How To Manage Time With a Side Hustle
Today I thought I would answer the question of how to manage time with a side hustle. It’s the question I’m asked most about when discussing my side hustle, particularly with a full-time job.
The answer for me is simple: I do what want, when I want to, excluding during working hours.
Between the hours of nine a.m. and five-thirty p.m. I am focused on my full-time job. The hours before and after are mine to do as I please. And during those hours I tend to fill them with a mix of side hustles, socialization, and self-care.
Family and Side Hustles
As a single woman with no children, I’m lucky in that my time is my own. For others with children and partners, managing a side hustle can be more difficult.
However, on the subject of families, I do find it occasionally irritating when I’m asked in interviews or by colleagues how I can manage a full-time and have a side hustle when they would never ask the same question to a parent. I.e. how can they manage a full-time job with a family?
They will however ask how they can have a side hustle, a full-time job and a family. The answer to that is different for all.
How to manage time with a side hustle
Here are some tips for managing your time with or without a family.
Set up routines
During the week, I like to do admin and reply to emails in the morning before I start work at nine a.m. After five-thirty p.m., I finish work and have dinner straight away. From six-thirty p.m. I can do what I like. Somedays that means writing a blog post in front of the TV and others it might mean recording some TikTok videos, editing a novel or pitching an article, or simply relaxing. At weekends, if I’m not socialising or have plans I tend to spend most of my days writing fiction or blog posts.
When setting routines you have to have a level of flexibility for things like socialising, family life, and general life events. Some weeks you might be able to work on side hustles every night, but others you’ll be busy or need to do basic life admin like go to the shops or clean the house.
Having a basic routine can keep you on track without overwhelming you into feeling guilty for not working on your side hustle or not spending enough time with friends and family. It can limit your sacrifices when it comes to your passions and/or relationships, so be sure to set these routines early.
Set goals and deadlines
I find that having a goal for the month or the week helps me to prioritise things when things need to get done. If I promised my agent I would deliver a chapter or an edited manuscript by the end of the month then that’s my priority for that month. If I pitched an article and it’s accepted but it’s due two days later then I drop my other plans – except those that can’t be moved like planned social events – to focus on that article.
Goals and, particularly deadlines, will help to prioritize and stay focused and excited about your side hustles. Try not to set too many at once. If I’m doing a 30-day challenge to blog every day, then it’s likely I’m not recording TikTok videos, editing a manuscript, and/or planning a public speaking engagement at the same time as the 30-day challenge is my priority.
Communication is key
If you’re in a relationship or have a family then this is a very important part of managing your time. You need to explain why you have a side hustle in the first place. For me it’s enjoyment-based. Not everyone is destined to have one career throughout their entire lives, in fact, most of us are multi-hyphenates in the sense that we have multiple interests and multiple dreams that we act upon at the time same time.
Regardless of whether you’re entering a relationship or already have an established one, you need to explain this to your partner. And if you’re single – like me! – then explaining to friends and family about your side hustle early will help when certain life situations happen. In the past, I’ve told friends and family I couldn’t meet for a dinner, go to the cinema, or just get a coffee because I had a writing deadline I had to meet. Every time they’ve been supportive because they know how much it means to me.
Those that aren’t supportive, aren’t worth your time!
The other people you need to communicate with – not always, but for the most part – are your co-workers. I’m not talking about your everyday co-workers, but your boss and potentially HR. Some employee contracts include restrictions on working multiple jobs and a side hustle can be construed as a second job.
They need to be reassured that your side hustle is not going to impact your full-time work. And it’s likely they’ll ask about the implications of having a side hustle on your work, i.e. burnout or distraction. Communicating early and clearly that your side hustle is precisely that, a side hustle, can help you both.
Do what you want, when you want
Within reason, you should be able to follow the basic line of doing what you want when you want.
For me, that means some weekends spent watching hours of TV, in my pyjamas with a candle burning and a box of chocolates by my side. Other weekends it means writing a chapter of a novel, recording eight TikTok videos, and planning three workshops. It depends on my mood, the week I’ve had, and my priorities.
If you’ve got a family, then it’s okay to spend time with them and let your side hustles rest for a bit. Just as it’s okay, to let the TV parent your child for an hour or two so you can meet a side hustle deadline. Try not to feel guilty for doing nothing or doing something.
Guilt is the enemy of side hustlers.
And that is how I manage time with a side hustle. I prioritise, set routines, communicate, and don’t let myself feel guilty. It’s as simple as that, once you get your head around it.