Not sure how to balance a side hustle and a full time job?
Need help finding the time to work on your side business?
Want to stop feeling guilty when you work on your side hustle?
In this episode, I’m sharing the 6 steps you need to take to find time to work on your side hustle and my pro tips for managing it all!
My Side Hustle Story
I have been side hustling on and off since 2012 and I know firsthand how hard it can be to find the time to work on your side hustle and really how to manage your time overall.
You have a full time job, you’re trying to start, grow and nurture a business on the side. How do you do it? There are a lot of different philosophies out there on how to do it.
A big trend, the past few years has been all about hustling and I definitely fell into that. I think when I first started side hustling– even says it in the name– I felt like that had to be my life.
I had to say no to every social event. I had to stay up late on the weeknights and before work, and to sacrifice sleep.
I couldn’t work out and eat well. I really needed to work all day on the weekends and if I’m being completely honest, even though I don’t believe that anymore, it’s really easy to fall back into that.
So even the past year or more where I’d been side hustling more recently, that hasn’t been my normal like it once was, but it’s really easy to just kind of default to that state when you’re side hustling for some reason.
I don’t know why, but I feel like I’ve gotten so much better at how to manage my side hustle with my full time job and in a much healthier, better way then the hustling, working all the time, sacrificing your health and happiness route that so many of us have done before and that you might be doing right now.
So let’s just dig into this because my philosophy is that you don’t have to sacrifice your health or happiness to grow a successful business on the side.
Finding the time for your side hustle
And I think that that really starts with finding the time to work on your side hustle. So we’re going to start there.
We’re going to talk for a little bit about how to find the time to work on your side hustle while you’re working a full time job.
It’s best to start with some kind of piece of paper in front of you that have the hours of the day on the left side of the paper and each day of the week across the top. You can do this for one day at a time or one week at a time. Kind of depends on how consistent or inconsistent your schedule and life are.
I do actually have a freebie though that walks you through how to do this at a full week to create your ideal week schedule. So if you want to go ahead and just download that and go through this process with my ideal week schedule.
So whether using it that free workbook or if you are using your own sheet of paper that you’ve just kind of mocked up or maybe even an excel sheet while we’re talking.
Let’s go ahead and dig in and follow these steps along with me.
STEP #1: Assess Your Blocked Out Times
Step number one is to assess what your blocked out times are.
So we’re going to actually start by focusing on when you can’t work on your side hustle. So go ahead and looking at the whole week, block out –and literally, again, we’re looking at an hourly calendar here.
So maybe for you it’s 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM you have your full time job. Whatever your hours are, go ahead and map, you know, block those out on your weekly spread. Be sure to go ahead and block out things besides just your full time job too.
So if you have children and you need to pick them up and drop them off from school or if you volunteer in an organization and have consistent volunteer hours, whatever your week, your average week looks like, block out all of the times where you cannot work.
And don’t forget to add in things like commuting, if you need to drive to your full time job, getting ready, or if you have a fully mapped out morning and evening routine, which I hope you do if you’ve listened to our previous episode.
Basically, we want to first mark out everything you’re not able to work on in your business due to a prior commitment.
Step # 2: Make Adjustments to Blocked Out Times
Okay, so step two here is to ask yourself if you can make any adjustments to these blocked out times.
Can someone take over something for you that you were doing?
Can you maybe even rotate responsibilities with someone?
So again, going back to children, maybe you have carpool responsibilities. Can you rotate so that maybe you only do carpool a couple times a week instead of every day?
Get really creative, but look at your blocked out times and just ask yourself if there’s any flexibility.
Another one is also working at different hours. So maybe you currently go into the office at eight and leave at five. What if you went nine to six or earlier, seven to four.
Can you come into work earlier or later or leave earlier or later if you have a preference, but like, do you have any flexibility there that maybe you could work on?
Or maybe you can take a full hour long lunch break right now. Maybe you just work through lunch. Can you take a real lunch break?
So what are your options there with the time you thought was blocked out and can we tweak it?
