By Toby Nwazor
When I first read Airbnb’s startup story about how the founders had to create a side hustle to keep their dream alive, it resonated with me. I remember how hard it was when I started my first business. For the first three months, I lived on the little savings I had, but after a while, I knew that something had to change.
My first line of action was to connect with an event planner. My weekdays were already pretty busy—I was a content developer on most weekdays—so I became part of an event management team during the weekends. I know what if feels like to need a side hustle, as I have had to juggle a lot of gigs and jobs many times in the past. The following tips are what I have learned over the years. They will help you manage your time more effectively as you run your side hustle.
1. Create an effective to-do list
An effective to-do list should be written the night before. It will help you prioritize your time and focus on the most important tasks, while eliminating the ones you can actually do without.
But there’s a catch: Make sure your to-do lists are realistic. Creating an impossible to-do list with 35 tasks to accomplish within 12 hours will drain you emotionally and get you frustrated. You don’t need that negative energy. Your list should only contain tasks and deadlines that you can actually accomplish.
2. Cut out distractions
Distractions include the television, social media notifications, and unnecessary chats with friends. When I decided to write this article, for instance, the first thing I did was put my phone on silent mode, then switch off my data. I didn’t need to see any social media or email notifications. This helped me to focus on what I was doing in a shorter amount of time, so I had the time to move on to the next task.
3. Are you a morning or a night person? It matters
Personally, I am a morning person. It means I feel more energetic in the morning and can wake up as early as 2 am to work. I have discovered over the years that I can accomplish more very early in the morning than I can accomplish at night, no matter how much I try.
Find out where you fall: morning or night? Then schedule your most important jobs to be done at the time when you can be the most productive.
4. Stop multitasking
When it comes to time management and increased productivity, “monotasking” is the way to go. This doesn’t mean you can’t be driving and listening to a podcast—that’s different. But don’t try to combine two jobs at the same time. For instance, you should not be designing a client’s graphics work while helping another client write a college essay in another tab. Stick to one job until you complete it. Tick it off your list before you start something else.
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5. Outsource what you can afford to
Can you do everything yourself? Probably. But do you need to do everything yourself? Absolutely not. There are things you do for yourself that take your time, like house cleaning, the laundry, or even more professional stuff like handling your own web design. If these things can be outsourced or delegated, and you can afford to do so, go ahead.
6. Maximize stolen moments
As a side hustler, you will never have time to do all the things you want to do. But you can create more time by making the best use of your stolen moments. For instance, you can listen to a course while driving, or the time spent waiting for a flight or a train could be used to make cold calls or book appointments with a prospect. Don’t let those ten minutes wait.
7. Say no
There are some tasks you shouldn’t accept, and there are some clients you have to say no to. I have done some side hustling jobs for clients who were just problematic, and they took so much time from me, I regretted accepting their work in the first place. These types of jobs and clients should be avoided. Saying no to some side gigs could mean that you will have the opportunity to say yes to better gigs.
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