10 Ways to Find Time for Your Side Hustle ...

10 Ways to Find Time for Your Side Hustle

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Finding time for a side hustle amidst a bustling schedule can seem like a daunting task. Yet, the desire to pursue passions or supplement income is more compelling than ever in today’s fast-paced world. 

The key to unlocking this potential lies not in finding more hours in the day but in optimising the ones we already have. In this article, you will learn:

  • Key strategies for carving out time in your busy schedule.
  • Real-life examples of successful side hustlers who’ve made it work.
  • How to stay motivated and avoid burnout while juggling multiple commitments.

Armed with the right approach and a handful of actionable tips, you’re about to discover that the dream of managing a side hustle alongside your main commitments is well within reach. Let’s dive into the first step towards making your side hustle a reality.

How does this introduction look to you? Would you like any changes, or should we proceed to the next section?

Assess Your Current Schedule

The first step in finding time for your side hustle is understanding where your time currently goes. 

Many of us underestimate how much time we spend on various activities throughout the day, from scrolling through social media to attending non-essential meetings. 

By conducting a time audit, you can get a clear picture of your daily habits and identify pockets of time that could be better utilised.

Tools and Methods for Tracking Daily Activities

  • Manual Tracking: For one week, carry a notebook or use a digital note-taking app to record everything you do and how long each activity takes. Be as detailed as possible, even including those 5-minute coffee breaks.
  • Time Tracking Apps: Tools like Toggl, RescueTime, or ATracker can automate the tracking process. These apps run in the background, categorising your activities and providing insights into your productivity patterns.
  • Analyse Your Data: At the end of the week, review your recorded activities and look for trends. How much time is spent on work, leisure, chores, and other obligations? Are there any surprises or time sinks that you hadn’t accounted for?

The goal here is not to judge how you spend your time but to understand it. This understanding is crucial for making informed decisions about where your side hustle fits into your life. 

You might discover that certain activities can be condensed, eliminated, or delegated, freeing up valuable time for your side hustle.

Implementing a time audit is a powerful first step in making room for your side hustle. 

With a clear understanding of your current schedule, you can begin to prioritise tasks and carve out dedicated time slots for your side project.

Prioritise Your Tasks

Once you have a clear understanding of how you spend your time, the next step is to prioritise your tasks

This involves distinguishing between what’s urgent and what’s important, and ensuring that your side hustle gets the attention it deserves without sacrificing essential daily activities.

Techniques for Identifying High-Priority Tasks

  • The 80/20 Rule: Also known as the Pareto Principle, this rule suggests that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of all efforts. Identify tasks that yield the highest output or satisfaction and prioritise those.
  • Important vs. Urgent: Use the Eisenhower Box to categorise tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. Focus on tasks that are important but not urgent to advance your goals without getting caught in a cycle of constant firefighting.

The Eisenhower Box Method

  • Quadrant 1 (Important and Urgent): Tasks that need immediate attention. Handle these tasks first.
  • Quadrant 2 (Important but Not Urgent): Activities that contribute to your long-term goals and values. Allocate most of your time here, especially for side hustle activities.
  • Quadrant 3 (Urgent but Not Important): Interruptions that demand immediate attention but don’t contribute to your overall goals. Delegate or minimise these when possible.
  • Quadrant 4 (Not Urgent and Not Important): These are the distractions. Eliminate these from your schedule as much as possible.

By applying these prioritisation techniques, you can create a more focused and efficient schedule that accommodates the critical tasks related to both your main job and your side hustle. 

Prioritising effectively ensures that you’re not just busy, but productive, allowing you to advance towards your goals in a balanced and deliberate manner.

Set Clear Goals for Your Side Hustle

With your schedule audited and your tasks prioritised, the next crucial step is to set clear, achievable goals for your side hustle. 

Goals not only provide direction but also serve as a motivational tool and a measure of your progress. The SMART framework is a powerful method to ensure your goals are well-defined and attainable.

SMART Goals Framework

  • Specific: Your goals should be clear and specific to avoid confusion about what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of saying, “I want to grow my side hustle,” specify what growth looks like, such as “I want to gain 50 new clients.”
  • Measurable: Attach metrics to your goals so you can track your progress. For example, “Increase website traffic by 20% within the next six months.”
  • Achievable: While it’s good to aim high, your goals should be realistic and attainable to avoid discouragement.
  • Relevant: Ensure your goals align with your values and long-term objectives. This keeps you focused and invested in your hustle’s success.
  • Time-bound: Set deadlines for your goals to create a sense of urgency and help you maintain momentum.

