In a recent post on my blog Also Known As Anuli entitled, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” I revealed that in addition to my full-time job in public relations I have two other jobs, or “side-hustles.” The lovely Chasity asked me to write a guest-post about how I discovered my side-hustles and I happily obliged.
Work-life balance is a topic of popular discussion these days. As is the debate on whether women can “have it all.” Unfortunately (or fortunately) for you, this piece is not about either of those topics. This piece is about curiosity and letting your curiosities guide you.
The idiom, “curiosity killed the cat,” is often used as a warning to deter someone from acting “excessively curious” because their curiosity can put them in danger. Maybe the idiom somehow ties into the myth that “cats have nine lives.” Cats are known for their reflexes and agility allowing them to escape from sticky situations.
I think whoever coined the phrase; “curiosity killed the cat” had it all wrong. I think it was curiosity that made the cat born-again. Cats aren’t afraid to do what feels right to them. And, following their curiosities leads them on new paths or lives.
If you get anything out of this seemingly far-fetched analogy or blog post understand that you shouldn’t feel afraid to be curious.
I owe many of my life’s wins (and “fails”) to my curiosity. Every job I have ever gotten came as a result of me thinking, “What if?”
This kind of thinking got me my first job at the age of 15 at an aviation museum. I knew nothing about aviation, but I thought it would be neat to learn more. I worked at that museum for six years thanks to my seedling of curiosity.
It was curiosity that led me to apply for my current full-time job at Edelman PR.
I saw a flyer about the open position during the first semester of my senior year in college and thought to myself, “I’m not a PR major, but what if I applied for this position?” Tomorrow I will be celebrating my one-year anniversary at Edelman PR.
Curiosity also led me to get a part-time job as a sales associate at a super-cool stationary shop called GREER Chicago. I used to walk past the shop Tuesday evenings while on my way to a class I took at Chicago’s Second City theatre. The store always had the neatest window displays.
One day I finally went into the store I had walked past so many nights. There I struck up a conversation with a delightful woman who turned out to be the owner of the shop, Chandra. Before I knew it, I was asking her whether I could work there even just once a month. I don’t believe they were hiring at the time, but I felt such a strong kinship to Chandra and the store that I just wanted to spend more time there.
Curiosity also led me to my other “side-hustle” as a freelance writer. I used to write a lot and then I just stopped. Maybe I settled in too much into the post-grad life where beyond work projects I didn’t owe anything to anyone. I’m talking in regards to assignments and deadlines like I had in school. I went from writing articles at least weekly for school assignments and daily for work assignments at my internship, to barely writing monthly posts on my personal blog. I was in a definite funk for a while.
But, I was reading other blogs. One of which was Brit + Co. I wanted to get back into the groove of writing on deadline, so I thought, “Hey, what if I wrote for them?” So, I applied for a position as a Freelance Editor. I bet you want to know how in the world I manage to do all of these things. I suppose that is the point of this blog post.
Well, here are three things I do to feed my curiosities while managing my time:
1. Make Lists: I LOVE lists. They keep me organized. And, a person with as many interests as me needs to stay organized. My most vital list is a list I call, “Everything I Do Has To.” I use this list to help me make decisions on whether or not to pursue something I’m interested in. This top-ten list helps keep myself in check because otherwise I would stretch myself out thin with commitments. If the item checks at least 8 out of 10 things on my list then I make sure to really consider it. Here’s an example of an item on my list: “Everything I do has to: not feel monotonous or boring.” My personality type dislikes tedious tasks, so I wouldn’t commit to something that made me do something tedious or overtly detailed.
2. Understand When I Work Best: Although it can be hard for me to get up in the morning I know that I work best in the morning. My creative juices (especially in regards to writing) are at an all-time high in the morning and kind of dwindle down throughout the day. I try to wake up every morning around 5:00 a.m. (sometimes earlier because I’m crazy) to read and write before my full-time job. This time is usually when I write posts I have on deadline for Brit + Co or posts like this one.
3. Keep a Visual Schedule: I keep a journal and/or planner within five feet of myself at all times in case an idea for a new article or blog post (I’ve been blogging more regularly now) comes to mind. I enjoy the physical act of writing things down and believe they help me remember things better. Keeping a calendar also helps me prioritize my time. Busyness is the ultimate “humblebrag,” but if you keep a schedule it is easy to see where you can fit in time to pursue a passion or curiosity. In fact, you may not be as busy as you think you are. I mean you did have time to watch Season 3 of “Orange is the New Black,” right?
One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Edison, “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” I don’t believe in limiting myself to just one life. I’d rather be agile like a cat. My “side-hustles” allow me to live multiple lives at once. Why wait for life to grant you with your “big break?” You have the free reign to go after what you want or at the very least what you think you may want. Even if curiosity did kill the cat at least the cat found out the answer to “What if?” Don’t leave this earth without finding out where “What if” could have led. Hustle.
Anuli is an Enrichment Assistant Account Executive at Edelman Chicago. Visit her personal website, Also Known as Anuli, for her thoughts on life as a twenty-something, technology, pop-culture and more.