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Unlocking the Hours: How to Make Time for Your Side Hustle and Still Maintain Balance

Unlocking the Hours: How to Make Time for Your Side Hustle and Still Maintain Balance

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Unlocking the Hours: How to Make Time for Your Side Hustle and Still Maintain Balance

How To Make Time For Your Side Hustle

Faced with the demands of your full-time job, your family commitments, and taking care of your health and well-being, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. to turn make your side hustle idea a reality. 

And yet thousands of people launch successful side businesses every year, and they only have the same 24 hours in their day as you and I, so how do they do it?

This was the one question that kept me up at night when I first started exploring ways to make extra cash outside of my 9-5 day job

Fortunately, there were quite a few answers out there. 

Below, I’ll share with you some of the most effective ways to make time for a side hustle that I’ve personally used over the years, along with tools, techniques, and strategies you can employ to use your side hustle time more efficiently. 

Related: Are side hustles worth it?

8 Most Effective Ways to Make Time for A Side Hustle 

1. Eliminate Distractions 

The web may have opened up a whole new world of possibilities for making extra money in our spare time, but it also places us one click away from an infinite number of distractions. 

Speaking from experience, I know how easy it is to log on to social media with the sole intention of making a post for my side business, only to realize 30 minutes later that I’ve been endlessly scrolling through my news feed. 

I’ve also fallen down more than my fair share of rabbit holes when researching something online. 

Ultimately, I got tired of wasting time with constant digital distractions and used the following strategies to eliminate them so that I could maximize every precious second of my side hustle time. 

A. Set a Goal

It’s much easier to get distracted if you don’t have a specific outcome planned for the period of time that you’re working on your side gig. 

That outcome doesn’t have to be huge. 

If you only have a spare ten minutes, it might be that your goal is to send an email, whereas if you have two or three hours to spend, you may focus on sending a set number of pitches to potential clients or drafting a new blog post.

B. Use the Pomodoro Technique  

The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that can help improve focus and productivity. It involves breaking your work into 25-minute intervals, known as “Pomodoros,” followed by short breaks. 

During each Pomodoro, you work on a specific task without any distractions or interruptions. 

Once the 25 minutes are up, you take a short break of around 5 minutes before starting the next Pomodoro. After completing four Pomodoros, you can take a longer break of around 15-30 minutes.

As the average human attention span gets shorter and shorter, working in these brief 20-minute internals makes it easier to focus on the task at hand.

Tomato Timer


My favorite tool for using the Pomodoro method is the online Tomato Timer which uses a simple interface to manage your work/break intervals as well as audio notifications so that you’ll know when it’s time to take a break even if you’re looking at a different browser tab.

C. Deploy Website Blockers

When all else fails, use apps and browser extensions like BlockSite.

Site Blocker

Once installed, you can schedule BlockSite to block access to your biggest sources of distraction during the times you’re supposed to be working. 

2. Wake Up Earlier

As I discussed in How to Turn Your Passion into Profit, waking up early to work on my side project before clocking into my 9-5 made a major difference in helping me launch several successful small businesses. 

Although it’s essential to get enough sleep, setting the alarm an hour earlier frees up extra time to dedicate to your passion project before the regular workday begins. 

To make the most of your early-morning hustle, take some time the night before to decide what you’re going to accomplish the next day and set up your work station with the tools you need so that you can get right to work once you’ve grabbed your morning coffee. 

3. Stay Up Later

Of course, not everyone considers themselves to be a “morning person.” 

If you’re one of them, simply switch things around and dedicate an hour or two at night.

If you’re working on the side as a rideshare driver for the likes of Lyft or Uber, or for delivery services such as Doordash, this may be the most effective way to succeed as such services tend to experience peak demand in the evening hours.

4. Tick off Small Tasks During Downtime

Whether it’s sitting in the doctor’s waiting room or sitting in the school parking lot waiting to pick the kids up, we all experience those moments of downtime where it feels like there’s not much to do.

In his game-changing book, Getting Things Done, time management expert David Allen recommends using these brief periods to blast through small tasks like responding to emails.

