Wana Udobang’s guide to balancing side and main hustles

Wana Udobang
Working in full-time employment helped in many ways - @MissWanaWana Click To Tweet

Wana Udobang is a producer and director of the documentaries; “Sensitive Skin” a documentary film about the skin condition Psoriasis; “Nylon” a short documentary on memory, trauma, and loss; and the documentaries-series “Warriors” exploring the lives of people with sickle cell disease. She also is the creator of the poetry series “Words and Inspirations” and the interview series “Culture Diaries”. Wana wrote and directed the web series “Room313” and the short film “Shrink”. She plays Visha in the award winning Burkinabe film “Frontiéres”.

Wana has worked with the BBC Radio4, BBC world service, 92.3 Inspiration FM and Resonance FM. Her work has appeared on Aljazeera, Guardian UK, Guardian Nigeria, Index on Censorship, and Brittle Paper. She graduated from the University for The Creative Arts with a first class degree in Journalism. Wana is creative director of WanaWana productions and hosts the television show Airtel Touching Lives.

Interested to know how this media lady keeps all her creative work in equilibrium, SLA contributor Anuli interviewed Wana for some insider tips.

I don’t think I ever saw myself as a celebrity and I still don’t. I have always focused on the work and that is what I continue to do Click To Tweet

Tell us how your journey began?

I wrote poetry as a teenager. It became a source of catharsis for me. I studied journalism at university and I always enjoyed cinema and documentary so I decided to try my hand at it as opposed to talking about it so much

You have been in employment before launching out to create your own niche. Would you say employment helped hone some, if not most of your skills?

Working in full-time employment helped in many ways. Whether it was pitching ideas or having a 360 view of how the media worked and of course the general discipline of managing your time.

On Air Personalities (OAP) in Nigeria are seen or celebrated as celebrities. How do you keep evolving and stay relevant?

I don’t think I ever saw myself as a celebrity and I still don’t. I have always focused on the work and that is what I continue to do. Make sure that my work is getting better, I learn more interesting ways to engage and connect with audiences but I think what drives me stays the same. Which is how I can tell powerful and meaningful stories that can make an impact.

While working as an OAP on Inspiration FM, where you also doing other gigs? Please tell us what they are.

I was mostly writing and performing poetry. So I was a columnist at NEXT newspapers, wrote for Bella Naija and other platforms. I was also hosting events and moderating panels and discussions at conferences.

Also, I worked with brands on marketing campaigns as an influencer. I did a bit of TV presenting but none of it was a conflict of interest to my full-time job

You currently host Airtel Touching Lives. Were you holding down a day job when this opportunity came? What would you say was the x-factor that made you the preferred choice to host this show?

Yes, I still worked on the radio whilst I shot both the first and second season. I really can’t tell you if there was anything special but I hope that my genuine interest, commitment and need to connect came through and fingers crossed that was something that stood out

So which of your roles or jobs would you say are main and side hustles?

I think hosting events are a side hustle but everything else is part and parcel of my career. I think when you see things as a side hustle then they become that.

I think when you see things as a side hustle then they become that - @MissWanaWana Click To Tweet

How do you give your all to your hustles and still deliver top quality work?

I don’t really approach anything as important from the other. I see it all as one entity with myself as project manager. This for me means that adequate planning, time management with expectations and deliverables go into everything that I do.

You just aired a Youtube Series called Warriors. Before that, you aired Culture Diaries and Room 313. Tell us about any challenges or obstacles in shooting these series and how you overcame them, please?

Money is the main obstacle. These projects have all been self-funded which means a lot of the time, you are pulling in favours so you have to work around other people’s time as they are helping you out. So you don’t have as much control as you would like because you are working around other people’s schedules and dependent on their goodwill.

Now, let’s talk finance. How have you been able to get your work (side and main hustles) out to the world without going bankrupt?

I really take advantage of the internet and social media. It has been quite revolutionary in helping to not just share my work but in building a community and audience for the work. And most of that takes my work than money. I literally live online.

Please share 3 quick rules in ensuring one stays on top of their hustles

I would say

  • Planning,
  • Time Management and
  • Create value (be the best at it)

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How to balance multiple jobs

Be honest with yourself and what you can and can’t handle Click To Tweet

These days, side hustles are the new hobbies and working more than one job is pretty much expected. Between paying off student loans and getting the rent check in on time, it’s no wonder more working class people leave their 9-5’s and clock in for a 5-9 right after.

Although working those long hours can be vigorous, it’s commendable. One trait that highly successful people share is that they’re persistent, meaning grind until your goals are reached by any means. Oprah didn’t become Oprah by showing up to work and then kicking her feet up afterward, so why should you?

Stick to a schedule

Since your time is now limited and especially precious, every minute counts. Staying on schedule will make your tasks flow more easily and relieve you of the stress of forgetting to complete something.

Although it seems obvious, keeping a calendar with your tasks detailed by day will be extremely helpful. Keep your calendar in a place where you are productive and visit often such as your desk.


If you’re busy at job 1 planning an annual fundraiser, it’s probably not the best time to pick up an extra shift at job 2. Be honest with yourself and what you can and can’t handle.

