Playing Magic as a supplemental form of income is quite different from other occupations. To those unfamiliar with the idea, it seems hard to believe that you can make money playing a card game that isn’t poker. When I’m put to the task of explaining what I do, I generally end the conversation with this: “I basically work two jobs.”

While that statement is far from painting the whole picture, it captures a bit of truth. To be a grinder and content creator while working a full-time job, you have to carefully manage your time. How do you do it? Let me share my approach.

Below, I break down the way I typically manage my time by providing insight into what a tournament week looks like for me. Along the way, I’ll discuss some time-management strategies I employ. Hopefully they can help you be more effective as well, even if grinding Magic isn’t your goal.

A Typical Tournament Week

This is a snapshot of what an average tournament week looks like for me.

A couple things stand out here.

First of all, I have a 45 minute commute to work everyday. It is quite unfortunate and takes a relevant chunk of time out of my week. That does not mean the time is totally sunk, however! I do things such as listening to podcasts and streams daily during this period. It’s a good way to use that time that would otherwise simply be sunk to further my preparation for the next Magic tournament.

Building on that, my schedule is jam-packed. There is very little “extra” time. Most of my days from wake up (8am) to bed time (11pm) are already allocated to specific activities. Some days I stay up later to meet some goals or take some time to myself. But I generally do my best to get a healthy amount of sleep each night.

Tournament weeks are still stressful and can be overwhelming at times. I am proud that, despite this, I am able to accomplish everything I need to get done on weeks where the majority of my weekend is already booked. The way to do this is implementing some key time management strategies.

Be Motivated

Motivation is where it all starts. This is definitely something I see many people struggle with. You must be independently motivated towards your goals or you will find yourself burning out at an accelerated pace. If you find yourself struggling with motivation, I recommend considering why that is, and taking steps to adjust. If it is because you don’t care about what you are doing, then perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it!

Be Purposeful

This principle is similar to being motivated and staying focused. During your various preparatory activities, you must not only perform to the best of your ability but also within your available time. If you end up running behind, your entire day gets shifted back and you inevitably end up losing sleep. This is something I have struggled with on numerous occasions since I am easily distracted. Being purposeful should mostly come natural towards goals you are motivated to reach, but since distraction is common for me, I figured it was worth mentioning. Reducing as much distraction and context switching as you can in each aspect of your life will go a long way towards helping you be more purposeful. This includes limiting social media time!


I can’t stress this enough. It is one of the defining things that highly effective people do better than everyone else. Set your priorities. If your seek to getting better at Magic, then a majority of your day should contribute to accomplishing that goal! If your priority is getting in becoming more physically fit, then you must allocate a high amount of your time to meal planning, stretching, exercise, etc.

If you do a good job prioritizing your life, your days should be filled with activities that move you towards your top goals. When you care about what your are doing, it becomes it easier to be motivated and purposeful while doing them.

Self-Care Is Critical

It is important not to let working towards your goals slip into a life-dictating obsession. When working towards a goal like getting better at Magic, you have the capability to spend nearly endless hours doing things you think will help you get better, like testing decks. There are diminishing returns when working obsessively at something however, and at some point you begin to hinder your progress rather than further it.

This is where self care is extremely important. I make time to go to the gym every day for this exact reason. During weeks when I don’t have tournaments, I often spend a lot of time doing leisure activities unrelated to Magic as well. Whatever it is you find helps you destress and recenter, you should make time for. It is common to feel guilty taking time care for yourself, but it is important that you do so. You set yourself up to succeed by taking care of yourself and your body.

Sleep factors into self care as well. If you are sleep deprived, you are not going to perform your best no matter what your actual goals are—Magic or otherwise. Most healthy adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function at their best. Make time for it! If you have issues sleeping, do what you can to mitigate obstacles and get as much sleep as you can.

Use Idle Time

Using idle time basically boils down to multitasking. The obvious example here is my commute to work. Having a 45-minute drive to and from work every day certainly isn’t ideal, but that doesn’t stop me from having an opportunity to improve at Magic. Podcasts are perfectly suited for this drive, and being able to consume content during that idle time helps pass the time while furthering my goals. While cooking you can throw a stream on your phone and watch. There are always small ways like this that you can get more out of your idle time and there is very little downside to taking advantage of it.

Pursue Happiness

Finally, something that appears obvious at first. Pursue happiness. But I have seen enough people struggle with this to warrant discussing it here. Many people choose to pursue something they think will make them happy, usually because it makes others happy; but no matter how much time they put in, they are never happy.

It can be hard to recognize when you are caught in this trap. This is especially true for activities that lend themselves to continuous grinding, like Magic. Many times you end up believing you aren’t happy because you just haven’t reached your goals yet.

If you are miserable in the pursuit of your goals, then it is likely you are not going to be happy after achieving your goals. Pursue what makes you happy. The more time you spend each day pursuing things that make you happy, the happier you are going to be. Once again, all of it seems like common sense; but it is an important strategy for being effective in your time management.

That’s it! Much of the things written here are easier said than done, but they are strategies that are imperative for effective time management. I am not always as effective with my time as I could be, but it is almost always because I fail at one or more of the strategies listed above. Working full time and pursuing Magic “full time” certainly wouldn’t be possible if I did not use my time effectively. Even if Magic is not your goal, I hope that you are able to feel more confident in approaching time management for whatever large workloads you have on your schedule! Thanks for reading!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.