If you can make those adjustments, go ahead and reflect that here on your calendar and unblock and reblock whatever times that you need to.
Step #3: Add Lifestyle and Health Blocks
Step three is to add in your lifestyle and health blocks, so be sure to be blocking out seven, eight hours of sleep, block out any meal times, exercise time if you’re exercising, when you need to rest.
We so often don’t schedule in rest, but it’s pretty critical and will often just take it when we need it.
So be sure to take some time here to incorporate your ideal more lifestyle blocks.
Step #4: Identify When You can Work on Your Side Hustle
Step four is to look at what time is left and see how many options you have for when you can work.
How much time is left?
How many hours does that leave you?
Probably you’re going to see some time in the early morning, some time at lunch and some time in the evenings.
So do a little assessment. Maybe you have a nontraditional full time job hours, so just look at how much time is remaining and how much that adds up to for the whole week.
Step #5: Ask Yourself, How do You Feel About That?
Step five is to ask yourself, how do you feel about that? What adjustments do you think you should make to that?
Think about what trade offs you are willing to make to give you more time for work without 100% sacrificing all of the other things that matter to you.
Again, that’s kind of where that example of maybe exercise and working out is important to you, but maybe instead of going to the gym or going to a workout class that’s 90 minutes, can you do that a couple times a week and fill in the other days of the week with a shorter workout?
Are there times where maybe when it’s a really full week you just do a walk instead of a 90 minute workout?
Again, go on and your priorities, not just my examples here, but well you want to be looking at is the trade offs.
I don’t want you to trade off all of those personal things and health and wellness things for work, but we probably can make slight adjustments.
Or maybe you’re happy with the time you have left. Maybe that feels really good! Then don’t make any adjustments.
So this is just if you’re looking at that time you have left and you’re not totally satisfied with what that adds up to. Ask yourself where you can make some tweaks.
Maybe you get seven and a half hours of sleep instead of eight. Or maybe you just realize that in the evenings you kind of drag your feet and aren’t very productive anyways, so you’re going to still get eight hours of sleep or you’re just going to go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier.
Step #6: Stick to the Schedule and Protect Your Side Hustle Time
Step six is to stick to the schedule you just made and protect your side hustle time.
I like to recommend that you have a tangible copy of this schedule that you can actually see with you throughout your day at your fridge in the morning by your bed and make sure that you can see it and aren’t forgetting when you want to be spending your time on certain things.
I also want you to set alarms and reminders on your phone to remind you when it’s time to start working on something and stop working on something, when you need to go take a break.
Feel free to leverage technology to help you stick to the schedule that you just mapped out.
You can also tell family members or friends, especially people who live with you, whether they’re just roommates or family members. It’s pretty important to tell them when you’re adjusting your schedule.
So if you have decided you’re going to wake up at 5:00 AM to get in a solid hour of side hustle time before your full time job, that’s going to adjust family members, you want to go ahead and give them a heads up.
It’s also going to increase accountability as well, so that always benefits everyone. And related to that you can also just find a dedicated accountability partner if you want.
But do whatever it takes to not only stick to the schedule, but protect it. Make sure you are in do not disturb mode when you are working on your side hustle.
Do not get distracted by the television or apps or notifications on your phone or messages or social media. You need to really consider this side hustle time as sacred and absolutely do not let anything infiltrate it or distract you while you were working on it.
So those are the six steps to finding time to work on your side hustle.
So now you know when you’re doing it, but that is only part of it. I have some pro tips to help making your side hustle work and how to do this while balancing a full time job.
Tip #1: Adjust Your Expectations and Be Patient
Tip Number one is to adjust your expectations and be patient. You do have a full life, you have obligations, and that’s okay. The reality is is that the more time you work, the faster you might progress, not always, but that is also the path to burnout.
So be the turtle.
Don’t be the hair. We all remember that, right? It’s all about slow, steady, intentional progress, not sprinting.
