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Taking the ‘Hustle’ out of a Side-Hustle: Work Charms Series

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In the past several years, I have had to think about putting in extra time and doing extra projects outside of traditional work hours to get where I want to go with my career and my life. My husband has as well. This recently brought up the term “side-hustle.” We both agreed that we dislike the term. I mean, what does it mean to “hustle” anyway? I asked Marriam-Webster:

Hustle (V): a to crowd or push roughly

                     b to convey forcibly or hurriedly

                     c to urge forward precipitately

I mean, I get it. Money is tight, the middle class is shrinking, and small businesses are only getting more competitive.  If we have something we are passionate about that we want to develop into a career, we may find ourselves putting in some extra hours outside of our traditional work to make it happen. Or, we may find ourselves taking on something extra just to pay the bills. But- is “hustle” really how we want to describe a business prospect that we want to cultivate? Do we want our deepest career dreams and passions to be forced, hurried and pushed-through? Do we want our life to be a “hustle?”

When I am cultivating a career prospect outside of my primary job, I try to do so with a little TLC- tender loving care – both to myself and the project. I like to take my time. I like to plan it through. I want to think of how my side project will help with my primary career. This blog, for instance, helped me get a job working in literacy last summer and has helped me to improve my writing in the workplace. My husband edits a Youtube channel which helps him to improve his editing skills and also helps him to network in his field, in addition to bringing in a small revenue. Furthermore, we both greatly enjoy these projects. While it’s unrealistic for every second of every side project to be filled with joy and passion, shouldn’t it be something that fills us with greater meaning and helps us to grow as individuals and as professionals?

Simply put, we may have to put more energy into our careers at some points than others to get where we want to go, but at the end of our lives, do we really want to look back and see a “hustle?” Is that really what we think we owe ourselves?

So, let’s reclaim all those additional hours we have put in. Let’s have side passion-projects. Let’s have side growth-generators. Let’s have side money-makers and side career-boosters. Let’s dip our toes in the water, try new things, enjoy each step of the process in a mindful way, and be awake. Let’s remember when we have to put in more hours than we would like that we are rock stars. Let’s embrace those parts where the project gets sticky as a learning opportunity and celebrate every step of the way. Let’s treat every obstacle as an exciting challenge we can overcome. Let’s pat ourselves on the back for going above and beyond, for being innovators, for daring to dream.

But please, let’s not hustle.

5 Commuting Tips: Work Charms Series

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I have recently embarked on my first real “city rush hour” commute, and oh boy, I haven’t been missing out on anything. The experience, however, has given me some opportunities to reflect on how I can make my commute more Enchanted, so I thought I would bring it up as part of the Work Charms series. I’m by no means a commuting expert, but I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along the way. Feel free to share your own tips with me as well; I could certainly use them!

1. Be mindful. Of course, we should be mindful of other commuters, but what I actually mean by this is to consider our commute as part of our day, rather than just a transition time between here and there. Our time is valuable and I find that I am much more content if I am appreciating what I am doing in and of itself, rather than just treating it as something that will bring me to the next thing on my to-do list.

2. Explore the senses. Keep your eyes on the road, of course, but being considerate of your senses can be a nice thing. I recently cleaned my car out and got some new air freshener, which smells nice. I also have some new music. I like to bring tea or coffee with me. If you commute by bus, walking, or bike, you may not have as much control over your environment but maybe you can take the time to look around you and explore something you hadn’t noticed before.

3. Invest in yourself. I am currently listening to some sociology and psychology books I had on Audible that I never had a chance to listen to before. After that, I plan to listen to a Korean language series. Consider how much time you have on your commute. Now, imagine that you have that much time every day to take a class or to learn something new. What would you invest in for that amount of time?

4. Practice compassion. It’s easy to find ourselves angry when people cut us off or drive recklessly. There is a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh I like to remember when I’m not feeling compassionate, which is: “When a person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.” This reminds me that another person’s careless behavior says more about their own emotional state than it does about me personally. So, I can empathize with their sense of stress or urgency and let my own anger go.

