Working a regular 9 to 5 job can be tiring, and many people often dream of starting a side project that can keep them happy and give them an outlet for their passion. Courtney Shane, an expert at doing passion projects, recently had a chat with me about such projects.
Courtney is a multi-talented actor, director, dancer and voice-over artist who was only able to reach this place in the industry after holding several “regular” jobs to stabilize herself financially. Courtney is one of the most productive people I have ever met, and she gave me some insider tips on how to pursue a full-time job with a side passion project.
She mentioned the following helpful tips:
5 Game-Changing Tips For Following Your Passion While Working Your Day Job
1. Treat your Project Time Like You Would a Date
Your passion project also requires time and efforts if you want to make it work, and putting aside time can be difficult with a full or part-time job. However, Courtney suggests that you should allot a consistent and specific time for your passion project and treat that time the way you would treat a date. However, this date would be more important because it would be one with yourself.
Think about it! You wouldn’t just cancel on a date with someone you care for without a valid reason. And, if something came up and you couldn't make it, you would postpone or reschedule the date. Also, while on the date, do not get distracted by anything else and focus on the date and only the date. After all, you wouldn’t want to seem rude. So do the same with yourself, don't answer your phone or scroll social media. Stay focused on your goal!
2. Mind Dump and Pluck
Multi-tasking and managing different tasks that need to be completed are some of the most challenging parts of following your passion. Courtney recommends differentiating between what is on your list of things to do and what will bring you closer to your goal. This differentiation can be done using the mind dump and pluck strategy.
The mind dump and pluck strategy involves several different parts.
1. Throughout the week, whenever Courtney thinks of a task that must be complete, she uses Siri on her phone to add the task to a list. By doing this, she can reduce stress, because instead of trying to keep track of all her different tasks in her head, she knows that all of the tasks are getting added to a list to get completed.
2. Once a week, she looks over this list of tasks on her phone and writes them on a board where she can see them at once. These tasks can include things as menial as getting more milk from the store, to the more significant ones, like starting a project.
3. Once this master list is complete, she starts plucking out the tasks that she will accomplish in the coming week. During the plucking process, she might realize some tasks can wait till the following week or can even be removed from the list entirely. This allows her to shorten and prioritize her list on what is truly most important.
4. Continue to do this process every week!
3. Get Yourself in the Zone
After you have set aside a stipulated time for your passion project, you might find that some tasks require more time than you originally dedicated to your project. Do not worry because in such a case, you would have to keep up a work flow and get yourself in the zone.
The zone will allow you to concentrate on the tasks at hand and work more efficiently. To get into this productive state of mind, Courtney suggests that you should figure out the specifics that bring you into it, like a particular time in the day or a specific place.
Sometimes, you might find that you cannot get in the zone or that you do not feel like working on your project. However, Courtney recommends that you should work on the project during the scheduled time anyways. It is likely that after some time working, you will get into the zone, but either way, you will get work done.
4. Use the TTT Strategy
Some tasks might pop up throughout that day that may seem easy to complete and essential at the same time. Tasks such as paying your bills and replying to a text message or email may seem necessary and urgent in the moment. However, these tasks distract you from achieving your goals for your project, and they break your concentration. This is when Courtney emphasizes the use of the TTT strategy (or Task Tackle Time).
The TTT strategy involves assigning a specific time in which you can complete random, odd-ball tasks. Courtney recommends allotting time at the end of the week. This will help you remain more focused on the tasks you need to accomplish for your project, while also still scheduling time to accomplish all the small tasks. Even if something comes up during your project time, you can write a reminder for yourself and complete the task during your TTT period.
During Courtney's TTT time, she reviews over her Mind Dump list of tasks to do, and gets many of the odd-ball tasks done during this time. Following this method will help you focus on your large projects when you are working on them, and still get all the smaller tasks done!
5. Task Automation
Often at times, you may find yourself wanting to multi-task and accomplish several goals at the same time. While this might seem feasible to you, you might end up spreading yourself too thin, and the quality of your work might be compromised.
Courtney suggests setting up automation for tasks that can be completed with minimal supervision. For example, if you have an important email that you need to send at a specific time, write the email during the TTT period and schedule the email’s sending for that time. This can be done for social media-related tasks, online banking tasks and more!
In this way, you can save your energy, and you won’t have to worry about doing the tasks during your project time.
So, get started today and use this checklist to help you do so:
- Set up a date with your passion project and include the specified how, when and where of the date.
- Mind dump all of the tasks that need to be completed and pluck out your priorities.
- Find out how you get into the zone and create an atmosphere that will help you get into it.
- Use the TTT strategy to schedule a time for the more menial tasks, so that you can be more productive with your project.
- Use your time efficiently and automate the tasks that you can.
These tips will help through your journey of starting a passion project and becoming more productive in your daily life.
About Courtney Shane:
Courtney Shane is an actor, dancer, comedian, voiceover artist, clown, producer and director. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University, studied with celebrity actor Julianne Moore at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, was directed on network television by Thom Eberhardt, who has directed Martin Short, Kurt Russell and Ben Kingsley. She earned a dance degree, traveled to Cuba for intense dance training, performed in music videos as a dancer and performed on professional Salsa Bachata Ballroom Dance Teams. She has performed stand up comedy at The Comedy Store and HaHa Cafe in Hollywood, performed all voiceover characters in shows and commercials, trained and performed with Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Brothers and Clowns Without Borders pro clown directors. She earned a degree in Cinema/TV Production and produced and directed Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain music video. She loves being an artist and wishes to inspire others to be creative.