In a traditional work day, if eight hours are spent on the job and eight hours are spent sleeping, that leaves us eight hours to pursue those side hustles. In that one-third of our day, it’s sometimes difficult to efficiently manage time. It’s easy to get distracted and end up on the couch perusing YouTube for hours. I’m sure you love Youtube. I freaking love Youtube. But you’ve been meaning to start selling your art, to start on that business plan, to get a part-time job in a different industry — remember?
Whether your side hustles are strictly financial or passion-motivated (bonus if they’re both!), they require dedication, time, and energy to execute. The more dedicated you are to properly managing your time earlier on in the process, the quicker it will become second nature. You will honor the discipline of using Tuesdays for ordering new supplies for your business, exercising, and cooking a new dish; but on Thursdays you’re free for playtime after you finish cleaning the apartment. Consistent dedication will make you feel more capable and in control, and will trigger you to keep pushing toward the goals you set out for yourself.
In order to manage your time wisely, your goals and their deadlines must be clear and purposeful. My thoughts become cloudy imagining all of the side hustles and creative projects I want to undertake, so it’s helpful to keep my thoughts organized in a journal. Inside, I list short- and long-term goals along with their deadlines, and steps that need to be taken to reach them. It is essential to see your goals in terms of small steps. Realizing that your goals are only collections of small steps makes the tasks seem much less daunting.
When I used to write to-do lists, I would get overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks on them. I’d become so overwhelmed that I’d just take a nap instead, only to wake up feeling more anxious about the incomplete tasks. If it helps to get all of your ideas out on paper, do so. But when deciding which tasks should be completed daily, choose a few items that could realistically get completed based on your energy levels — a “To-Do Today” list, if you will. The positive snowball effect that can come from completing just one task is powerful.
On the other hand, setting unrealistic expectations and not living up to them can make you feel like you’re failing to reach your goals, which is not true. Set clear, realistic deadlines and be dedicated to them, even when the days become a bit hectic.
And we expect the work-week to become hectic, so spend a day or half-day prepping for your week ahead. In that time, do all of the basic things that could distract you throughout the work week. I usually meal prep, lay out my outfits, and do deep cleaning and laundry on Sundays in order to free up my weeknights, as well as to condense the time it takes to get ready in the mornings. More rest is the aim, always.
In the same vein of preparation, each night I sit with my journal and see where I’ve been successful, what could use improving, and plan out the next day. Then, I check my journal again every morning to frame my day, and keep it near me throughout the day to update it when necessary. The consistent reminders help keep me focused.
As we’re on this mission to reach our goals, we tend to feel a tinge of guilt when every single second of our time is not taken up by “productive” activity. We don’t use the term side hustle for no reason, after all. While enjoying time with loved ones or practicing self-care, we are constantly thinking about the tasks still left to be done.
Reconciling the feelings of wanting to rest and needing to hustle requires a slight change in mindset. Rest is not a “waste” of time. Rest is a productive activity in and of itself. It is a necessary part of the day that will aid in recharging your battery for the energy needed to perform other, more mentally and physically taxing tasks. Treat rest like any other activity. It must be scheduled and used effectively. So, don’t hesitate to plan bingeing your favorite TV show with your friends. Add it as part of the To-Do Today list! Just be wary of accepting those distracting pop-up invitations.
Even so, getting distracted happens. Allow yourself some mercy when it does. The key is to jump back in as if no misstep was made and keep chasing the goal.
Every day we have the opportunity to take steps forward — we have eight hours a day to take at least one step toward living more boldly. One step.
This is your sign. Go hustle.