When Your 'Real' Job Interfers With Living Your Dream


What happens when you actually do find “work that doesn’t suck” but then … that work — part-time, full-time, or contract — chews up most or all of your energy and time?

Okay. Maybe, that’s a bit dramatic.

But, it IS how it feels to me sometimes. As much as I love my new ‘job’ as a “Cruise and Vacation Specialist” I’m finding myself  overwhelmed at least once a day,  frequently feeling  ‘behind the 8 ball’, and therefore, beating myself up for not getting everything done.

And, this, ironically or not, is the situation with several of my clients.

What about you?

Do you find that your ‘real job’ (you know that thing that you do to pay the rent)  sucks up so much time and energy that you can’t move ahead on your plans to live your dream?

So, what do you do?

Well,  here are 3 ideas I’m working on …

1. Get Clear on Your Real Priorities

One of my 30-something creative clients recently voiced a lament that went something like this, “I don’t know what to DO … I have so many ideas. What should I do?”

The “problem” with most eclectic, creatives isn’t a scarcity of ideas! It’s a lack of action and accomplishment!

My, and my clients, favourite ‘excuse’ for this is lack of time.

Sorry folks, sorry Lyle, but as the time management gurus are only too happy to point out, “we all have 168 hours a week!” It’s not the time you are given each week:  it’s how you spend it.

So, ask  yourself, as I am asking myself every morning, “What MUST I do today? What do I NEED to do today? What actions will move me closer to my dream?”

I use my answers to these questions to set my priorities for the day. And, 

2. Stay Focused On Your Priorities

Knowing your priorities is critical to your success. Even more critical is actually acting on them!

That means staying focused. Ah, but keeping focused is a very big challenge for creative eclectics.

Why? Because we are often ‘right-brain’ dominant people who live and breath ideas. Ideas stimulate and excite our neurons. And, there are a gajillion ideas coming at us every moment … oh, and people clamoring for attention!

True, other people do interrupt us … and, learning to manage interruptions is a critical skill. But, most often we are our worst enemies. Whether we are Introverts or Extraverts most of belong to online communities, subscribe to blog and news feeds, &/or just go ‘surfing the Net’ looking for ideas or distraction.

And, that’s the schizo thing about being an eclectic creative: we need outside stimuli to fuel our creativity but when we get too much, or get lost in that ‘stream of data’ then we don’t get a damn thing done!

So, to keep me from ‘wasting TOO much time’ being a Social Media Butterfly, I work hard at only allowing myself ‘snippets’ of time on Facebook, Twitter, or in online communities. I pop in and out several times a day, stay for 10 minutes or less per visit, read the most appealing items, post a response or two, and then get back to work.

Well that’s the theory anyway. But, sometimes I get distracted! And, when I do, I try hard not to berate myself for it. And, I focus on doing My Work instead of lamenting my ‘mistakes’.

3. Stay Healthy

Staying healthy is a MUST for me.

And, it needs to be for you too.


The simple fact, as far too many have learned, is that “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything!” I’m finding that many of my clients, even those who are 30-something are reporting clear, unmistakable symptoms of stress overload.

So, what can you do to stay healthy?

Once you’ve made it a priority then ACTION is required. And, believe me, a once-a-week trip to the Gym isn’t what I mean.

No. A focus on healthy living means daily, even hour-to-hour attention to nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction. For me that means that first thing in the morning I go for a 5 kilometre walk. And, during the day I take time out to get up and away from my computer and stretch or I  go for a 5 or 10 minute walk in the back yard or down the block. I prepare and cook (yes, I’m the chef in the house)  healthy meals that follow the national food guide. And, I work at removing stress from my life and managing the stressors that appear in my life.

I can’t forget these daily actions … because when I do, I pay an immediate price: PAIN! You on the other hand can ‘forget’ because the price you pay takes a while to show up. But, remember the saying, “Pay me now. Or, pay me later!” And, remember that the delayed payment can be fatal.

Sermon over.

Practice these 3 strategies on a daily basis and you’ll find yourself living a more passionate, authentic life.