Everyone’s talking about side hustles nowadays.
But how do you pursue a passion project on the side while also trying to deal with your nine-to-five – not to mention your generally hectic life?
It’s definitely possible, with a good attitude and buckets of self-discipline.
Here are some tips from career experts on how to manage your side hustle without burning yourself out:
- Flickr/Dafne Cholet
Discipline is key
International business speakerand author of”The Humor Advantage” Michael Kerr told Business Insider that it’s important to establish and fiercely guard a realistic amount of time to devote to your side hustle every day.
“Carve out blocks of focused time where you avoid all distractions to focus on your side passion and be ruthless about not letting any other work or personal commitments interfere,” Kerr says. “There are software programs available that prevent you from logging into your social media accounts or e-mail for blocks of time, so if you need help enforcing your focused time look for those tools or find a distraction-free zone separate from your other work and life commitments. And commit to a minimum length of time per day that you can realistically keep to.”
Know your peak performance times
It’s crucial that you do some introspection in order to determine what times are best to block off for your side hustle.
“Part of the challenge is making sure you plan your day effectively and make use of your own work rhythms and peak times – if you are an early bird and work best early in the morning, then plan to get up consistently at a certain hour and use that time for your side project,” Kerr says. “And keep in mind that research into willpower suggests we have a limited reservoir to draw upon that we deplete throughout the day, so even if you aren’t an early riser, working on side projects in the morning before your other work commitments take hold might be the way to go.”
- Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Pursuing side jobs and projects is a great opportunity to learn new things, career coach Ryan Kahn told Business Insider. Use this opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran or fresh out of college. All of us can benefit by learning something new – or even brushing up on existing expertise,” says the founder of The Hired Group, star of MTV’s “Hired,” and author of “How To Get Hired.” “All you need is the desire to learn, and trust me, whatever it is, you can find a way to expand your knowledge without stepping outside your front door – unless you want to.”
Get your support system in on the act. Let them know about your new pursuit. Manage their expectations and let them know how they can help.
“Don’t try to be a superhero or martyr – wherever you can seek out help in any other part of your life, that will help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed,” Kerr says.
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Catch some shut eye
This one’s important for your health: Don’t become a sleep-deprived zombie.
“Resist the temptation to burn the candle at both ends – do not scrimp on sleep!” Kerr says. “Foregoing sleep will only create more stress, cause more anxiety, and leave you less productive and creative. The more you are taking on, the more you need to refuel your batteries to remain focused.”
Kerr noted that it’s important to determine what you may need to say no to for a while.
“There’s only a limited number of hours in a day, so adding time for a side passion project may mean something has to give. Be realistic and share your commitment with your family and friends,” he says.
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Make time for fun
Kahn says it’s important to maintain your relationships and get out every once in a while – don’t let your side hustle eat up all your time.
“Whether it’s with your colleagues for a Tuesday morning latte, or a night out with friends, or even (gasp!) by yourself, getting yourself out and mingling with others on a regular basis, especially right after work, is an excellent exercise in networking, and will keep those conversational skills sharp,” Kahn says. “Remember, your free time is super valuable, so spend it wisely.”
Kerr agrees, saying that keeping to a strict schedule is critical.
“Carve out play times that you protect just as fiercely as your focused work times,” Kerr says. “And don’t leave them to chance – schedule in personal commitments and rejuvenating breaks with things that you enjoy. It’s absolutely critical if you are going to maintain your sanity!”
Don’t get overwhelmed
“To prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, heed the old joke: ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!'” Kerr says. “Break down bigger projects into manageable bite-sized chunks and then set realistic timelines for knocking each chunk off your list.”
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When you’re running your side project, don’t forget to – you know – actually run (or keep doing whatever it is you do to stay in shape).
Kahn notes that people who take care of their health tend to exhibit more confidence and are more optimistic about life in general.
“These are two traits I guarantee will help you in your career,” he says. “Use your time after work (or before) to hit the gym, go for a run, play tennis – whatever strikes your fancy that’ll make you break a sweat.”
Keep your eye on the prize
“The more you can visualize what victory will look like, what it is you are hoping to achieve, and what it will feel like when you are finished, the more likely you are to make it a priority and find the time to keep working on it,” Kerr says.
- Flickr / Hakee Chang
Celebrate your wins
“Celebrate the small wins and baby steps in your progress to build momentum on your side project,” Kerr says. “The greater the feeling of momentum you can build, the more likely you are to be successful.”