Having a side hustle is a brilliant idea.
Even if you don’t work it hard, it’s likely to be a steady little stream of additional income, some independence from the 9-5 – and maybe even the beginnings of something ground-breaking.
Getting started is one thing – but if you do want to take your side project to the next level, you’re going to have to make a few more tweaks:
1. Perfect your transitions
For a triathlete, the transition between swimming to cycling then cycling to running can make or break a race. Spend ages trying to peel a wetsuit off when you can’t reach the zip and you’ll watch vital seconds evaporating from your time.
Having a side hustle is similar. You’ve got to be ready to switch from one role to the next – and chalk any wasted time up in between to experience.
The key is to reduce this time.
Okay, so that might mean coming home on public transport – and screaming at the driver to go faster, in our experience, rarely works. So why not take that time to update your business social media instead?
Having a desk set up at home that’s ‘side hustle workspace’ means you can sit down and, hopefully, snap straight into work mode.
Understand that procrastinating as you move between roles is essentially taking money out of your pocket. Stay sharp.
2. Find a safe haven
Almost all side-projects start at home – which can be painful, because that’s where there’s often the most distractions.
If home isn’t the right environment for you to work in, find somewhere that is.
Perhaps that means heading to a local coffee shop? Maybe a public library? You might find your gym or a local hotel doesn’t mind you using their space while ordering the occasional sandwich and coffee.
Keeping your head in a good space is really important if you want to maximise your time.
3. Set your alarm
A study by a UK insurance company discovered that 7:15 am is the average time we get out of bed. On the other hand, most successful company CEOs report getting out of bed at around 5 am.
So, what’s right for you? That’s really for you to decide – but keep this in mind, being up at 5 am gives you another 2 hours before anyone else is up – over a year of working days, that’s the equivalent of working an additional 14 weeks on your side hustle.
And not only are the 14 weeks being invested in something that’s entirely your own – but unless you’re dealing with a lot of CEOs, your phone, email, Facebook and other distractions are unlikely to break your flow.
4. Health = Productivity
I know, who’s got time to go to the gym when there’s already too few hours in the day?
Well, here’s some good news, studies show that every 10-minutes spent exercising in the morning pays itself back double during your working day. So, squeeze in a 20-minute run and you’ll up your productivity by 40-minutes in the ensuing day.
The reason is all to do with the hormones that are released during exercise. Dopamine and serotonin improve your mood and focus through the day – leading to great levels of work.
If you choose to exercise in the evening you’re still going to see some striking benefits – as exertion improves your sleep quality. The more rested you are, the more focused you’ll be.
5. Consistency is your friend
It’s a common misconception that increasing your output means trying to shoe-horn as much into your day as is physically possible.
Not only is this not true – but wearing yourself out trying to ‘binge-work’ can actually be counterproductive, as it depletes your energy excessively and can leave you fatigued for days.
Instead of thinking about how much work you can hammer during one day – think about what putting in a steady amount of effort over a prolonged period of time will offer you instead. 10 minutes a day spent on your project equates to nearly 40 hours each year – so why not take that figure and scale it up and down as you see fit.
Don’t forget though – 10 minutes isn’t 10 minutes if you spend 4 minutes of it making a coffee – so don’t let those transitions slip!
6. Set goals
There are some definite perks of working for a big company. It’s always nice to get some recognition when you do something well – and the social events can really boost morale.
So, when it’s just you, your idea and your computer – the little perks that are usually found over the brow of each metaphorical hill are replaced with just more work.
Endlessly striving for success is hard, especially when you have no definition of success.
The answer is setting yourself some goals. They might not be enormous things – perhaps a day off to do something away from your desk – or a date with a loved one when an invoice is paid. Set the goal and make sure you stick to it, it’s easy to neglect looking after yourself.
7. Create some ‘brain space’
Albert Einstein once quipped that there was no need to remember his own telephone number because he could always look it up in the phone book.
Given that old Albert wasn’t short on IQ, it’s no surprise that there’s a good amount of truth in this concept.
If you can keep you brain focused on the most important things (and in this instance, we mean your side hustle) – then you can expect increased performance, namely; productivity, creativity and efficiency.
Now, that’s not to say that you should drop out of society and neglect the basics to make sure you can dedicate every ounce of IQ to your own business – but it does mean you can assess parts of your life and decide whether they’re truly worth your mental application.
So, perhaps you deeply despise keeping you accounts up to date. Or maybe you just can’t stomach tackling a busy supermarket. Whatever it is that grinds your gears – see if you can eradicate it. Sure, it might cost you a little financially, but balance that against the benefits of freeing your brain up for bigger things.