There are numerous reasons to work a side gig apart from your day job. Maybe you work in insurance, but your passion lies with handmade crafts, and you decide to sell the ones you make in your free time. Maybe your regular position is not paying the bills, so you need some extra cash to make ends meet. Perhaps you just want to, and you enjoy exercising your entrepreneurial skills while being a full-time employee. Side gigs have their benefits, but combined with your other career, they will take up your time.
So how do you balance both without overwhelming yourself? You still need a social life (yes, need, because interaction outside of work is healthy), and plenty of sleep is essential. If there is a lot on your plate to deal with, here are some time management tips that should help you enjoy your jobs while avoiding extreme stress.
Find the best time to run your errands
This part is challenging for many people, but you do not need—and may not be able—to run all of your errands at once. Yes, it’s convenient to do your grocery shopping, dry cleaning, and other tasks all in one go, but dividing your to-do list throughout the week may be necessary to strike a balance between your jobs (which is especially imperative if they require consistent work hours). You have more idle time than you realize, so instead of browsing funny images on the internet, take care of errands or chores when you have a moment (and therefore free up your weekends).
Work when you are productive
Everyone has a specific time of day where they are the most productive. Are your “peak hours” early in the morning, during midday, or later in the evening? If you cannot tell, take note of when you are the most focused, motivated, and eager to tackle your daily tasks. Once you determine when your peak hours are, schedule your most important work during this time (whether it is for your day job or your side business).
Jodi Wehling from People Matters dubs your most productive time as your “golden hours”—and they belong to you, no one else. Unless your job depends on you calling clients or accepting calls, Wehling recommends that you guard your golden hours “with your life. Block the time and mark it as ‘busy.’ Resist the temptation to book this time for a meeting. This is your time. It is worth twice as much as other times in terms of what you can get accomplished.” You will be amazed at what you can do when you do not just remove distractions, but refuse them.
Take advantage of the right tools
You have numerous tools at your disposal, so take advantage of them. If you are the kind of person who prefers to write things down, then buy a day planner to keep yourself organized. If you are someone who thoroughly enjoys living in the digital age, Scouted suggests tools like Asana or G Suite (which offers many of the same services as Microsoft Office, but for free). Acuity Scheduling is an app that lets you mark when you are free to meet with clients, so you can save yourself some time over-managing your meetings.
You can save yourself time on the financial aspects of your side business as well. Instead of paying transaction fees (or charging them to your clients) when you use PayPal, take advantage of Deluxe eChecks. They work like regular checks, but they are emailable, so you do not have to write them out or make a trip to the bank to deposit them. They are also impossible to lose in the mail, which can give you some much-needed reassurance.
Work a side gig you can squeeze in
Not all side gigs require you to work two hours each day when you finish dinner. If you knit scarves and sell them on Etsy, make a few stitches before you leave for your day job in the morning. If you freelance your graphic design skills, take your laptop with you and sketch something during your lunch break. You can also consider micro-tutoring through Studypool, which allows you to instruct students on a per-question basis (and it’s entirely digital). Maybe you can answer a question during slow hours or while you watch TV at night. Side gigs that can fit between other tasks will spare you time for a social life.
Time management is more of an art than a science, but there are options and tools available that will help you balance multiple jobs smoothly. How do you plan to make time for a side gig?