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How to Avoid Side Hustle Burnout

When you make money spending time doing something you love, the hours may seem to just fly by. Yet between all of your obligations — your full-time job, family, and maybe even school — it may seem tough to find time to dedicate to your side hustle. Use these time management tips to organize your days and manage your 9-5 responsibilities, while maximizing your side gig’s potential.

Watch for common burnout pitfalls

1. Waning motivation

Watch for signs that you’re losing motivation. If your business no longer excites you, you’d rather sleep than work, or you’re dreading another side gig work session, you could be losing steam. Proactively prevent low motivation by setting goals early on. Then post your goals in visible places like your fridge or bathroom mirror, or make your main goal your smartphone or laptop password — for example, “5newclientsby2024”. These visible reminders can keep you going when times get tough (because they will).

2. Lack of support

Are your friends and family bored of hearing about your side gig? If their lack of support gets you down, try networking with other entrepreneurs who share your passion for running a side business. Networking with like-minded peers could help keep you motivated. And more experienced business owners may share valuable advice that to save time and money as you launch your own side hustle.

Read more about balancing entrepreneurial goals and relationships

3. Doing too much

Launching and running a business is a grind. Don’t try to tackle all the things you believe (or are told) you should do. You’ll become overwhelmed and burned-out. Your time is limited, so identify the “must-do’s” needed to grow your business first – things like “get some customers.” Once you’re managing the must-do’s, add some”nice-to-dos” such as expanding your product line and service offerings.

Find ways to maximize focus and productivity levels for your side business

As more people launch side businesses, the “side gig” market is becoming big business. Don’t get distracted by “shiny” business toys like expensive marketing, or consulting services you don’t really need. Keep your eye on your goals, and try different methods to help you focus and stay productive.

For example, “batch” your work to see if you can finish projects faster when you repeat the same steps for several projects in one session, instead of completing one whole project per session. Or try working with a “12-week year” approach, where you set just one or two business goals to complete in a 12-week time frame.

Read more about tips for gig workers

Protect yourself against side hustle burnout

Managing a full-time gig plus a side hustle can be tough. To combat exhaustion and prevent burnout, practice self-care. Avoid taking on extra commitments, and make sure to exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. This will help you avoid getting rundown, plus improve your focus and efficiency.

Burnout is your biggest enemy. Look for creative ways to find time to work on your business each week. Discipline is the key to making it all possible. Aim to stick to a schedule of 10 hours for side hustle work each week by trying one of the following options:

  • Getting up two hours earlier each weekday…no snooze button!
  • Staying up one hour later each weeknight, then working on your side gig for 30 minutes during each weekday lunch hour, plus another 2 1/2 hours on Saturdays, OR using your public transportation commute time to squeeze in a few extra hours weekly.
  • Working a 10-hour “Marathon side hustle day” each Saturday.

Good time management skills are critical to building your business alongside your life. Through trial and error, you’ll find the methods best suited to managing your time and maximizing the potential of your side hustle.

Read more about how to balance a full-time job and a side hustle

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