Cause if you sprint like you really will get tired. I have burned out. I had done that. You will see immediate results. Well, I mean, it’s not guaranteed. You’ll see some results, but they’re not going to be long lasting results.
So just know that as a side hustler, the reality is you do have limited time. You just can’t do everything that you want to. That’s okay.
That’s a truth that often can feel disappointing or frustrating, but I want you instead to really process it and accept it and use that truth to be so smart with how you do spend your time, which we’ll talk about more in just a second.
Part of adjusting your expectations isn’t just the speed in which you will move on things, but it’s also just how much you can do at any given time.
I have learned and what I have been doing that’s been really helpful for me is that I can really only be focused on one singular goal or project at a time. Right now as I record this, my singular focus is getting this podcast going. It’s recording episodes, it’s creating blog posts. It’s trying to get ahead of schedule. That’s my singular focus.
I have other tasks, sure, that I’m working on when I can, but the key there is that it’s when I can. It is not something I really schedule an expectation for for myself, so I am completely focused on getting this podcast up and running and once this is in a really good workflow where either I’m ahead of schedule or it doesn’t take me the whole week to produce one podcast episode, then I’ll be able to add in more things.
But for now this has to be my singular focus because I only have so much time in the day.
What makes it really fun though is that I already know what my next priorities are. I have them lined up, I’m still thinking about them. I’m still writing down ideas.
I’m still getting inspired and taking little tiny baby steps behind the scenes on them, but I’m just so excited to get to work on them once that this, once this current project has a rhythm in place and is either completed or at a place where it’s really more process based.
So it actually makes me twice as excited. I’m more excited to be working on the podcast, which is a project that I’m loving, but I’m also excited that when I complete this batch of recordings, I get to focus on the next thing. It’s like a double reward.
Like I’m excited to do what I’m doing now, but then I’m even more excited because when this project is done I get to do something else that I love and I’m really excited about.
So it was pretty great. So when you adjust your expectations to accept that you will be slower to be patient, to work on one thing at a time until it’s either really easy or you’ve batched it in your schedule the head, you just have to adjust your expectations.
And when you do, again, as speaking as someone who’s done this, this never was my perspective before. I always felt so behind, so frustrated. I felt like I didn’t have enough time in the day, but as soon as I shifted my gears to this, just acceptance and instead of feeling frustrated and constrained by it, allowing it to empower me to make really substantial progress in a shorter amount of time.
But because I’m only focused on one thing, it’s been amazing and I’ve been so happy working this way. So adjust your expectations. Be patient focused on one thing at a time.
These are all very related, but there are key to managing your side hustle and a fulltime job without sacrificing your health, in particular, and your happiness.
Tip #2 Use Your Time Wisely
Tip number two is to use your time wisely. Make sure that you are making meaningful progress on your big goal or priority or projects every single day.
You have limited time, so don’t let yourself use it in a way that doesn’t make sense. Have a plan. Make sure what you’re working on is high return on investment.
Make sure it’s revenue generating and don’t just sit down and wonder what to do next. If I sit down at 6:00 AM in the morning to “work on my side hustle”, but I have no idea what I’m about to sit down and do, I’m totally screwed and that means that I have to make sure the night before that I’ve already decided what I’m going to do between 6 and 8:00 AM for my side hustle.
I know that those two hours are the only guaranteed time I have to work on my side hustle and that’s if I wake up on time, which is if I go to bed on time. It’s a whole ripple effect here in our lives, you see.
But I know that if I’m going to use those two hours to the best of my ability, I need to know exactly what I’m doing and I need to have everything prepped.
So part of my evening routine is preparing for the night, preparing for the day, the night before. Which I actually have a YouTube video on as well if you want to know exactly how I plan my day the night before.
But in short, within the scope of this, I make sure that I have all Google docs created, topics decided, links open in my browser, etc.
I have an actual list of what tasks come in and do during those two hours, but not only that, I have my computer like ready to go.
Like I literally close my computer the night before with chrome, with all the tabs open that I need and only the tabs that I need or whatever other apps you might need open. I’ve even known when I’m editing a podcast and then waking up the next morning to edit it.