Keeping Your Objectives in Sight for Motivation

  • Visualise Your Success: Create a vision board or use a digital tool to visualise your goals. This can be a powerful motivator, especially on days when your energy or enthusiasm wanes.
  • Review and Adjust Regularly: Life is dynamic, and your side hustle will be too. Set regular intervals to review your goals and adjust them as needed. This flexibility allows you to stay responsive to changes and challenges.

Setting SMART goals for your side hustle is more than just a planning exercise; it’s a commitment to your growth and success. 

By clearly defining what you want to achieve and setting a roadmap to get there, you’re laying a solid foundation for your side hustle to thrive.

Eliminate Time Wasters

Identifying and minimising distractions is crucial for making room for your side hustle. 

Time wasters are activities that don’t add value to your personal or professional life and can significantly impede your progress. 

By recognizing and reducing these time sinks, you can free up more hours for your side projects.

Identifying and Reducing Distractions

  • Social Media and Entertainment: While social media and entertainment can offer valuable breaks, they often consume more time than intended. Track your usage and set strict limits.
  • Unnecessary Meetings: Evaluate whether each meeting you attend is necessary and if your presence is required. Suggest email updates or delegate attendance when possible.
  • Multitasking: Though it might seem efficient, multitasking can lead to lower quality work and longer completion times. Focus on one task at a time for better productivity.

Practical Tips for Minimising Social Media Usage

  • Use Apps to Limit Usage: Tools like Freedom or StayFocusd can block distracting websites or apps during work hours.
  • Schedule Check-ins: Instead of constantly checking social media, allocate specific times for these activities. This helps prevent the habitual scrolling that eats up valuable time.
  • Turn Off Notifications: Disable non-essential notifications on your phone and computer to reduce interruptions and the urge to check your devices.

Minimising distractions is not about eliminating breaks or leisure activities but about being intentional with your time. 

By recognizing and controlling time wasters, you create more space for productive work on your side hustle, moving you closer to your goals.

Use the Pomodoro Technique

One of the most effective ways to maximise productivity, especially when juggling multiple responsibilities, is through the Pomodoro Technique. 

This time management method breaks work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. 

It’s particularly useful for side hustlers looking to make the most out of limited time.

Overview of the Pomodoro Technique

  • Work for 25 minutes: Focus solely on your task for this duration, free from all distractions.
  • Take a 5-minute break: After each 25-minute work period, take a short break to rest and recharge. This helps maintain high levels of focus throughout longer sessions.
  • Repeat: Continue this cycle four times, and then take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This longer break aids in mental recovery and prevents burnout.

How Short Breaks Can Increase Productivity

  • Prevents Fatigue: Regular breaks ensure that the brain remains fresh and engaged.
  • Boosts Creativity: Stepping away from work momentarily can stimulate creativity and provide new perspectives on challenging tasks.
  • Enhances Focus: Knowing there’s a break coming up can help maintain focus during work intervals, making each Pomodoro session more productive.

The Pomodoro Technique is not just about working hard but working smart. 

By dedicating undivided attention to your tasks in short bursts, you can achieve more in less time, making it an ideal strategy for progressing your side hustle amidst a busy schedule.

Do you think this method aligns with your side hustle goals, or would you like to explore other productivity techniques in the next sections?

Wake Up Earlier or Stay Up Later

Finding the right time to work on your side hustle can be a game-changer in your productivity and progress. 

For many, the solution lies in adjusting their daily routine to either wake up earlier or stay up later. 

This strategy hinges on identifying your peak productivity periods and leveraging quiet hours when distractions are minimal.

Finding Your Peak Productivity Hours

  • Morning Person vs. Night Owl: Understand whether you’re more alert and focused in the morning or at night. Aligning your side hustle work with these periods can significantly enhance your efficiency.
  • Experiment: Try shifting your schedule to work on your side hustle at different times of the day. Monitor your productivity levels to find your optimal working hours.

Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule Responsibly

  • Gradual Changes: If you decide to wake up earlier or stay up later, adjust your sleep schedule gradually to avoid fatigue. Shift your bedtime or wake-up time by 15 minutes every few days until you reach your desired schedule.
  • Maintain Sleep Quality: Ensure you’re still getting enough restful sleep. Sacrificing sleep quality for extra working hours can lead to burnout and decreased overall productivity.

