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Hi, my name is Kateri. I have lived in the Greater Los Angeles area for eight years. I love traveling. I adore poodles. I like trying new restaurants. I work as a freelance writer/reporter and as a freelance event specialist.

Most importantly, I have a full time job working as a technical writer.

Working it

When I tell people all of my jobs, I have heard the common discriminators:

  • You are such a workaholic!
  • Do you even have any friends?
  • When do you make time for yourself? [Insert sad face emoji.]

Or the only positive one I have heard: Wow, you are such a hard worker!

Here’s the reality: although the gig economy is the hot thing to now do, I still believe in having a full-time job. I live in a region where although there is a ton of creative opportunity, it is expensive, and I am thankful and lucky to have a full-time job that goes towards my bills/expenses, HSA, and 401K. All of my freelance money goes into my IRA accounts or savings. I made my choice to live here, and this is the only logical way that I can get ahead. I refuse to go broke living in California.

In today’s world, I personally don’t think that you can just live off of one source of income, let alone the gig economy. For those of you that can, my hat goes off to you and I have mad respect. I feel that having a full-time job with benefits is a security net for me, because the problem with freelancing is that you are not always guaranteed the gig. With freelancing, I win some and lose some. I am fortunate that not only do I have a full-time job that I love, but I also get to freelance!

The balancing act

My life is a balancing act where I am juggling so many different factors, and I am always craving more time in the day. Here are some tips on how to stay sane freelancing while working a full time job:

Remember that the full-time job comes first

It is what pays the bills and also saves for retirement. Those eight hours a day have to be strictly dedicated to it. On my lunch break, I might sneak in a call or go to a coffee shop and do an interview, then later after work I’ll go home and type up the story.

Take on only what you can handle

Some weeks can be heavier than others. I try and work efficiently and ahead of deadlines as much as I can. Take a breather and don’t put that stress and pressure on yourself. If you feel stressed, do something that calms you. For me, I enjoy walking or taking a drive somewhere.

Eat healthy

It’s easy to head to McDonald’s and go through the drive-thru, but it’s important to maintain a healthy diet despite how busy my schedule may get. I always browse for healthy recipes to make on Pinterest, whether it’s a salad or a low-carb version of lasagna where zucchini is the noodle.

Exercise

I always go to the gym a few times a week in the evening after work. Between cardio and lifting, I spend maybe a little over an hour at the gym. Your body is important, keep it fit!

Get enough sleep

I don’t work around the clock, but I always aim for 8 to 10 hours a night of good, solid sleep. I need my brain to be sharp the next day and I don’t want to be dragging. I’m usually up at 7 a.m. and in bed by 10 p.m.

Get out of town

I always travel a few times a year to different destinations, mostly those in nature because it provides calmness and serenity from the busy world of Los Angeles. It’s important to embrace culture and discover the other wonders of the world.

Make time for family and friends

This is my answer to yes, I do have a life. My friends and family are my greatest support system and they understand what I am trying to accomplish. I see my friends at least once a week so that I can share some good laughs and make memories. During the week I will Facebook message them and check up to see how they are doing. My parents live in Florida, so I make at least 30 minutes to talk to them on the phone a few times a week.

Love and be proud of yourself

The most important factor in all of this is you. Embrace the gifts this life has given you and know that you are loved. Give yourself a hug. Somehow, it always pays off in the end.

Kateri Wozny is an award-winning freelance journalist based in the Greater Los Angeles area. Her work has appeared in national outlets and Southern California publications. She is also the owner and blogger of SoCal Shuffle, a California lifestyle blog.