You’ve had a brilliant idea for a business for some time now. It keeps nagging at you so much that you finally decide to take the leap and pursue it. The thing is — you can’t leave your full-time job just yet. After all, you have bills to pay and you’re still in the early stages of your business. Finding time for your side hustle can be hard.
Yes, you have stuck with your nine to five — despite everything…
You’ve been working your nine to five job and spending time with your family. There has been maintaining a social life, and taking care of your health. But now — how can you squeeze in the time to work at your side hustle?
Here are 13 ways to bust your butt and make that side hustle pay off.
1. Get up earlier (or stay up later).
Yes — sleep is important. But, let’s say that you sleep eight hours every night. If you wake-up one hour earlier or stay-up an hour later — you’re still getting seven hours of sleep. Of course, eight hours is optimal — but studies have shown that seven hours of sleep are enough hours to remain productive.
You can then use that extra hour to work on your side hustle — or attend to administrative tasks like cleaning out your inbox or invoicing.
Best of all, when your up when no one else has awakened yet — you won’t be interrupted. Let’s say you wake-up at five am. The kids are still asleep. You aren’t receiving texts from friends. There aren’t any work-related emails or IMs started yet. Without these distractions, you can devote 100 percent of your focus to your side hustle.
2. Talk to your boss.
This can get a bit tricky. On the one hand — if your boss knows that you’re pursuing a side hustle — they may not be all that thrilled. The reason? It’s a sign that you’re moving on — or at least strong enough to have your own mind. Until you officially give your two weeks notice — your boss may believe that you’re just dabbling or a “phone-in.”
Is your side-gig a competition?
As long as your side gig isn’t conflicting with your full-time job and you’re still crushing it at work — you shouldn’t be afraid to let your boss know.
How fast do you make decisions?
You can even let your boss know that having a side job is making you more confident. Side hustles can help many people make big decisions quicker and with better precision. A side hustle can improve your communication skills — and can teach you how to better manage your time. Your side hustle is making you feel more fulfilled, productive and happier.
If you can bounce ideas off your boss — that gives you the huge benefit of a mentor. Really — who better?
If you’ve sold your boss on your idea — then you can ask them a lot of questions about how they made it in business.
Lie-back and slack-off your nine to five. NOT!
Does this mean your boss will give you a lighter workload or additional time-off? Definitely not. But, they may consider letting you work from home once of twice a week so that you can avoid a two hour commute. They may also let you come into work an hour earlier and leave an hour earlier so that you don’t have to sit in traffic.
3. Lump tasks together.
This process is also known as batching. It’s an incredibly simple way to get more stuff done since it keeps you from multitasking. It also provides more structure to your life and your work.
The concept or batching is that you work on similar tasks at the same time. Instead of checking your emails every time you receive a notification — you respond to emails and clean out your inbox at specific points throughout the day. Instead of cooking and cleaning pots and pans every night — maybe you would consider making one huge meal or two — and eating that food and leftovers throughout the week.
[Related: How Do Entrepreneurs make a Difference?]
4. Use the right tools.
There are plenty of tools available that can essentially put your side business on autopilot. For example, Calendar makes scheduling a breeze. You just share your availability and the other party picks a time when they’re fee. The chosen event is then added to everyone’s calendar automatically.
There’s also tools like Co-Schedule, Hoosuite, IFTT, and QUUU that can manage your social media channels so well that it appears that you’ve been active on them all day. Mail Chimp can handle your email marketing. Shapr can help connect you with like-minded people. And, Legal Zoom and Quick Books can assist you with my accounting and legal needs.
At the same time, there are plenty of tasks that require a human touch, such as responding to social media comments or building your website. Instead of trying to do everything on your own, outsource these tasks.
You can use sites like UpWork, 99Designs, or Fiverr to find people to build your site, manage your social channels, edit your podcast, or organize your books. You might also consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle administrative tasks, create content for your website, or even conduct research for you.
6. Examine your habits.
“When it feels like your side hustle takes too much time, perhaps you’re simply not using time well,” writes Kayla Sloan in another Calendar article. “Try to examine your habits to see if there are ways you can save time.”
Start a log.
Simply write down the date and begin and end times for your activities. This lets you know where you’re wasting time and when you’re most productive.
Identify bad habits.
If you spend two hours a day watching TV or scrolling through Facebook, you want to cut back that time and spend it on something more meaningful.
This way you’re prepared and can easily locate items when you need them.