Staying on schedule will make your tasks flow more easily Click To Tweet

Be realistic with your time

Stretching yourself too thin isn’t beneficial if you work a full-time job and have clients to please for your personal business. Therefore, be realistic and don’t sacrifice sleep in the meantime.

Know when it’s time to throw in the towel

Letting something go doesn’t mean you quit, it means you’re changing strategy. When one job doesn’t fit your lifestyle don’t be afraid to move on.

Be honest with your employers

By not being upfront with your employers about other jobs, you welcome easy opportunities to cause a rift in the workplace. Chances are, after being open with your boss they’ll understand and be receptive to why you’re drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day.

Be realistic and don’t sacrifice sleep in the meantime Click To Tweet

How to plan a productive day with multiple hustles

Wake up on time

Every second counts when you’re attempting to balance multiple gigs. This means the snooze button is no longer an option. Set your day up where every moment is valuable.

Meditate/Set your intentions

Whether you do this in the morning or before you go to bed, it’s important to take time to centre yourself and stay focused in the midst of being busy.

There are several apps that make meditation easy whether you’re at home, on your lunch break, or on the train home. Both Simple Habit and Headspace provide users with free customizable opportunities to wind down with meditations ranging from 5 minutes to half an hour.

Make your lunch productive

Although it’s important to take a break during your lunch time, if your mind has been focused on multiple projects, take your lunch to hash out your thoughts or get some work done. Also, make sure you’re eating a healthy lunch that will give you energy.

Keep a notebook throughout your day

You know that thought that pops into your head about job 2 while your at job 1? The same thought you forget about once you actually get to job 2 and now it’s driving you crazy? Avoid the hustler haze and carry a notebook to write down your random thoughts throughout the day.

Instead of getting flustered with everything you need to get done, plan out each task one by one Click To Tweet

Schedule your post-work personal tasks

It can be overwhelming working several jobs and still having to be concerned with making dinner, washing your hair, or cleaning the bathroom. Instead of getting flustered with everything you need to get done, plan out each task one by one.

Wind down

Always take time to yourself. Whether it’s having a glass of wine, watching an episode of your favorite show, or taking a nice bath. It’s crucial to maintain your sanity and mental health while you’re busy.

Practice Gratitude

Writing down everything you’re thankful for will ground you and put everything in perspective especially if you’ve had a bad day. When you visualize what you’re grateful for you’re able to appreciate everything you have and stay motivated while you grind.

Get a good night’s sleep

You can only be so productive without a healthy amount of sleep. It’s a fact!

Effectively handling multiple jobs like a pro

Reading to be a professional job juggler? Here's how to balance your 9-5 and your hustles Click To Tweet

So you got the gig! You are excited because you are finally on your way to doing something you really love. You spend endless hours on your side gig all in the hopes of being successful.

But your job becomes a distraction and starts to keep you away from your hustle. How do you balance it all? Below are some of my tips for being a professional job juggler.

Develop a work routine

The biggest problem with holding multiple jobs especially if you already have a full-time job is falling into the trap of thinking you don’t have to work as hard as you would a regular job.

Sorry to burst your bubble but having a freelancing gig may mean working twice as hard just to get a little bit of success. Therefore, a work routine needs to be developed for your multiple jobs.

If you have set aside 3 days a week to work on your side hustle do it! Treat your gig just the way you treat your regular job. If you can’t imagine slacking on your regular job then you sure can’t slack on your side job.

If you can’t imagine slacking on your regular job then you sure can’t slack on your side job Click To Tweet

Talk to others

The good part about the year being 2017 is that plenty of people have lived in on this earth. Chances are there are plenty of people doing what you are doing right now.

Talk to other freelancers and pick their brains on issues that you may be having. Also just ask them general questions about how they operate. Learning from others will help you avoid the mistakes they made and save you a whole lot of time and money.

Be organized

Being organized doesn’t always have to mean you have a physical space to call an office for your business. In these times, few businesses have that. Regardless always make sure you have your business cards, company profile and pitch ready.

This will significantly reduce your turnaround time with potential clients. Getting even one potential client is a good feat for a gig so you don’t want to scare off any. Additionally, you always want to feel ready to conquer what’s thrown at you.

Being organized doesn’t mean you have a physical space to call an office for your business Click To Tweet

Take time for yourself

Seriously, take a break. When you feel overwhelmed by your multiple jobs it is okay to have a time out to just think. Watch your favourite 90s movie (cue in Pretty Woman), take a bath, go out for drinks, read a good book the list is pretty endless.

The goal is to rejuvenate yourself so you can focus on your work.

Create goals for yourself.

Look! Goals give you direction period. If you do not set goals for yourself and your work you are most likely going to get overwhelmed.

Additionally, you will be working but not adding impact. Every morning when you wake up ask yourself, “What single task can I do today that will take my business forward?” It’s all about creating purpose and everything will fall into place.


Celebrate every little milestone you achieve while working multiple jobs. You will automatically psyche your brain into doing more and before you know it you’ll be a master of your craft.