The following is a contribution from Harry at Your PF Pro.
The quickest way to build wealth is to earn more, and many people are turning to side hustles and even their own side businesses in order to make more money. A side hustle is a great way to diversify your income and free up more money to put towards savings and investments. It can also be a huge drain on your time and energy though, especially if it’s something that’s truly on the side and has to be done around your obligations as someone else’s employee at your full-time job.
If your side hustle is promising and could turn into a fully-fledged business, how do you balance your work on the side with a 9 to 5 office job? It is possible to do, but you’ll need some excellent time management skills, a killer work ethic, and even a willingness to figure out a bit of a nontraditional schedule.
Building Your Time Management Skills
The best way to balance a side hustle with a full-time job is to simply improve how efficiently you’re using the time available to you. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but have you ever noticed how some people seem to do so much more than others? They don’t have superpowers and they can’t just create more time – they just have the ability to manage their time really well.
Here are a few ideas you can implement to improve your time management outside your day job’s working hours to get the most from the time you have to work on your side hustle:
Create (and use) to-do lists. Prioritize the work you must complete, and use the list to help you stay focused so you don’t forget what needs to get done
Cut the waste. If you’re spending hours watching TV, playing games, or mindlessly surfing the internet, stop! That stuff eats up your time like nothing else. Even if you just pop into Facebook for 5 minutes, if you do that 10 times a day you’ve wasted nearly an hour (and that doesn’t even account for the visits where you actually spend way more than 5 minutes)
Use a schedule and write down everything. This will help keep you organized, focused, and on top of all your tasks, appointments, and meetings
When you track your time, schedule your tasks, learn to narrow your focus, and cut distractions, you’ll find you actually have more time than you thought you did. Use this time to work on your side hustle and manage your extra work.
Work Smarter and Harder to Balance Your Side Hustle
Once you’ve optimized how you’re spending your waking hours, you’ll start to work smarter. You’ll quit blowing time on useless activities that don’t carry you closer to your goal of bettering your side hustle, and you’ll have more time to dedicate to your business.
Now, it’s time to work a little harder. Can you start your day earlier and get some work done before you head into your office job? Can you stay up later after the kids have gone to bed to complete a project or assignment? Can you make some calls on your lunch break?
If you want your side gigs to develop into something more, you’ll have to be willing to work some really long days. It comes with the territory and is necessary for the amount of time you’re required to balance a full-time 9 to 5 with a promising side hustle.
Don’t Confine Yourself to a Traditional Work Day
The beauty of working for yourself is largely in being able to set your own schedule. You don’t really have this luxury when you’re trying to balance a full-time 9 to 5 with a side hustle, but you can find ways to free up some of your time that is currently eaten up by your day job.
First, consider if working from home/working remotely for your current 9 to 5 is an option. More and more supervisors are realizing that remote work is an arrangement that creates happy – and therefore more productive – employees. If your work can be done from home and if there are some other employees in your company who currently work remotely, consider approaching your boss about having your own remote work arrangement.
If that’s not an option, think about ways you can compromise. Maybe you can work a few days a week from home, or a few hours each day. Any time you can negotiate away from the office is going to be time you can optimize to work on your side hustle.
And let’s be honest: how many “9 to 5” jobs actually require constant work from 9 to 5? Most employees have plenty of downtime in the office, and when you’re trying to balance a side hustle with your job, this equates to flat-out wasted time. Depending on how your workplace operates or how comfortable you are with filling unproductive work hours with productive personal projects, you may be able to get some work done on your side hustle while you’re still at the office.
Have you thought about starting a side hustle? If you haven’t already, what’s holding you back?
Harry Campbell started blogging about personal finance on his main site Your PF Pro a few years ago and enjoyed it so much that he started a second site dedicated to finding the perfect work-life balance at The Four Hour Work Day. When Harry is not blogging, he works full time as an aerospace engineer and enjoys surfing and playing beach volleyball.
Photo courtesy of: JMR_Photography