This article originally appeared on lifestyle blog A Girl in Progress.
Let’s be real: most of us would love to pursue our passion, our big ideas and our dream businesses full-time. But, we may not be ready to leave our current day and take the leap towards our dream biz until we can make sure the bills will get paid.
So, while we get ready to maybe make the eventual leap, most of us have to balance a full-time job with building a new business. While side biz growth when you work full-time may seem next to impossible, the key is to maximize your productivity during the time you set aside to grow your side hustle. Here are five simple productivity hacks to make sure you’re using time as efficiently and effectively as possible so you can make your dream job become your reality even faster.
1. Schedule time on your calendar
This may seem obvious, but set aside specific times in your calendar to work on your passion project. Are you an early bird? Schedule it an hour or two before work. Night owl? Hit the computer post-commute. Try to keep it consistent week-over-week and frame it as a standing commitment that you wouldn’t schedule over (you wouldn’t schedule over your 9-5, would you?). More importantly, make sure this time is focused solely on the project. Yes, that means no social media, procrastinating and multitasking! On average, it takes us 15 minutes to refocus after a distraction. If you only have an hour to work, this can be a huge time suck! So, use this time to direct your energy solely to the business without any distractions.
2. Batching and templates
Batching and templates are crucial to side hustle efficiency. In simple terms, batching is all about aggregating similar or recurring tasks and working on them all at once in a specified time period. By saving similar tasks to work on in a group, it ensures that your workflow isn’t interrupted by batch tasks popping up and it keeps you in the frame of mind to focus all your energy on one type of task. It’s all about managing energy and distractions! Meanwhile, templates can help you simplify your processes and work. Create templates for similar tasks – blog posts, book chapters, web pages, you name it — so you don’t waste time recreating the wheel.
3. Be a passenger
Utilize any spare moments to dig into your side hustle. Thirty minute Uber ride? Knock out a few emails, mobile test a website or create an Instagram post template. Cross-country flight? Splurge a few bucks for the Wi-Fi and use this as a scheduled time to work on your side projects. These valuable en-route moments add up fast and are great ways to knock out a few items unexpectedly.
4. Designate your space.
You’re going to need space to work, regardless of what your project may be. Identify a spot where you feel creative and productive —whether it’s your organized desk in your room, the library or a coffee shop. If you pick a spot at home, fill the space with items that inspire productivity: fresh flowers, your favourite notebooks and cute framed photos, for example. Setting aside an inspiring workspace for the purpose of pursuing your project will make your scheduled time feel even more like your real job and boost your workflow.
5. Learn to say no
If you want to successfully balance a 9-5 job and a side hustle, you are going to have to learn how to say no. If you’re overcommitted or over-exhausted, your work won’t hit its peak performance and you’ll lose efficiency. Let your friends and family know that you may be committed to your project the next few months (or years!), and when you’re asked to plans that could conflict with any progress, ask yourself: is this going to benefit me long-term? If it’s not, let it go and learn to say no. The people that matter will stick around and support your dream gig!