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Productivity Hacks to Help You Start a Side Hustle When You Work 9 to 5

Updated on August 24, 2020
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Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners.

While it would likely seem daunting to attempt starting your own business venture while still gainfully employed in a full-time job, the fact remains that many new businesses often start out as side-hustles. In fact, many experts agree that starting a business while still employed somewhere else increases your chance of success.

If you are in this position, it’s good to know others before you have succeeded, so it is absolutely possible that you too will find a way to make it work. Apart from finding the time and planning ahead, how can you get that side hustle to the point where it’s your full time, profitable career?

Well, to start with, you need to learn how. Here are our top tips.

Compartmentalise your time

Block out some “do not disturb” time for yourself by telling everyone that you’ll be unavailable. Then by isolating each task, you’ll be able to focus entirely on one thing at a time, without always having to break your concentration to deal with something else. These focus periods will not only minimise your interruptions, but you can also engage in deeper work that gets tasks done faster.

If you only have a few hours each week to work on your side hustle, remember that every single minute counts, so you need to be making the most of every bit of that time. Don’t fall into tired old excuses like saying there’s no point starting something because you won’t have time to finish it. Get started on it now. Even if you’ve only got a few minutes left to spend on your side hustle, use that time as wisely as possible.

To help with this, you should…

Utilise a dot journal

We all have a generalised idea of what we do each day, but knowing for sure how much time you are spending on each task is a crucial component of effectively managing your side hustle. One of the most effective ways of mapping out your time is by starting a dot journal and writing down everything you spend your time on in 15-minute blocks. It might seem a little intimidating at first, or even like extra work, that’s a waste of time, but once you make it a habit every day, you will start to see the benefits.

A dot journal provides you with a realistic idea of the number of tasks you are able to get done each day so you can make the absolute most out of your time. Remember that everyone has exactly the same 24 hours available to them each day, so if you didn’t have time to get something done doesn’t really mean that the time wasn’t available, but rather that you simply prioritised it less than something else. That’s why time management is easily one of the most crucial life skills you can ever learn.

Something else that helps with your time management is creating…

Morning and evening routines

To ensure your productivity levels are always at their peak each day, you should implement some key routines into your day. Simply by starting and ending each day with set routines, you’ll find that not only are you more focused, but ultimately, you’ll get more work done. An evening routine that’s well planned out will ensure you get enough sleep each night and put the wheels in motion to hit the ground running for a fresh start each morning.

Creating evening and morning routines is also the best way to avoid decision fatigue by eliminating any extra non-work-related choices each day. Plus, you’ll have a winning combination of must-do chores and self-care tasks at the bookends of each day, so you’re setting yourself up to be as productive as necessary during these times. Once you’ve done these routines for a while, they will eventually become so much like a habit that you’ll be able to turn your brain off and just set them to autopilot.

Another method for ensuring you’re at your most productive is to…

Turn off notifications when you need to concentrate

The most efficient way to manage your work time is to start by minimising how easily it is for you to get distracted, which means you need to shut off the majority of notifications.

Just remember that notifications aren’t set up for you. They’re created by developers so that they can get your attention back on their app or program. The sooner you realise this, the easier it will be to cut them out of your life.

If you want to remain consistently laser-focused on your side hustle when you have the chance to work, you’ll need to plan your day better. Allocate a limited block of time in the morning for news, emails, messages, and your social media apps so you can check up on what you missed overnight. But then you need to turn off all these notifications so you can concentrate on your side hustle. The only notifications you should be allowing to bother you during work are urgent phone calls and text messages.

In fact, you should really…

Delete social media & games off your phone

In the digital age of today, we are all constantly checking our smartphones any chance we get, from Instagram and YouTube to emails and Candy Crush. Many of these apps have been designed specifically to be as addictive as possible, with the instant promise of infinite stimuli and information, so it’s easy to become distracted. If you find yourself constantly distracted by apps, or your phone always seems to end up in your hands, it’s a good indication that it’s time to uninstall them completely.

Deleting social media apps and games off your phone doesn’t mean you’re disconnected from the online world, but it just means you have a barrier of entry when you want to scroll through Instagram when you’re bored. If you do need to check your feed, you can always access Instagram or Facebook through your browser.

Once your distractions are gone, it’s time to start…

Batching your tasks

Batching your tasks is easily one of the most effective and efficient methods of handling your workload. Basically, batching means positioning all of your similar recurring tasks and dealing with them all together at the same time. That way, you are focused on the same tasks, and they are much easier to complete together, so they are all out of the way in one go.

The best way to start implementing batching for yourself is by taking note of every task you need to do each week. If any of them follow the same process, you put those tasks together for batching at the same time. This productivity hack will help ensure that repetitive tasks are completed much faster because it’s so easier to concentrate on one process at a time, than it is to lose momentum by switching between different tasks.

The best way to ensure your work never seems like it’s a chore is to always…

Pursue your passion

While some may not have the luxury of launching a new business venture for their passion project, you want to ensure it’s something you want to be doing, rather than something you don’t. The perfect starting point for any side hustle is to try and find a business idea that gets you excited because you’ll need that excitement to keep you focused and drive you forward in the future.

If you still haven’t decided what your new business will be, try using Google search trends to find a service or product that seems to have a steadily increasing growth in demand. These are the most likely side hustles to become successful businesses that are worth investing both your time and your money, so choose one of them that you believe you will be passionate about.

Just remember that in the end…

It’s all up to you

Not only are you minimising your risk by starting your own side hustle while you have the security of another primary source of income. But it also gives you much more breathing room for you to test all aspects of your business idea before launching. Hopefully one day your side hustle will become large enough to be your full-time gig. Good luck!



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Felix Yim

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