Home Career Taking back my evenings (after the hustle)

Taking back my evenings (after the hustle)

by Bethany

If you haven’t heard yet, I quit teaching. I am now a full-time freelancer. What you may not know is the complete insanity that was my life prior to this career transition. I wasn’t about to just quit a job with decent pay and benefits without something else in the works. So for eight months, I hustled.

The kind of hustle that makes your head hurt and your partner wonder why you’re so grumpy all the time. I was teaching full time and working on building a freelancing business full time. Two full-time jobs at one time.

What my day looked like during the hustle

My days looked something like this when I was hustling for eight months. They were in no way sustainable.

  • 4:30 am- Wake up, brush teeth, wash face, and feed the dog
  • 5:00 am – Make coffee and sit down to work. This was typically the time I made edits or completed writing assignments
  • 6:15 am- Chug the now cold coffee and go get dressed
  • 6:45 am- leave for work
  • 7:00 am- 3:30pm – Teach photography and graphic design
  • 3:45 pm- 4:30pm- Walk the dog or start laundry/a house chore
  • 4:30 pm- 5:30 pm- Go to a cycle class or yoga class then shower
  • 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm- Work on freelancing assignments, building my portfolio, guest posts etc.
  • 9:00 pm – 9:30 pm- Unwind if possible. Go to bed

Rinse and repeat. Leave the weekends for catch up work so that maybe during the week I could have one evening free.

I want to clarify that I am NOT complaining. This is the hustle after all. I put myself through every single one of these days. Thankfully Charles cooked for me so I didn’t starve and supported me by taking away my computer a few times when my eyes wouldn’t stop twitching.

I am also grateful for what this brought. I can now freelance full-time and make money from what I create. That was my mission: “Make money from what you create.” This is what it took to get there.

The hustle transition

Teaching ended on June 19th. The next day I flew out with my friend the French teacher and some of our students to France and Barcelona. As you can imagine, the pace of my life during the trip did not slow down. It was go-go from the moment the plane touched the runway in Paris. I returned home on June 29th.

Something was wrong.

My life suddenly and abruptly slowed down. It’s like I was running a never ending race, then I was put in a very small room. The change of pace was jarring for me.

If you have ever hustled, it can be addicting in a way. When things slow down, they feel very slow. To the point where I don’t even know what to do with myself. Shouldn’t I be writing or editing? My brain enters panic mode when it slowed down. I should be busy right?

This was the hardest part. Transitioning out of the hustle and back into a life that was sustainable. I needed to get back to enjoying life. Actually taking time to do things with my partner and our animals. Sitting down to read a book.

Most importantly I needed to take the time to fill my cup. It was beyond empty. It was bone dry. I didn’t even realize how much I had not dealt with during the hustle, both emotionally and physically.

So I challenged myself. The challenge was not to fill the space. I had an evening now. I intend to keep it free. Available to meet up with a friend for a chat. Available to leisurely take a bike ride or attend a cycle class. Available to cuddle with my partner and watch The Office.

What I want my days to look like now

I decided to create an ideal schedule. The most ideal so that I can still have routine and structure. I thrive on routine and structure, but I also happen to be efficient. Here is what my ideal day would look like:

  • 6:00 am – 7:00 am Wake up (naturally if possible)
  • 7:15 am 7:30 am – Make coffee and drink it while hot. Take the dog in the backyard if it’s nice and throw his ball
  • 7:30 am- 9:00 am – Get my more serious work done. This is the most productive period of the day for me. Use my checklist I created from the night before.
  • 9:00 am- 9:15am- Grab some toast or a light meal and change to workout
  • 9:30 am- 10:30 am Hit up a cycle class or yoga class
  • 10:30 am- 12:00 pm- Continue with work and check e-mails during this time
  • 12:00pm- 1:00 pm- Take a leisurely lunch
  • 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm- Complete the rest of my task list. Create a new one for tomorrow. Then close up shop.
  • 3:00pm on- leave the evenings free to be what they need to be. If I did have a deadline, of course, I would work into the evening. If I had a client meeting this would be the same. However, I am not intentionally filling the space as work time.

Maybe at some point, I won’t feel the need to plan it out. Maybe I will just let some days be as they will- but at the same time when I work from home, I need to have a routine in place to keep up with things. For now, I am focusing on my challenge of leaving space empty in the afternoons. I will update you all more as I progress.

I would love to hear from others who have left a side hustle or transitioned to part-time work. How did it go for you? Did you feel as jittery as me? Did you fill the space or leave it free?


EFI August 9, 2019 - 7:43 am

Your new schedule sounds great! I’m so glad you were able to make that transition – though of course I’m always sad when good teachers leave teaching. I love the open evening space in your schedule. The part I really crave is your note about waking up “naturally if possible.” That’s maybe my biggest dream in life – to be in a space where I just wake up when I feel like it!

Best of luck on the freelancing. I’m a huge fan of your work!

Bethany August 9, 2019 - 8:49 am

Thank you so much for your support! I have certainly left room to come back to teaching at some point, as I’m passionate about education. I just now started waking up naturally at 6:30 exactly each day. It feels great! Especially compared to the 4:30 am wake up calls before. 🙂

Shin August 9, 2019 - 9:56 am

That is crazy you used to wake up at 4:30am – sounds so painful! The earliest I can do is 7 haha. Btw I have question if you don’t mind – I’m also trying to become a freelancer later on, interested on how you battle the loneliness that comes with it? Thanks! ?

Bethany August 11, 2019 - 9:16 am

It was crazy. Not about that life right now.
I haven’t actually figured out the loneliness part. I’m pretty comfortable just being with myself, but I’m an extrovert. I’m finding I need some social built in. Cycle and yoga are talking type of classes. I have considered finding a part-time creative job for a few hours a week to be able to be more social (at the same time, I don’t want to fill all my space.) I’ll keep you updated. 🙂 Thanks for reading!


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