So, you’re finally ready to give your side hustle a go?
Write that book that’s been swirling around your head for ages. Start your own Etsy store. Paint a new series you can sell on your website.
Question now is: where the heck do you find the time?
Unless you’ve got a trust fund or something, you’ll have to keep your day job to pay the bills. 8 more hours are for sleep. You’d want to spend some quality time with your family and friends too. Then, there’s exercise, meditation, journalling and all the other things the pros say are not negotiable.
Is there any time left?!
Yes, plenty. And nope, I’m not suggesting you wake up early and go to bed late. That’s a recipe for exhaustion, not success.
The key to making time for your side hustle is to simplify: do less so you can do more.
Here’s how you can find the time to work on your side hustle (even when you have a full time job):
Forget about morning/night time routines
I swear if I come across another article about 30 things successful people do in the morning, I’m going to scream. I get it we’re all looking for that ultimate hack that will turn us into productive machines but packing too much into your morning/evening routine can terribly backfire.
These people want you to wake up at 5 am, meditate for one hour, exercise for one hour, journal for 40 minutes, do a gratitude practice for 20 min, read a book, go pick vegetables in your back garden and squeeze milk from your cows so you can have a truly organic breakfast…. By the time you’re done, you have none left to work on your side hustle.
I’m not saying that morning routines (or night-time routines, for that matter) aren’t useful (they can be) and that you should quit yours if you have one (if it works for you, by all means, keep going). I’m just saying, don’t get too obsessed with what other people are doing that you think you have to do the exact same thing to be successful.
Truth bomb: successful people didn’t have morning/night time routines when they started. They developed them along the way thanks to trial and error.
I didn’t have a morning routine for the longest time. I’d just wake up, have breakfast, shower, get dressed and sit down at my desk to write. Over the years, I’ve tried adding meditation, goal-setting, book reading and lots of other stuff to my morning routine. But you know what? The only thing I want to do in the morning is write. So now, I eat/shower/get dressed as quickly as possible, do Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages (3 page-long, free-flowing journaling) and then start writing what articles/books/projects I’m working on that day.
But… let’s be clear on one thing. Morning/night time routines are optional. Self care isn’t. You won’t get anything done if you function on 5 hours of sleep, 10 cups of coffee and junk food, either.
Related: 3 Ways To Start A Self-Care Routine
Learn To Say No
If you’re really serious about your side hustle, you need to guard your time fiercely.
Your friend asks you if you want to hang out at the pub on Friday night? Politely tell her you have work to do and that you’ll see her next time.
Your neighbours want you to babysit her kids? Sorry, no can do. You have a special project to work on (but do refer her to a trusted friend who has the time for it 🙂 ).
A client asked you to meet for coffee on the other side of town and you know it’ll take you an hour just to get there? Kindly suggest a Skype call.
I’m not gonna lie here. Saying no won’t make you Miss Popular. Socialising less won’t be fun. Plus, it’s your natural instinct to help. But if you keep saying yes to every request, albeit small it seems, you won’t have any time for your side hustle and you’ll start resenting your friends, neighbours and clients.
If you can help someone, do it. Hang out with your friends when you can. But not at the expense of your side hustle.
Make Hustling Your Default Mindset
If successful people didn’t have morning routines when they started, how did they get anything done? They hustled. Every. Spare. Minute. They. Had.
Think about it. What do you do when you’re waiting in queue at the checkout desk? Checking out Instagram or Facebook, right? How about you use those few minutes to reply to emails or do something productive? Same when you get home at night. Instead of mindlessly turning on the telly, work on your project.
We all have so many pockets of times during our days we fill with mindless activities because we think that working 5 min here or 2 min there won’t make a difference. But they do. You’ll get a project done a lot of faster if you work on it every spare minute you’ve got than if you wait to have two hours completely free.
That’s not to say you can never check out your social media channels, watch the telly or have some fun. Just ask yourself this: what’s the most important thing I can do with this spare time right now? Do that.
Do The Frogs First
Now you’ve cut down your morning routine to YOUR essentials, stopped mindless activities that don’t add anything to your day and said no to other people’s requests, you likely have a lot more time to dedicate to your side hustle.
But how do you use it? Because it doesn’t matter if you’ve managed to carve out one or two hours a day, time’s limited and you want to make the most of it.
Here’s the trick: ask yourself, “what do I absolutely have to do today to move the needle forward?” Do that.
Let’s say you’re writing a thriller. The first step may be to jot down an outline of the story. Then, you can write brief descriptions of their characters, their past experiences and their goals. Once that’s done, you can start writing the first draft.
Figure out what’s the most important task you need to do. Do it. Once that’s done, move onto the next.
Don’t be surprised if the thing you need to do the most is the think you’re resisting the most. That’s normal. Just swallow that frog instead of wasting time on smaller tasks that keep you stuck. You’ll finish your project a lot faster.
Focus On One Thing At A Time
I shouldn’t be the one to preach this. At the time I’m writing this, I have two blogs, am doing some freelance writing on the side and finishing a book.
I can’t work on one thing at a time. My brain is constantly buzzing with ideas of new projects to start, books to write, courses to launch. I want to do it all at once. But, if I did, I’d spread myself too thin and wouldn’t get anything done.
But wait, didn’t I just say I’m working on multiple projects right now? Yes. Hear me out, please.
I didn’t start doing all these things at the same time. I started my beauty blog first. Then I used it as a portfolio to get freelance writing gigs. That was my main job. In my spare time, I’d work like crazy on my blog so that I could make enough money to quit freelancing.
When the blog started bringing on more money than freelancing, I fired most of my clients and kept only the couple ones I genuinely enjoy writing for. Now I had a lot of extra time available, I started my second blog. As for the book, writing is something I’ve been doing every day since I was born. Somehow, I always found the time for it.
The lesson is this: start a project. Work on it until you finish it or have gained so much momentum you are able to delegate/automate most of it. Then, start your next one. It’s ok to do more than one thing at the same time but only if you have the time/money/resources to dedicate to all of them.
If you don’t, be realistic and pick one. Better have one completed project under your belt than a string of half-finished, abandoned projects behind your back. Don’t you agree?Want to start a side hustle but can't find the time? Do less so you can do more.Click To Tweet
Over to you, now. How do you find the time for your side hustle? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.