Getting Your Gigs Back on Track This Fall

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Now that it’s September, I’m sure many of us — myself included — are finding that our schedules are filling up once more. Maybe you’re heading back to school, or you have other work or volunteer commitments that are ramping back up now that Summer is over. Even with most places doing everything online, there’s still a lot to adjust to.

I doubt I’m alone in finding I no longer have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Unfortunately for many of us, that can mean struggling to find time to gig work.

In addition to taking online classes, my day job has kicked back into full gear as well. But here’s how I stay organized, and find time to fit everything in.

Planning ahead is key. If you’re someone who rarely plans what they’re doing in the next two hours, let alone a week from now, this might be a tough habit to get into. But it’s worth it. That could mean keeping an actual written (or digital) calendar or simply organizing your thoughts and plans before heading into each week. Do you have any big assignments due that could take up large chunks of your time? Will your workload be lighter than normal, potentially affording you more time to tackle other tasks? What about personal commitments like childcare, or other family obligations?

It may seem like a lot to process at one time, but I find the earlier I plan ahead, the more I’m able to find time to fit in commitments or plans that may have otherwise fallen by the wayside.

Communication is also an important aspect. We all have plenty of people to report to — maybe it’s your boss, your teacher, or even friends and family. Setting expectations for what you can accomplish and allowing everyone in your life to have a sense of your schedule will help you not only stick to your commitments, but feel less guilty about the things you may have to reschedule or say no to. For instance, if you’ve decided on Sunday night that your goal is to gig for a certain amount of time that week (or to earn a certain amount of money) you can make that clear ahead of time. You can even block off different portions of your day.

Finding a work life balance can be difficult, especially when you’re someone who wears many hats: Student, teacher, parent, caregiver. While one silver lining of the pandemic has been an emphasis on working and learning from home, it’s also come with its own challenges.

But accomplishing your goals can be a self-fulfilling prophecy — once you say you’re going to do it, it makes it all that much more likely to happen.