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Don’t sleep on your dreams. Use your day job to fuel your side hustle.

The plight of the creative is that they have to take up professions outside of their expertise, interests and often times their major, in order to to support themselves.

Aspiring musicians as bartenders, photographers hustling in teaching gigs, entrepreneurs at desk jobs, and etc. An artist in an office setting is a theme common to many across a variety of professions, no matter the medium. And if you look closer, you’ll see that it’s not only artists who are working two jobs either.

Last year in August, the Labor Department reported that 7.6 million workers held multiple jobs, up 2% from 7.4 million in July 2016. That’s back to back highs not seen in over 20 years.

It’s pretty much understood now — we’ll probably have to do a lot of what we don’t want to do, to get a crack at doing what we love. It’s become a part of the American work culture.

It’s easy to lose momentum. It’s easy to become fatigued. It’s easy to lose hope. Our spirits are on the line a lot of times at these day jobs, and it’s when we leave battered and broken, that we forget to clock in to a job that matters.

That’s the very reason we must learn the balance between our night and day jobs. No matter how wild or to which height our aspirations stretch, if we do not invest in the professions that edify us as much as the ones that pays the bills, we’ll be in jeopardy of losing ourselves. This is how best not to do that.

The day job

It’s easy to lose yourself in the repetition of a day job.

The process forces more hours of doing what we don’t like rather than what we do, forcing us to lose our identity along the way. Because it pays more, it ends up meaning more, and efforts that should go into creative juices, are all spent or wasted once the day’s responsibilities are fulfilled.

But a good way to prevent losing yourself in the toil of these day jobs is to view the time we spend there as time invested.

Every second we spend working a job that’s not in our career should be seen as efforts to acquire the materials it takes to continue doing what we love. It’s a perspective that can a day job go from feeling like a life sentence to a game plan.

Instead of the newest Air Jordans or festival tickets, paychecks feel more responsibly spent when it’s making that night job more realistic or bringing that entrepreneurial idea to life.

We’re not going to squander hardworking minutes on the material and temporary when we view our time spent as the means to eventually make our dreams come true.

Day jobs suck, but when we leverage them to our advantage in the way we see fit, it makes them significantly more worth while.

The night job (the side hustle)

Our night jobs are our dreams. Its what we squeeze in; what we find time for, not what we necessarily have time for.

It’s the music we never get the chance to create, the stand-up career you’ve been building; you know, the startup idea you’ve been working on for some time now.

The problem with night jobs however, is that too many times they end up being neglected. For one too many reasons, our night jobs — the jobs that can’t feed us, the jobs we would probably do for free if it came with shelter — don’t receive the intention they need and a lot of times it’s due to the day jobs that we try and balance them with.

If we spend too much energy working on someone else’s dream, we’ll end up losing focus on ours, and for many, end up losing sight of the dream completely.

You ever wonder how people get caught up in the same mediocre job for years? Those are the people who lost sight of job number two; they let the day job dominate — that cannot be you.

How to invest in yourself

Investing in yourself takes intention. It’s not enough to have the desire or to even have the vision. As time ticks, the proof in how badly you want to pursue your hearts desire will be evidenced by how much time you spend investing in whatever that dream is.

No excuse will be good enough, especially if the excuse is your day job.

We are mandated to ensure that the same amount of energy that goes into our day job is equally distributed into our night jobs. And if both our day and night jobs aren’t our dream jobs, it’s still important we figure out how to put the proper time into whatever that dream is.

We cannot go through everyday life neglecting what our purpose is. The demands of life are great, but the regret of a dream deferred is greater. There is too much time in the day to get it done. Our challenge is to figure it out.

Consider how many hours a week you devote to your day job. If it does not match what you put into your night job, then you have a problem.

Let your day job be a barometer to how much you invest into your dream. If you at least matching that effort, your life will change drastically. Trust.