Bit of a basic question but does anyone have any tips to find a balance between full-time work (I work in retail) VS personal design time?

I don't want to give all my energy away to the retail job although I'm still fairly new there!


  • Depends on so many factors, for me what works (but I have a child) is to get up super early and work on it. I am very flexible with it, I might set myself alarm to get up at 4.30am/5am (work on it until toddler wakes up 7.30am) for maybe let's say 2 weeks. Then recharge and not work as much on it. Having breaks from it is important if working in this way, it can be intense. Then do it again for another ammount of set time. I think I learnt not to beat myself up about it if I don't stick to it. Or if other things get in the way or take priority (no need to burn out).

    I guess you probably work weekends sometimes so weekends are not always an option right? Just fit it in when you can according to your work schedule. What I suggested above is about 3 hours worth of work. Another way is to do it in your commute?

    It's hard work but it can be very fufilling.

    PS: What I said can be the other way round, it can be evenings and late nights (figure out when you're most productive and go with that – I discovered I am an early bird).

    Hope it makes sense.
  • @Chantelle Tuddao-Sinel we worked on the same project they we’re small, what happened is she got hired by the Design industry, I got left behind so I went freelance, sometimes I’ll go back to PT work or other methods for income.
  • @Luke Freeman Oh dear, I appreciate you sharing the painful experience! Hopefully as I begin to get used to working I can figure out suitable times to work on creative things :) That's interesting to hear about the method with your ex-design partner, did you both work on the same project or different ones? How did you find it?
  • @Alexandra (Lex) Hearth Thank you sooo much for your wisdom! It's reassuring to hear, I especially like your mindset of "variety in life" versus the typical "work-life balance" which, when I read your advice, makes me think that that balance is difficult to find so why not look at it in a more positive way? :D Happy Friday!
  • I used to take my MacBook and do retail at the same time, then I got fired. There will be many 3 am, if you plan do so you will have to work on weekends.

    It really depends on the project of work your doing as a Grpahic Designer, if your working with an agency and your on a campaign or pitch it wont work the hours would conflict unless you done it in the evening “late night pitch”.

    There was a method I and my ex design partner did, we would both work in retail Part Time when one wasn’t working in retail one would do the design work.

  • Hey Chantelle - not a basic question at all, it's a modern day challenge! I've been growing creative projects outside of full-time work for about 5years now and a few things which have helped me manage:
    - Variety over balance (you have to use a lot of your would-be social/chill time to further your ideas so I like to think of it as variety in my life rather than work-life)
    - Commitment to your creative time - make it a priority
    - Guilt free - don't feel guilty about wanting to work on other things alongside work, if you have the desire to do it then it's part of your identity
    - Morning's pre-9am and Sundays (these are my time when I know I can work away on my things without it impacting full-time work. Imagine the hours are different in retail but think about what those are)
    Really like what Josh said about getting ideas down when they come - and keeping the stress/intensity out of it :-) Hope that helps, Lex x
  • If its just personal work, I find just doing thumbnails & small sketches, just to get the idea down, is good enough .. Then, the task of making a proper piece for the portfolio becomes less of a worry, and do all this over a set time e.g. a cup of tea.

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