The top 5 ways to find time for your side hustle—and keep it for the long haul

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So you’ve decided on a side hustle and made a commitment. The remaining question is, how do you make time for it? It may sound like a lofty task—using up your personal time for more work on top of your full-time role. However, a side hustle can be just what you need to realize how much leisure time you actually have, improve your daily productivity, take control of your time, and feel an increased sense of achievement at the end of each day. While what works for one professional may not work for another, these are five tips you can learn from and fit into your own process. 

1. Find your why

It can make all the difference to consider your goals and priorities when deciding which side hustle to choose or to keep up the momentum with one you’ve already started. Is your goal only to make extra income and nothing else? Or is it to earn extra spending money while simultaneously learning and developing skillsets? If it’s the second, surveys may not be the best option due to their more passive nature. Meanwhile, entrepreneurship or offering services may be a better fit thanks to the endless learning opportunities—and limitless revenue potential. Pinpointing and remembering your motivation will encourage you to push through on harder days and maintain the work. 

2. Create boundaries 

It’s easy to still feel “on” once you’re signed off of your full-time role. You might still be checking emails, brainstorming ideas, or recalling earlier conversations. If you’re juggling multiple responsibilities and both full-time and part-time positions, your time is as valuable as ever. Adopt a transition mindset so that once it’s 5 or 6 pm, or the weekend, you’ve switched gears and are focused on your side work. This also applies to when it’s time for your 9-5 and when it’s your leisure time. 

3. Organize a calendar and stick to deadlines 

Deadlines are inevitable in the workforce and even if you don’t have a direct manager or colleagues when it comes to your side hustle, consider implementing dates to hold yourself accountable. This is critical if you’re offering services or working with clients, especially if you’re just starting your business and developing a status of reliability. Even if your side hustle doesn’t involve clients, consider setting time-sensitive goals. This could be giving yourself a deadline of a week to take an x amount of surveys or tests, a few weeks to finish that book on entrepreneurship, or a month to network with an x amount of people. 

4. Pick a time management method

There are a variety of time management methods, and the best one for you may depend on your organizational style. With some more structure, you can minimize distractions and procrastination. 

Time blocking

A common method is time blocking, where you designate a task to a specific time, whether that’s an hour or a few, in your calendar. Just like you have scheduled meetings in your work calendar with set times, this can also apply to your side hustle priorities. Remember that there should be a start and end time. You can even add non-work-related time blocks, whether that’s mealtimes or breaks. 

Rapid Planning

The Rapid Planning Method (RPM) is better suited for long-term goals. It involves noting all of your commitments and tasks that need completion for the week, categorizing the tasks, and doing a review in which you self-reflect and answer whether or not you followed through. The advantage of this technique is that you can visualize your goals and their purpose, and list out all the needed steps. 

Pomodoro technique

This method is designed to prevent you from skipping breaks and better set priorities, all you’ll need is a timer. It involves the following steps: 

1. Deciding on a task 

2. Setting up a timer for 25 minutes 

3. Work interrupted until the 25 minutes are up 

4. Take a 5-minute break 

5. Repeat the above steps, and reward yourself with a longer break after the fourth cycle

5. Delegate tasks 

While a side hustle may seem like an independent project, depending on what you’ve chosen, there’s a time when you may need extra help. As they say, it takes a village. Becca Taylor, Social Media Marketing Manager at UserTesting, once founded a candle business that began as a hobby and balanced this with a previous full-time role. 

Reflecting back on the side hustle, she says, “Accept help when it's offered. When I was starting out, I didn't want to inconvenience anyone in my life. I was a little bit of a perfectionist when it came to my customer's experience (e.g. trying to turn orders around within a day or two, responding immediately to questions, making sure each and every handmade candle was perfect—on top of the 40-50 hours I was working at my full-time job).” She continues, “Looking back, I should’ve delegated more tasks and gotten help with shipping and handling orders—and set more reasonable standards for myself to live up to.” 

Want to learn more?

Grab a copy of User Tested: How the World's Top Companies Use Human Insight to Create Great Experiences, co-authored by UserTesting’s CIO Janelle Estes and CEO Andy MacMillan.

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