Leveraging early mornings or late evenings can provide you with uninterrupted time to focus on your side hustle. 

Whether you’re a morning lark ready to tackle tasks at dawn or a night owl finding your stride as the day winds down, tailoring your work hours to fit your biological clock can make a substantial difference in your side hustle journey.

Leverage Your Commute and Downtime

For those with a side hustle, every minute counts. Your commute and other pockets of downtime throughout the day can be transformed into productive sessions for your side project. 

Whether you’re travelling by train, waiting in line, or sitting through your child’s soccer practice, these moments can be utilised efficiently with a bit of planning.

Tips for Using “Dead Time” Effectively

  • Podcasts and Audiobooks: If your side hustle involves staying updated on industry trends, listen to relevant podcasts or audiobooks during your commute. This is a hands-free way to gather information and inspiration.
  • Mobile Apps: Use mobile apps related to your side hustle for research, note-taking, or even networking on social media. Many tasks can be done with just a smartphone.
  • Planning and Strategizing: Use downtime to plan your next steps or brainstorm ideas. Keeping a digital or physical notebook handy can help you capture thoughts and to-dos that you can act on later.

Podcasts, Audiobooks, and Mobile Apps That Can Aid Your Hustle

  • Educational Podcasts: Look for podcasts that offer insights into entrepreneurship, marketing, or other areas relevant to your side hustle.
  • Audiobook Services: Platforms like Audible offer a wide range of audiobooks that you can listen to on the go.
  • Productivity Apps: Apps like Evernote for note-taking, Trello for project management, or Canva for graphic design can be great tools to use during short bursts of free time.

Turning commute and downtime into productive periods not only advances your side hustle but also makes these often monotonous parts of the day more engaging and rewarding. 

By making the most of every moment, you’re not just waiting passively; you’re actively moving closer to your goals.

Say No to Unnecessary Commitments

One of the most powerful yet challenging strategies for finding time for your side hustle is learning to say no to unnecessary commitments. 

Your time is a finite resource, and every hour you commit to activities that don’t align with your goals is an hour not spent on your side hustle. 

Cultivating the ability to decline invitations and requests that don’t serve your objectives is crucial for protecting your time.

The Power of Saying No

  • Protects Your Priorities: By saying no to less important activities, you ensure that your priorities, like your side hustle, remain at the forefront of your schedule.
  • Increases Productivity: Reducing commitments frees up space in your life, allowing you to focus more on the tasks that matter and execute them more efficiently.
  • Enhances Well-being: Overcommitting can lead to stress and burnout. Saying no helps maintain a healthier balance between work, your side hustle, and personal time.

Balancing Social Life with Side Hustle Ambitions

  • Communicate Openly: Be honest with friends and family about your side hustle goals and why you might need to decline certain invitations. Most people will understand and support your dedication.
  • Quality Over Quantity: When you do choose to participate in social activities, make those moments count. Opt for meaningful interactions over frequent engagements.

Saying no isn’t about isolating yourself or rejecting every request that comes your way. 

It’s about making intentional choices, ensuring that your commitments align with your goals, and allowing yourself the time and space to pursue what’s truly important to you.

Delegate or Outsource

As your side hustle grows, you’ll quickly realise that trying to do everything yourself is not only impractical but also a bottleneck to your progress. 

Delegating or outsourcing tasks can free up your time, allowing you to focus on the areas where you add the most value. 

Identifying tasks that can be handled by others and finding the right resources are key steps in this process.

Identifying Tasks That Can Be Delegated

  • Repetitive Tasks: Activities that follow a set process and don’t require your personal touch can often be automated or handed off to someone else.
  • Specialised Tasks: Consider outsourcing tasks that require expertise outside your skill set. This not only saves you time but also ensures a higher quality outcome.

Resources for Finding Affordable Outsourcing Options

  • Freelance Platforms: Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer connect you with freelancers who have the skills you need. You can find help for everything from web design to bookkeeping.
  • Virtual Assistants: A virtual assistant can handle a variety of tasks, from managing emails to scheduling appointments. Services like Zirtual and Belay provide access to professional assistants.

Leveraging Technology for Automation

  • Automate Social Media: Use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts in advance.
  • Email Management: Tools like MailChimp or ConvertKit can automate your email marketing campaigns, saving you a considerable amount of time.