Other ways you could make the most of your downtime include: 

  • Creating a list of ideas for blogs, YouTube videos, or other marketing materials 
  • Engaging with your audience on social media
  • Reading articles or listening to podcasts relevant to your side gig
  • Planning and scheduling upcoming tasks or projects
  • Researching potential clients or collaborators.

It helps to use the Notes app on your phone or a dedicated note-taking platform like Evernote to create a list of these quick micro-tasks so that you’ll always have something to do when the opportunity strikes. 

Also see: How to start a small business at home

5. Work During Your Commute

Another golden opportunity to take care of those small tasks can be found on your way to work. 

Depending on public transport availability, taking the bus or train to work instead of driving means you can let somebody else worry about the rush hour traffic while you focus on growing your business.

If you do have to take the car, you can still use your morning drive to expand your knowledge by listening to podcasts or audiobooks related to your side gig.

6. Discover the Value of Saying ‘No’

One of the easiest ways to free up more time for your side hustle is to add fewer social engagements to your calendar and turn down more invitations for activities that don’t contribute to your long-term goals. 

That’s not to say you have to become a complete hermit, spending every spare minute in isolation working on your project. That’s unhealthy and can leave you feeling miserable and burned out. 

So, while you should still spend some time with friends and family and get some fresh air in a while, saying “no” to anything that doesn’t make you jump for joy with excitement will not only give you more time but also give you plenty of practice in being assertive and making tough decisions which will serve you well in becoming your own boss. 

7. Use Your Weekends Wisely

Working seven or more hours a day, seven days a week, isn’t good for anyone, and I recommend taking at least some time during the weekend to completely switch off. 

Doing so will help you relax and recharge so that you can hit the ground running with more energy and focus when you do get back to work. 

However, there are 48 hours in a weekend, so that’s plenty of time to develop a happy and healthy balance between growing your side business and enjoying some much-needed R&R. 

For example, you may choose to work on Saturdays and relax on Sundays, or perhaps divide both days, spending a few hours each morning on making extra income and enjoying your free time in the afternoons. 

Related: How to quickly get your business idea off the ground

8. Automate Time-Consuming Tasks

The web is full of automation tools that can save you valuable time when building a successful side hustle. 

For example, platforms like Buffer allow you to schedule months of social media posts in advance. 

Sure, this requires you to spend a few hours initially creating all your content and scheduling it, but after that, your social accounts can run on autopilot.


This means that you’ll then have more time to focus on other mission-critical tasks, as well as avoid those news feed rabbit holes we’re all guilty of falling into every now and again. 

Other useful automation tools you can use include: =

9. Delegate What You Can

Finally, consider making more time for your business by offloading certain responsibilities to others. 

From a business standpoint, this may mean using services like Fiverr to hire virtual assistants and other freelancers who can complete some of your more time-consuming tasks for you. 

In your personal life, it could be that you delegate tasks like grocery shopping to your favorite store’s delivery service or use sites such as Rover to hire a dog walker so that you can get some work done while Fido enjoys his daily exercise. 

Related: Things to consider before starting a side hustle

How to Make Time For Your Side Hustle: Final Thoughts

Whether you’re setting the alarm for 6 AM instead of 7 AM, getting things done in your downtime, or outsourcing tasks to other people, there are a number of ways to make time for a side hustle.

Related: Can a conflict of interest stop your side business?

However, if there’s one lesson that I hope you picked up on in this guide, it’s that the last thing anyone should be doing is spending every single second of every single day with their nose to the proverbial grindstone. 

Related: 10 reasons why you should start a side business

Doing so not only has a negative on your health, well-being, and relationships but can also leave you feeling burned out, meaning you won’t be performing at your best even when you do have the time to build your business. 

Instead, focus on picking just one or two of the suggestions above. For example, if you’re going to get up early every day, leave your weekends free to relax, or if you’re sacrificing your weekends, at least take time off during your weekday evenings. 

That way, you’ll remain healthy, productive, and better equipped to turn that amazing side hustle idea into a successful reality. 

For more tips, see my complete beginner’s guide to starting a side business.


Unlocking the Hours: How to Make Time for Your Side Hustle and Still Maintain Balance

Unlocking the Hours: How to Make Time for Your Side Hustle and Still Maintain Balance

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