And Why We Need a Little Billy Ocean Right Now

As I write this, we are several weeks into self-isolation around the globe. The coronavirus pandemic has put the entire world into weirdsville. I almost never use the word collectively, but in this case it fits. Collectively, we are all feeling much of the same fears and anxieties, not to mention dealing with our own personal versions of isolation.

Right now we need to realize that whatever we’re feeling is cool. If we’re angry or anxious, we need to acknowledge that. If we’re feeling generally upbeat, we should allow that to happen without guilt. Our feelings are going to change throughout the day and over the course of the next few months. It’s part of being human and it’s totally normal that we feel what we feel.

Maybe you don’t want to feel angry or anxious. I sure don’t, but sometimes there it is. Hi there, feelings. Now go away, I’m trying to make a sandwich. 

Since we can’t just swipe left on our bad feelings, there are a few things we can do to get into a new set of feelings that we like better. Here are a few things I’ve been doing lately to change things around for myself:

Get Outside

Before March happened, I would run or walk in my neighborhood. It helps me think, relaxes me, and as a bonus my heart tubes won’t clog up like a sewer drain full of baby wipes. So I’ve continued my routine like nothing has changed. I don’t encounter anyone closer than twenty feet, so we’re all safe.

Seeing the sky, trees, dogs, and waving hello at neighbors has been a huge boost for my overall outlook. This morning there was a woman walking around our ‘hood with a giant steaming mug of something. Just walking. Drinking. Being alive. Sometimes that’s enough.

Get Creative

I know. Getting creative sounds awesome if you’re all happy and feeling it. If you feel like crap, how the hell is that supposed to magically happen?

For me, getting creative can mean doodling. Working on my Rubik’s Cube solve time (I’m under three minutes now). Folding paper into little cranes. Writing blog posts like this one. Working on my side gigs.

Maybe you can’t imagine getting into Picasso mode and pooping out a masterful painting right now, but that’s okay. Making a sandwich and getting artful with the mustard might just work fine.

Cook

Speaking of sandwiches (I think I’m hungry, are you getting that?), cooking can be a super mood lifter. My wife has been throwing herself into new sourdough creations and old savory standbys lately. It feeds her soul and we all benefit (which is also why I need to keep to my running schedule). 

You don’t have to whip up a masterchef-level meal. Just make something yummy and easy and put some love into it.

Connecting

I admit that I have never been a fan of the Facebook. I’ve hopped in and out over the years, mostly to admin my business page (because it’s a marketing sin not to have one). Personally, I hate getting caught up in the politics and, currently, the depressing news of the day.

Recently, I’ve changed my outlook on Facebook. I’ve purposefully set out to get on there and just connect with people, new friends and old. Commenting positively or with jokes (a lot of my comments are engineered to make beverages squirt out your nose) is one thing I can do that also helps others. I’ll DM connections just to say hi and ask how they’re doing. I scroll right past the negative posts and don’t spend any time on them (or at least I try, I don’t always win at that game). 

For the most part, connecting on social media and through email has been super positive these days. Just knowing that other people are out there, waving at each other online helps.

What Billy Ocean Said

The world is never going to be the same. When the pandemic is over, we are all going to be living in a new society with new ways of working and living. That’s not all bad. We’ll come out the other side stronger and hopefully more connected to each other.

One of my favorite mood-lifting songs is, not surprisingly, from 1985. It’s got motivation, a danceable beat and the video has three celebs as backup singers with killer moves. I double dog dare you to not get a little boost in your outlook.

“I’m gonna put this dream in motion, never let nothing stand in my way.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’m gonna get myself ‘cross the river, that’s the price I’m willing to pay.” – Billy Ocean, When the Going Gets Tough (the Tough Get Goin’)

The cool thing is, we don’t need to wait for a global pandemic to do any of this stuff. Any time we feel anxious or sad or just not feeling much at all, we have stuff we can try.

I wish you all the best during this time and after. If this post was helpful to you, please share it with friends. Also, come hang out with me on twitter.

Is it any wonder I’m not a criminal?

Is it any wonder I’m not in jail?

Is it any wonder I’ve got

Too much time on my hands?

– Styx

If only we all had the problem of too much time on our hands. Sitting around on barstools talkin’ like damn fools. Alas, few people can do that and still pay the bills.

So when you see all the beautiful people online talking about their side gigs and how they just bought their third yacht from their Google Ad revenue, it’s maddening.

Who has time to do something on the side when you’ve got a day job? Even when you’re off work, when exactly are you going to work on your thing? There’s dinner to make, pets to feed, maybe even kids to take care of, find toilet paper… so, when? After all that you just wanna slip into your comfies, open some wine and chill with your best friend Netflix.

I hear you. Many days end with me and my wife doing exactly that. Yet I still run a custom printing business and have more than a few side gigs. Hey, I don’t even have one yacht, so don’t look at me like that.

So how do I find the time?

Maybe you’ve read about this before and the advice inevitably comes down to something like “Make time.” Hmmm, pithy. Not exactly helpful.

Or maybe you saw yet another instagram meme shaming you about how you’re wasting time watching TV when you could be earning your yacht. Not helpful at all.

I’m not going to do that to you. Glib and pious don’t work here, I fired them from the band. What I am going to do is share some super cool tips that help me a lot. Do I always follow them to the letter? No, because I am human. I do my best, and you can, too.

Schedule It

One of the steps in my Start Me Up side gig starter is about scheduling time to work on your side gig. Yeah, I know. It sounds suspiciously like “Make time.” I wouldn’t do that to you. Here’s what I say in the program:

One of the most important things you can do is to set aside purposeful time for your thing. Like all the other steps you took to get here, it’s about making it clear to yourself and the world that you are actually doing something of importance.

If you try to multi-task this and work it into the chaos of your day, it will feel like fiddling around. Fiddling around doesn’t seem very important. Establishing a scheduled time does, and you will accomplish more if you take your time seriously.

There’s more, but essentially, you’re blocking out little time slots in your day where you only focus on your side gig. Even 15 minute chunks will get you moving ahead.

If you can spend 15 minutes on the toilet hiding from the kids and checking Facebook, you can do this.

Something you like to do

One of the things I’ve noticed that makes people feel like a side gig is going to be just more work is that they choose to do something that’s not a natural fit for them. They read about some online scheme like selling products on Amazon and they hate it. So they don’t do the work because it feels like a slog. Yay, more work. Sign me up.

When you choose something you love doing, that feeds your soul, you won’t have to force yourself to sit down and do the work. You’ll want to do it. And consequently, the money you earn from it will feel crazy good.

*disclaimer: I don’t really think that selling products on Amazon is a bad idea or a scam. It’s just not for everyone (it wasn’t for me). If that makes your heart sing, then go for it!

Stop Self-shaming

Okay, so this doesn’t magically add more time to your day, but it’s important. Listen, you already work hard. Don’t neglect your mental and physical health just for some extra cash. If you’re using your little carved-out chunks of time (like above), you’ll be fine. You can Netflix and chill without the guilt. Go ride bikes with your kids. Take that hike. Go to happy hour.

If you aren’t enjoying your life, what’s the extra cash going to be for, anyway?

These are just three quick tips to help you find time to work on your side gig. If you found them helpful, please share this post with friends.

If you want to dig deeper into creating your side gig, check out my free program on it . It walks you through step-by-step and it comes with a fillable PDF worksheet. Also, there are Rolling Stones references all over the place. Sign up