Delegating and outsourcing are not about relinquishing control but about smartly managing your resources. 

By entrusting certain tasks to others, you can focus on strategic planning, creative thinking, and other high-impact activities that drive your side hustle forward.

Stay Organised and Maintain a To-Do List

The final piece of the puzzle in finding time for your side hustle is staying organised and maintaining a comprehensive to-do list. 

This practice not only helps you keep track of your tasks but also ensures that you’re constantly progressing towards your goals. 

Effective organisation minimises wasted time and keeps you focused on what needs to be done next.

Best Practices for Daily Planning

  • Prioritise Tasks: Start each day by identifying the tasks that need immediate attention. Use the Eisenhower Box or the ABCDE method to prioritise your tasks based on urgency and importance.
  • Break Down Big Tasks: Large projects can feel overwhelming and may lead to procrastination. Break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks to make progress easier to achieve.

Tools and Apps for Organisation

  • Digital To-Do Lists: Apps like Todoist, Asana, or Trello allow you to create tasks, set deadlines, and categorise your work. These tools are especially useful for visualising your progress and keeping everything in one place.
  • Calendar Apps: Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook can be used not just for appointments but also for blocking out time dedicated to your side hustle. This ensures you allocate specific times for focused work.

Maintaining Momentum

  • Review and Adjust Regularly: At the end of each day or week, review what you’ve accomplished and what’s still pending. Adjust your plans as needed to stay on track.
  • Set Achievable Daily Goals: Instead of an overwhelming list, focus on a small set of achievable goals each day. This keeps motivation high and makes it easier to see your progress.

Staying organised and methodically tackling your tasks can dramatically increase your productivity and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. 

By implementing a system that works for you, you can ensure that every moment spent on your side hustle moves you closer to your goals.


Starting on a side hustle journey requires more than just passion and a good idea—it demands meticulous time management and prioritisation. 

Throughout this article, we’ve explored ten foundational strategies to carve out and effectively utilise time for your side hustle. 

From conducting a thorough audit of your current schedule and setting SMART goals, to leveraging downtime and saying no to non-essential commitments, each strategy is a step towards turning your side hustle dreams into reality.

  • Conducting a time audit reveals where your hours are going, offering insights into potential time-saving adjustments.
  • Setting SMART goals for your side hustle ensures your efforts are focused and aligned with your ambitions.
  • Eliminating distractions and using techniques like the Pomodoro method help maintain a high productivity level, making the most of the time you dedicate to your side hustle.
  • Adjusting your routine to work during your peak productivity times, whether that means waking up earlier or staying up later, can provide undisturbed hours for focused work.
  • Optimising commute and downtime turns otherwise idle moments into opportunities for progress.
  • Finally, learning to delegate or outsource tasks frees up your time to focus on what you do best, and staying organised ensures you’re always working towards your next milestone.

As you apply these strategies, remember that the journey of building a successful side hustle is a marathon, not a sprint. 

It’s about making consistent, incremental progress through smart, strategic time management.

Hypothetical Examples

  1. Conducting a Time Audit:

Imagine Sarah, a graphic designer with a passion for illustration. She feels she has no time for her side hustle due to her busy schedule. After conducting a week-long time audit, Sarah discovers she spends an average of two hours daily scrolling through social media. Armed with this insight, she reallocates one hour each day to her illustration projects, effectively finding seven extra hours per week to dedicate to her passion.

  1. Using the Pomodoro Technique:

Alex, a freelance writer working on launching a content marketing consultancy, struggles with procrastination and easily gets overwhelmed by large tasks. By adopting the Pomodoro Technique, Alex sets a timer for 25 minutes and focuses solely on writing proposals for potential clients, followed by a 5-minute break. This method not only boosts Alex’s productivity but also reduces his work-related stress, allowing him to progress more steadily towards his consultancy goals.

  1. Leveraging Commute Time:

Jordan commutes for an hour each way to their day job and dreams of starting a podcast about sustainable living. Instead of listening to music or browsing the internet during the commute, Jordan starts to listen to podcasts related to their interest and takes notes on potential topics, guests, and formats for their own show. This shift transforms idle commute time into valuable research and planning sessions for Jordan’s side hustle.

These examples serve to demonstrate the practical application of strategies we’ve outlined, offering readers tangible ways to integrate these approaches into their own lives.

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