 minutes long. Otherwise, you won’t have enough time to reach deep work.
- Your dinner or lunch should not be part of it. So don’t overload yourself. Instead, use those moments to take a break.
3 — Work with your strengths and weaknesses.
If the morning is the most productive part of the day, the evening is the opposite.
After more than 8 hours of work, plus commuting from home to work and back, working on creating content is the hardest thing you could do.
But if you are serious about content creation, you must find a way.
- Search evening enhancers that can motivate you to work.
- Leave easier tasks for the most challenging hours. For example, you could schedule and promote your work in the evening.
- Don’t force yourself into working if you are having a terrible day or feel empty. Some days, you better relax than live in pain.
- But don’t give up too easily on content creation with the excuse of tiredness. You are working for yourself. Nobody is forcing you, and nobody will motivate you.
The evening could become a challenging time to build up ideas. But it’s the perfect time to review, control, and promote them. So learn to avoid your weaknesses and work with your strengths.
4 — Aim for small achievements.
You are not a full-time content creator, so why would you want to achieve the same goals?
The weight of comparison sometimes crushes even the most passionate people. And the sooner you realize you should aim for little achievements, the better.
Competition online is tough. You must demonstrate that you are the best to gain an audience. And the pressure often becomes unbearable.
But competing with full-time content creators would be like waking up one day and running the New Your marathon. You could do it. Nobody will stop you. But there’s no chance you will ever beat your competition.
If you aim for smaller goals instead, your overall mood will improve. You will stop pressuring yourself so much. And your productivity will increase too.
So seek small achievements and keep yourself motivated throughout the process. And you will easily balance a 9–5 job with a successful content creation career.
- Measure how much you can do in a day, and start from there to set your goals.
- Stop comparing yourself with other content creators and their achievements. You don’t know their situation.
- Use small achievements to keep yourself motivated. High motivation and good habits are often more efficient than big, unreachable goals.
5 — Focus on quality.
You can’t produce one piece of content per day or more as other creators do. You come from different places. And you cannot challenge them with quantity, even if it is more efficient nowadays.
But quality is still relevant.
There are plenty of content creators publishing one good article a week and still succeeding and building an audience. Most of them still fear a transition to full-time. But some have already done it and succeeded.
So focus on quality if you don’t have enough free time to publish daily.
- Research your content and focus on readability.
- Build good SEO headlines. You have less space for experimenting with your public. Therefore, you must target better.
- Use a social media platform if you need constant interaction with your audience. You can publish short-form content more frequently there.
When I changed my job, I feared I had to leave content creation. And the fear was getting under my skin in the first months.
But when I finally got the time to write again, I understood I could never leave content creation. It fills me with joy and satisfaction. And it makes me happy.
So I had to find a solution. I had to search for new ways to become a successful content creator and still work on a demanding 9-to-5 job.
- First, I became an early bird because it seemed the most obvious way to gain some time.
- Then, I started tracking my free time with a list.
- Since I had trouble focusing in the evening, I left it for undemanding tasks.
- And I had to learn how to work with small achievements to remain motivated.
- But I never stopped trying to provide the best quality possible.
And these are five tips that helped me balance my new job with my biggest passion.
Become a better content creator now!
Receive the best content creation infographics directly in your inbox. Join The Challenge.
If you want to write and get paid, subscribe to Medium through my referral link, or follow my Substack newsletter where you can read old newsletters too.
Cover photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels for How To Become a Successful Content Creator (and Still Work 9 to 5).