Look for shortcuts.
Keyboard shortcuts, for example, can help you get the most out of the apps and software that you use.
This means doing things in a certain order so that they become second nature. For example, if you’re most productive in the morning, then that’s when you should work on your most important tasks.
7. Redeem lost time.
Examples of “lost” time include:
- Your daily commute — either sitting in traffic or riding public transportation.
- Sitting in a waiting room during a doctor’s appointment.
- Waiting in the car to pick up your spouse or kids.
- Sitting in a restaurant waiting for your lunch appointment to arrive.
Instead of just sitting there and doing nothing, start redeeming this time by:
- Reading a book
- Listening to a podcast
- Reviewing your to-do-list and calendar
- Jotting down notes and ideas in your journal
- Returning emails or phone calls
The idea is that you’re now using this wasted time more productively.
8. Work on your side hustle at lunch.
I’m not a fan of working throughout my lunch break. I’d rather spend them time unplugging so that I have enough energize to power through the rest of the day. Plus, I think it’s kind of gross eating and then getting your dirty fingers all over my workspace.
But, I digress.
The fact is, there may be times when you need to work on your side hustle during lunch. You could do anything from answering emails and phone calls to checking in on your social media to brainstorming ideas. Just remember to actually take eat so that you can refuel!
9. Chunk your time with block scheduling.
“If you can divide your time into distinctive chunks, you will be able to finish similar tasks at the same time. That can help you get better and quicker results,” writes Choncé Maddox in a previous Calendar article. “If you haven’t tried block scheduling yet, you might want to consider it. Instead of working off a to-do list, you’ll focus on using different time blocks throughout the day to work on what you can.”
For example, Choncé suggests that you “set aside a specific day to respond to all your emails and a different one to create posts for your social media pages.
With one group of tasks at a time, you will be more efficient and productive, all at the same time.”
You can apply this concept to both your day job and your side hustle so that you’ll be more productive at both.
10. Make appointments.
What I mean by this is scheduling time in your calendar to actually work at your side gig. It’s just like if you had a meeting or doctors appointment. By blocking out this specific time, you’re making the commitment to focus only on your side hustle.
This may be tough. But, you could make an appointment for “Hustle Night” where you schedule from seven pm to ten pm to completely focus on your side gig and nothing else. This should be more than responding to emails. It should be spent on tasks that will grow your side business.
11. Get most out of your weekends.
I know that you don’t want to spend your weekends working. After all, it should be a time to relax and unwind. The thing is, until your side hustle takes-off, you’re going to have to temporarily sacrifice your weekends.
Take Sundays, for example. Get up early, as opposed to sleeping the day away. This way you can do any chores, indulge in a little self-care, and prepare for the upcoming week.
Better week and weekend planning.
I’m a big fan of laying out my clothes for the week, as well as prepping all of my meals. This way I don’t have to waste time trying to figure out what I’m going to wear and eat each day.
12. Take your unused vacation time.
According to a report published by Glassdoor, only 23 percent of Americans use all of their paid time off. The average employee actually forfeits half of their earned vacation or paid time off.
Instead of not using this time-off, which you’ve earned, use those days to work on your side hustle. So, let’s say that you’ve 15 days of paid vacation. You could use two days here and four days there throughout the year to spend solely on your side gig.
13. Learn how to say “no.”
Here’s the problem with saying “yes” to every request and appointment; it takes away time from your priorities.
This may sound cold-hearted. If you commit to every social obligation on the weekends, — then you won’t have time to just work on your side gig. Plus — with an extra side-gig, the chores add up a little more and you will need to have time to do those — plus — catch your breath.
If you’re constantly helping your co-workers with their work, then when are you going to have time to get your work done? If you’re a freelancing on the side, for example, and can’t handle any more new clients — then don’t accept any more.
PsychCentral has put together some useful tips on how you can start saying “no.”
Keep your response firm, but direct.
For example, if you get invited to a party, simply respond with something on the lines of, “Thanks for the invite, but I’m working this weekend.”
Buy yourself some time.
You don’t have to immediately say “yes” or “no.” Let the other party know that you have to check your calendar first.
If you’re swamped this week, then suggest grabbing lunch with your friend next week.
Separate refusal from rejection.
You’re turning down a request, not the person. If you’re honest, they’ll understand.
Be true to yourself.
“Be clear and honest with yourself about what you truly want. Get to know yourself better and examine what you really want from life.”