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How To Make Time For Your Side Hustle Even When You’re Crazy Busy

I've previously mentioned the importance of having a side hustle. Not only does a side hustle keep you from standing still, but it allows you to earn extra income by doing something you're passionate about.

The side hustle is an efficient and proven way to get closer to living life to the fullest and potentially escaping the nine-to-five once and for all.

Now, I know a side hustle is a lot of work. And, if you're like most people, you already have a nine-to-five job that takes up a lot of your time.

The last thing many people want to do when they get home is do more work. If that's the case and you're not looking to make an extra thousand or so a month, a side hustle might not be for you.

Your priorities might be elsewhere, or you might be content with your current paycheck. I won't knock that.

But, if you do want extra cash or want to eventually escape the cubicle lifestyle and start working for yourself, a side hustle is a great place to start.

We've all heard the stories of people who start their side hustles while working a nine-to-five and then, they eventually turn their side hustles into main hustles.

During the first few years of my career, I worked tirelessly at a nine-to-five while I built a start-up, managed my blog, contributed to industry outlets and worked on volunteer side projects.

From there, I was able to build and learn the many lessons that would help me escape the nine-to-five once and for all.

One thing I quickly learned was how to tackle the challenge of keeping multiple balls in the air at once.

A side hustle can quickly take up a lot of your time and force you to make sacrifices others wouldn't be willing to make. At the same time, people who have side hustles must remember:

"Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't."

At least that's the dream.

I'd be lying if I told you it's easy to juggle a side hustle and a full-time job. That would be far from the truth.

The reality is, side hustles and entrepreneurship are both very time-consuming, and both are as much a game against the competition as a game against the clock.

You need to optimize your time and schedule to ensure neither your side hustle nor main hustle suffers from the chaos.

Here are a few ways to stay on your toes and make time for it all:

Get Up Really, Really Early (Or Stay Up Really, Really Late)

I know, this isn't exactly a mind-blowing tip, but hear me out for a second: The biggest drain on your time isn't the time in which you're busy getting things done; the biggest drain on your time is being interrupted (tweet this).

When you wake up early or go to bed late, the probability of someone else being awake and able to interrupt you decreases.

As such, staying up late allows for you to get work done while people are slowly crawling into bed or watching, "The Bachelor."

You will have a chance to get wired in and focus on your work. Additionally, getting up early allows you to get to your to do list before your inbox and notifications are flashing from your manager or colleagues.

Mornings and nights are my most productive time. In fact, I'm writing this article at 11:38 pm in my office with no distractions (aside from a flashing App Store update I've been avoiding for the last month).

Create Consistency In Your Weekly Calendar

When people already work nine-to-fives, it's not easy for most of them to commit an additional few hours.

Additionally, it's even more challenging for them to understand how they can give up their favorite TV shows or family time to try and earn more money. But, it's all about managing yourself.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned in the last few years is the idea that time management is foolish.

We can't manage time because time is a constant. Instead, we must learn to manage ourselves and prioritize our efforts on a daily basis.

We need to do what we think is important and ignore the things that are not. If watching a TV show is more important to you than chatting with five clients, that's your choice.

It's easy for us to get caught up with the daily hustle and bustle of life.

From coffee meetings to new projects and volunteer activities to networking events, it's very easy to get sidetracked.

Instead of allowing distractions to break up your day and disconnect your ability to get into a flow, use your calendar to block off time in your day to focus on your side hustle.

But, don't forget about the importance of your friends and family.

It's easier to ignore the people who care the most about you than it is to focus on your side hustle, but don't make that mistake.

A great way to combat your schedule and truly take control of your life is to schedule regular family time each week and make a conscious effort to do so.

Mark Suster's wife wrote a piece on his blog about tips for making it work, and the one that stood out to me was the idea of having a weekly date night. She wrote:

"Mark pushed me to agree that we’d have 'date night' once per week to make sure we protected our couple time [. . .] You need couple time. If money is tight, you can trade babysitting with friends. It’s worth the hassle."

The concept of "date night" is one that can be applied to your relationship as well as your side hustle.

Create a "Hustle Night" where you're completely focused and wired in on your work. It's a night where you never book meetings outside of those associated with your side hustle.

The Power Of Saying "No"

Say no to requests to do things you don't really want to, don't value or don't bring you satisfaction and joy.

It's not easy, but focus is something you really need to embrace when taking on new work and a new lifestyle.

You can't spend time doing things that won't benefit you down the road or help you get closer to your goals.

If you're too busy to catch up with someone, simply say you've got a lot going on right now. Honesty is always the best policy.

If it's someone you really want to connect with, but you're strapped for time, let him or her know a few dates and times you could make work. Only do it if you truly want to meet or chat with this person.

Additionally, you will need to learn how to say "no" to new opportunities. It's still one of the biggest challenges I face on a regular basis, but as Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt, once wisely tweeted:

So many opportunities. Knowing which ones to prioritize is key. — Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover) July 7, 2013

If I could suggest what I feel is the secret to life, it would be the importance of prioritization.

In high school, you have the option to prioritize between your books, romance, extracurricular activities and having fun outside of school.

If you’re able to prioritize these items properly, you reap specific benefits that go along with them.

In your career, you have the option to prioritize between doing enough to get by and going above and beyond.

You will reap the benefits that go along with that choice. Some decisions will impact short-term gratification while others impact long-term gratification.

Life continues to work this way, and our decisions help guide where we will be tomorrow.

You have options every single day. Do you want to watch "Toddlers and Tiaras" or do you want to learn a new skill? Do you want to hit snooze or do you want to go to the gym? Do you want to fall victim to FOMO and go out with friends or do you want to start a side business that changes your life?

We’re all privileged with 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. It's up to us to determine how we spend our time and what our goals and legacy will look like.

If you're capable of reading this entire post, you're capable of creating something great.

You're capable of building something bigger than yourself and you're capable of making time for a side hustle.

If you're looking for tips and tricks on how you can effectively manage a side hustle, I share my advice that helped me build my business in my upcoming book "The Hustle Manifesto."

Do you already have a side hustle? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Ross Simmonds writes at RossSimmonds.com, where he shares a research-backed studies and his personal perspective on entrepreneurship, life, communications and technology.

To get his thoughts and insight delivered directly to your inbox to help your career and life go from 0 to 100, join his free newsletter. He's also the author of the Hustle Manifesto: A Guide to Escaping the 9 to 5 in Six Months or Less.

This article was originally published on RossSimmonds.com.