I will have screenflow open with the file imported and all the other files I need like right there so I’m ready to go. So that way it can come down and sit down, knock it right out.
That has been a game changer, so make sure you’re using your time wisely, but part of that is knowing exactly what you need to be doing when you sit down to do it. Part of that is also staying focused during that time.
Please, please, please be in do not disturb mode. Do not allow any notifications to come through and distract you and disturb you. No distracting apps allowed, no Netflix on, no nothing that’s going to really divert your attention.
And no full time job apps open when you are not working on your full time job. At least in the morning or whenever your biggest focus time is, don’t check your email!
Don’t open Slack or whatever project management or communication tool your team is using. Do your best to not open it during this focus time.
Because we all feel like we want to be around all the time and that can be really hard and there might be some guilt associated with that. But we’re about to talk a little bit more about boundaries, and this will come full circle for you.
But make sure that when you are having this dedicated focus for your side hustle that is outside of your full time job time, that during this very sacred time, you do not have any full time job apps or tabs or anything open.
Protect the time you have set aside for your side hustle with everything you’ve got, it’s sacred.
And when you do this, when you have a plan, when you’re using your time wisely, you will see results even if things are moving a little bit slower.
So even if you feel like you’re making slow progress, you will know without a doubt that the progress you’re making is having an impact. It is meaningful, it is intentional, and it will get you to where you’re trying to go.
Tip #3: Have Clear Boundaries
Whoo. Okay, so last pro tip here, you need to have a clear boundaries between your fulltime job and your side hustle. I believe that it is important to still feel good about the work you’re doing in your full time job while you’re side hustling. I have done this before in the opposite.
So back when I was working full time and HR at a corporate job, I was side hustling and I got in such a bad mindset about my full time job.
I just felt like I was kind of slacking and I didn’t feel like I was doing a quality job at work. I kind of got really resentful that I was there, totally got sucked into this really negative, not only mindset but just a negative terrible way to spend your time.
And if you’re a side hustler, you’ve probably felt that before. I’m not saying you’ll never feel that way, but I think it’s important to still feel good about the work you’re doing and the time you’re dedicating to your full time job because when you do it feels really good.
And all of that guilt that can pop up sometimes when you’re working on your own stuff on this side, goes away when you know that you’re doing good work.
That you know that your full time job is paying you to do really high quality work, getting your full attention when it needs to be getting your attention, and it just feels better. Like you will feel better., trust me.
So if you’ve ever dealt with that, please try to shift gears, shift your mindset, whatever you need to do to make sure that you’re still feeling good about the work you’re doing, the bulk of your day.
So while you’re working at your full time job, during your work hours, do good work, be responsible, be reliable and while you’re there it’s okay if ideas pop up for your side hustle, make note of them in some place you can reference later, but go back to your full time job.
I again, I mean a lot of people would probably give you the opposite advice to like use every nook and cranny of time you have. But I, I again, I’ve done it and it didn’t feel good. It started to feel really toxic. I started to feel really guilty and it just made me really unhappy.
And now that I do it the opposite, it feels incredible.
I know that I’m doing such a good job and I feel so confident and proud of that, super engaged. But I know that my side hustle is also happening and it’s just happening on the side, and they’re not overlapping and it just feels really good.
So trust me on this, that’s the right way to do it. Because when you know you’re doing good quality work when you’re at your full time job, you get to shift gears to work on your side hustle in the appropriate times, and not feel an ounce of guilt.
You can just be happy and excited and enjoy it and feel all the good feelings and none of the bad ones. So that is how to manage your side hustle with a full time job. I hope you found that helpful.
I hope you found this episode really helpful. Whether you are a existing side hustler or maybe looking to start a side hustle. I’d love to hear from you on social media.
Maybe tag me in your Instagram stories if you enjoyed this episode. My Instagram handle is @megan_minns and I will see you guys in the next episode.
Thank you for listening!
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