There are loads of people out there who have a brilliant idea for starting their own business. You may even be one of them. Yet a significantly lower number of people actually go on to start their own business.
So what’s keeping you from going from column A to column B? Execution — especially when just starting out. In the beginning, it’s the hardest to cultivate a new hobby that could turn into something more. You can set yourself up for success though if you know how to do.
I have a full-time job, and I wrote my first book, Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed, and maintain the blog ListProducer.com at the same time.
Here are some of the time-management tricks that I use to get it all done while working a 9 to 5.
So often people ask me “how do you do it all?” The truth is, I don’t.
I still have to maintain most things by myself, but I automate almost everything else.
For example, I use Co-Schedule to manage all my social media, which takes a lot of the weight off my shoulders. Of course, outsourcing often costs money but when you work out the cost vs. time saved you might find you’d be paying yourself less than minimum wage to do a task. If you’re feeling bogged down it’s OK to look for help.
Lump tasks together.
When you’re first starting out, figuring out how to balance work and home life with your new hobby can be tricky. It might be tempting to try and multitask (e.g. writing emails while you pack the dishwasher.) However, I find multitasking tends to waste more time than it saves. Instead, lump tasks together – both business and everyday duties.
For instance, a quick way to save a huge chunk of time is to cook one big meal and spread it out throughout the week. Heating up some lasagna is even quicker than ordering take out.
You can also take advantage of your commute to read up on your field or listen to relevant podcasts while you walk the dog. Not every task has to be done sitting at a desk.
Related: How to Avoid Side Hustle Burnout
Use the ‘Pomodoro’ technique.
When you’re working on your own projects, many people fall into the trap of pushing themselves too hard — forcing themselves to work unreasonable hours with no breaks. However, just because you are working hard, doesn’t mean you are working smart.
The idea behind the Pomodoro technique is that it’s important to give yourself breaks. Our minds can’t focus for very long without them. The Pomodoro app gives you 25 minutes to work on a certain task, and then you can take a short break (5 minutes) or a long break (15 minutes.) This keeps you on task but allows you to refresh your mind so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Set aside some time each day to work at your side gig. Treat this time like a doctor’s appointment; you just can’t cancel it. When you’re working try to make the most of your time. Rather than just reading through emails, think: Could the time be better spent elsewhere? Even if you had all the time in the world, how you prioritize makes all the difference. I like to use the time management tool Asana to keep track of all of the tasks I need to be doing when it comes to my side gig. This is separate from where I keep my personal and work to-dos.
Join a mastermind group.
Every month I meet with three other women who are also running their own business. We meet to share our goals, discuss our progress, and offer encouragement. Being accountable to someone else can give you that extra push you need to keep going. It’s difficult to get motivated when the only person who knows if you didn’t do something is you. Plus a little encouragement goes a long way.