5. What happens on the commute stays on the commute. By that I mean, don’t let a bad commute ruin your whole day. You can treat the time that you arrive at your workplace as a new day and a fresh chance to start over. Take a moment after you arrive at your destination to take some deep breaths, have a little tea or coffee, and start your day anew when you enter your workplace.

Do you have any tips for how to make a commute more pleasant?

5 Morning Routine Tips: Work Charms Series

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Hello all. If I’ve been a bit quiet as of late, it’s because I just completed an intensive training for a new job. I’m currently working for a children’s literacy nonprofit, which as you might imagine is a dream come true for me.

All this time navigating a new work environment has had me thinking a lot about how I can apply an Enchanted Outlook to the workplace. Now, I’m not a workplace guru by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d like to share a thing or two I’ve been thinking about in a new series called Work Charms. And no, this is not about impressing your coworkers with your charming charisma, but rather little tweaks or “charms” we can make in our day to make for a happier work life.

So, let’s start with morning. Here are a few things I have been working on doing before I even step foot in the car.

1. Don’t press snooze. I have, historically, been the worst about this, even after a full night’s sleep. I am not the kind of person to want to hop out of bed. In fact, I tend to hit the snooze button until the last possible minute. Science does say, though, that hitting snooze isn’t great for us. Lately, I have decided that if I’m not jumping up to start my day, I can at least be upright. I will grab a blanket and the mug of water on my bedside table and sit on my yoga mat for five to ten minutes, until I have woken up more. (A chair works too; I just don’t have room for one in my bedroom.) This quiet time allows me to transition from sleep to wakefulness without being too grumpy.

2. Practice gratitude. This time I am slowly waking up is a good time to practice gratitude. Truth be told, I had some genetic testing done last year for a potentially life-threatening condition and was fortunate that the results were negative. Ever since that time, I have practiced gratitude for every day that I am alive. I have realized that every day is not something that is owed to me, but rather a gift I can be grateful to have. Along those lines, I reflect on how to make the most out of my day.

3. Capsule wardrobe. I know, they’re everywhere lately. Mine isn’t a true “capsule” with strict rules, but rather I try to stick primarily to neutral solids (black, brown, camel, navy, cream) for the majority of my clothes, and add a pop of pattern or color here and there. I set out my clothes the night before, but if I ever forget, it’s not too hard to pull something together quickly.

4. Rule of 3. I usually don’t do more than three makeup items (like foundation, eye liner, mascara) and usually don’t do more than three accessories (like glasses, belt, necklace). That’s just a personal preference, but I like to keep it simple.

5. Simple nutrition. I’m passionate about wellness, but lazy about breakfast. Since I know that about myself, I did some research into the healthiest breakfast bars. My favorite are Lara Bars, but I also like Kind bars and Kashi bars. It’s probably healthier and cheaper to make overnight oats or have a banana with peanut butter or something, but “Morning Stacey” seems to just want to grab a breakfast bar and go. So, I at least try to make sure it’s a somewhat healthy one.

There you have it. If it isn’t obvious, I’m NOT a morning person. Kudos to those who go about their mornings with flair. For the rest of us, I hope one of these tips was helpful.

Is there something you have added to your morning routine that is particularly helpful?

 

Daily Gratitude: Mondays

Okay, I know. Appreciation for bad weather is one thing, but being thankful for Mondays is just blasphemy. Truth be told, I don’t like Mondays any more than anyone else does. In fact, I may like them even less, since I work with clients with mental disabilities and schedule changes, like the weekend, can be confusing for them.

I was thinking, though, that Mondays are special not so much because of what they are, but because of who we are. On Mondays, we are our bravest. We face down our week, reluctantly, but confidently. We look it in the eyes and say, “I got this.” Mondays are the day we get to strap on a metaphorical sword and show our mettle. Life is often hardest on Mondays, which is why I believe that Monday is the day we are truly living on the edge, and thus are the most alive. So go on, you rock star, you, and get out there. You got this.

What are you grateful for?

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