I know this phrase is like hearing nails on a chalkboard to some of you, BUT I have genuinely received this question more than any other question in the past year:
“How do you manage both your full-time job as an attorney and your Instagram/blog?!”
First, I want you to know that I treat my Instagram and blog as an actual business and full-time job because I’m earning income (finally) & I put about 35–50 hours a week into that business, on top of an average of 1,950–2,000 billable hours a year at the firm.
It has taken me a LONG time to write this post, simply because I don’t have a magic answer for you. I am still out here struggling, trying to get through each day myself, so please~ Take what you read here with a grain of salt & know that each of us is different, in the way that we create goals, spot issues, set tasks, overcome setbacks, and accomplish things throughout our days.
Since success looks different to each of us, I’d like to give you some context before we start. When I was growing up, “success” was almost always about pleasing my parents or impressing other people, but thankfully, for the past few years, my ideas have shifted & I strongly stand behind the fact that success is 1,000% about my own happiness and what I want to do with my life.
With that being said, here are some tools that have helped me achieve some sort of semblance of success at managing both my full-time job as a corporate attorney and my side hustle turned full-time job of running my own business here & over on Instagram.
This is by far the #1 most important thing for me. To say that I am passionate about fashion, styling outfits and photo shoots, and creating content, barely scratches the surface of how I live & breathe it. I have been wanting to do this for 10+ years (literally) and now that I have finally taken the dive, most days, I am physically unable to turn off the content creator in me.
Everywhere I go, I am observing colors, noting shoot locations, taking test shots; basically every waking moment outside of being a lawyer, I am brainstorming outfit ideas, researching trends, planning my feed, and collaborating with brands. NONE of this would be possible or even manufacturable if I didn’t absolutely freakin’ love it. No amount of money in the world could force me to put this much time and effort into two full-time jobs.
Now, for the more concrete stuff~
Calendar blocking is basically scheduling a block of time on your calendar for every single thing you do, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed. Ideally, this means that your entire day/week is blocked out~ with things you have to get done, appointments, events, meetings, when you eat, when you sleep, when you want to binge Netflix, etc.
If you’re not used to this or have never done it, I know, this sounds a bit restrictive & neurotic, but I promise, it’s not. It is by far one of the most helpful things I have ever implemented into my daily life. (In case you want to see this in action, I will be following up this post with a second post showing you my typical day fully calendar blocked.)
I use both physical & electronic calendars, but for calendar blocking specifically (watch Amy Landino’s YouTube video for a how-to), I use Google Calendar. I love paper planners and bullet journaling, but I’ve found that with calendar blocking, being able to edit the blocks as often as I need to is much easier & less stressful than a bunch of paper scribbles & white-out.
My Google Calendar is where I put EVERYTHING – my legal work, my Instagram, and my personal life. I like to plan in about a month to a month and a half increments.
I am the type of person that needs to write everything down. If I don’t physically write it down or type it out (into my iPhone notes usually), there is a 99% chance it will not get done. In an ideal world, everything that is on my to-do list will also be calendar blocked, but that takes some real discipline and I’d say I’m about 85% there (after about a year of practice).
*To sum TIME MANAGEMENT up for you~ If there is something you have decided is important for you to get done, you must do 2 things to accomplish it: (1) schedule a set time to do it; and (2) pre-determine how long you will need to finish it. Hence: CALENDAR BLOCKING.
Sundays are for Planning
Sundays are my favorite day. They are usually my only day a week where I try not to schedule any appointments, meetings, deadlines, or events. I leave them open to spend time with friends & family or to catch up on housework, but I try not to calendar block this one day a week. This gives me some breathing room and helps significantly with stress.
But, at some point throughout the day, I make sure to sit down and plan and/or review my week to come (this usually takes less than an hour). I like doing this at night when I’m winding down. By this point, I have some meetings and deadlines already on my calendar, so I review those, then plan around them. I also like to take this time to review all my Instagram collaboration deadlines to make sure I have content ready to go and/or to schedule extra time to shoot more content.
Monday–Fridays are for Clients
As an attorney, I am available to my clients 24/7; however, I do my best to not take this work home with me on the weekends. So, I devote Monday through Fridays to client meetings and getting sh*t done at the office. It helps me to compartmentalize my “day job”; still, every morning, before I go to work, and every night when I get home from work, I am spending at least 5–7 hours a day on my Instagram and blog.
Saturdays are for Creating Content
I used to try to get a pic of my outfits every day before I went to work and that got way too overwhelming, so instead, I now devote most Saturdays to creating content. My current goal is to shoot 3–4 outfits at a time.
This is another one, like PASSION above, that is crucial to my success. Trust me – not everyone will “get it” and you will lose some friends (and those who were never your friends) along the way. This happens to the best of us, especially if your side hustle is similar to mine. People don’t understand why you would rather spend 50 hours a week on “taking selfies” or interacting with “strangers” from around the world, especially when you start to choose working on your side hustle over everything else.
My support system is small but mighty – I’ve got my husband, my parents, and a handful of friends – and every single one of them is as supportive as they come. I’m talking “listening to every detail of my photo shoot ideas/crazy excitement over how one photo turned out/looks at 20 versions of the same photo and helps me pick/just signed a new brand contract so let’s celebrate/lays down on the ground to take photos of me everywhere we go” kind of supportive.
*My best tip here is to be cutthroat. If they don’t support you or inspire you, and if they tear you down, cut them from your team as soon as possible, then MOVE. ON. ‘Cause we ain’t got time for that~!
Consistency is easy when everything is going well; but what will really set you apart from the rest is being consistent when nothing is going the way you planned.
For example, let’s say one week I’m feeling off & not as passionate about creating content, or I have several crazy deadlines at the office, and on top of that, my friends aren’t being as supportive and none of my photos are turning out the way I wanted them to… I know myself and I know that those times will come, for whatever reason, so I pre-plan for them. At this point, I have about 2-3 weeks’ worth of content shot, edited, scheduled, and ready to go. It has taken me about a year to be able to get to this point, but the amount of stress and overwhelm it saves me is invaluable.
If you made it this far, you da real MVP. I hope these tidbits are helpful. This was a lot to pack into one post, so please feel free to send me any questions or comments, or shoot me a DM if you have any tips of your own & keep your eye out for my follow-up post detailing my typical day!