Eat, sleep, study, and work.
A never ending cycle of doing what you have to do and not what you want to do. This is how I felt the moment I started working on multiple on-call part-time jobs. I never even realized it until one of my friends asked me on the progress of my personal projects, where I had to admit that I was nowhere near finishing them. I felt bad as I questioned myself once again—what is it that I want to do and accomplish? Taking a moment to think, it made me re-evaluate my priorities—as well as my schedule and time management.
It’s good to have a set of priorities especially when it comes to work experiences and academic standings. It can help land you your dream job and get you that payday you’ve been aiming for. But then this is where I start pouring out all those cliché “All work and no play” quotes.
As an artist, there’s a certain feeling of accomplishment when you finish and submit commissioned works with the approval of your client. Aside from the sweet taste of the monetary payment, there’s a sense of confirmation that you’re on the right track, you’re doing what you enjoy and do best, and people are actually acknowledging your skills. As fulfilling as some projects can be, however, the truth is and will always be that the freedom to fully express yourself can sometimes be stifled by a client’s tastes and brief—and this can be unhealthy.
You are not a full-time slave to your job—at least, you shouldn’t be; you have your own aesthetics and preferences that also need to be answered. That’s why we have personal projects—outputs that we create out of interest. They’re works that we don’t expect to be paid for, but we still pour our entire being into them because it makes us happy to create something we can proudly claim as our own. They’re outputs that we wish to share to the world for our own reasons. It could be for gaining fame, connections, or even just to improve oneself.
Personal projects can come in different forms. We all have our own set of talents and hobbies that we can maximize. Those like me enjoy illustrating and creating characters, while there are people who find satisfaction in writing and reading, while there are others still who express themselves through sports, music, and other activities. It doesn’t matter so long as you get to create and do something you love without someone breathing down your neck all the time.
Always get yourself some down time and use it wisely. Don’t spend whatever free time you have on the internet (unless you see a future there where you can share your craft) because the next thing you know, it’s already one in the morning and you’ll be going back to work in just a few hours. I’m pretty sure you’ve all been there and done that, because I sure have and I’ve regretted it every time. Your personal projects and goals are just as important as your work and studies. It’s the time to be you, to build up that personal portfolio and branding. You’d be surprised how important those are as well when looking for a job, and also the wonders it does for your self-esteem.
So keep improving yourself. Eat, sleep, study, and create.