Two women working and using laptops at their dining room table

Balancing Your Day Job with Your Side Hustle: A Survival Guide

Balancing a day job and side hustle can be tricky, especially if you’re new to the idea. You’ll need to manage your time between two or maybe more roles that may have conflicting needs and demands while still ensuring both are getting the attention they deserve.

I have had side hustles since I was a teenager, and over the years, I learned how to combine them with a full-time job without getting overloaded and got the results I desired.

This guide will provide you with the tips and tricks I use that have been the most effective for me, so that you can successfully manage your day and side job together.

Why Now is The Best Time for Side Hustles

About 39% of American adults now have a side gig, according to Bankrate, and that figure is increasing all the time.

Everyone we know seems to juggle not just their regular job but also one, two, or even more side gigs to earn extra money on the side. And why not? The growth of digital platforms and flexible work models have made them an increasingly popular, accessible, and fantastic way to learn new skills in your spare time and start building your digital real estate.

And I’m not just talking about those looking to make a quick buck; I’m talking about people using their side hustle ideas to make the most out of their skills, passions, and precious time.

Many people are struggling to make ends meet with their day jobs, and a side gig can provide an essential extra income. In an unpredictable economy like today, having that extra financial cushion can offer much-needed peace of mind.

Many people turn to side hustles to pursue a passion or hobby their primary job might not cater to. Think of it as a creative outlet where you call the shots while earning money on the side.

Today, it’s perfectly possible to turn your side gig into a successful full-time business and be your own boss.

How to Choose the Best Side Hustle to Earn Extra Income

The Tools for Success

As it’s not always easy to balance a side hustle with other work, here are my favorite ways to ensure consistency and success.

Of course, you don’t need to implement all these ideas, but work on the ones you feel are suitable and go from there.

Use Apps and Software

The digital world offers a variety of tools to simplify task management. Trello, for instance, can help you visually organize and prioritize tasks.

Google Calendar is ideal for your to-do list and can set reminders, schedule tasks, and block time for specific activities.

If you really want to control your schedule, apps like RescueTime can even track how much time you spend on different tasks, helping you identify where you’re wasting time.

Create a Work Schedule

Craft a detailed, structured work schedule. Explicitly allocate time for your full-time job, side hustle, breaks, and personal activities. 

This structure not only ensures you won’t overextend yourself but also aids in maintaining focus and efficiency during your designated work periods.

I have found that mapping out my time like this led to some of the biggest improvements. It’s really worth the effort upfront to set your schedule, so you can reap the rewards later on.

Designate a Specific Workspace

Creating a physical space solely for your side hustle encourages a mental shift when you enter this area. It signals to your brain that it’s time to focus, and when you leave, it’s easier to disconnect and transition back into personal time or your full-time job.

I understand this can be challenging, depending on your living arrangements, but if possible, try to find a dedicated space. In the beginning, I cordoned off an area of my bedroom with motivational posters on the wall, and that became my space until I got my own room for work.

Practice Effective Time Management

There are so many apps for this; it can be pretty confusing and a big area to cover. So my recommendation is this one, it’s called the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, as the student who invented it used a tomato timer to practice with!

This technique, where you work for a set amount of time (say 25 minutes) and then take a short break (five minutes), can improve focus and productivity. Just download the free app, and you’re all set. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s one of the most effective and simplest tools I’ve found.

Other ways to help with time management include batching tasks, meaning you do the same type of tasks at once. So if I have several emails to write, I choose a day or an hour and block it out, doing all the emails in one go.

Prioritize and Delegate Tasks

Identify the side hustle tasks that have the most impact on your growth and success. Focus on those, and consider outsourcing or delegating time-consuming but less critical tasks.

Websites like Upwork or Fiverr can be helpful resources for finding freelancers to save you these extra hours.

Don’t get stuck in the weeds of doing everything yourself all the time. The key is to master the tasks yourself first, so you can outsource them and successfully onboard your online VA or assistant.

I use online assistants to help me with the essential tasks of collecting leads and contacts, editing, and updating content. Again, it’s well worth the time upfront to train them, leaving you free to deal with the more important and in-depth tasks.

Set Realistic Goals

By setting achievable goals, you prevent setting yourself up for failure and frustration. Break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, and congratulate yourself on your progress along the way to maintain motivation.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t shoot for the stars, but initially, set achievable goals in line with the amount of time you can spend on your project, and then once you have accomplished them, reset your goals to bigger ones.

Embrace Automation

Use technology to automate repetitive tasks. Tools like Buffer or Hootsuite can automate social media posts, while QuickBooks or FreshBooks can handle invoicing. This lets you focus more time and energy on key tasks that can’t be automated.

Tools like these will not break the bank, will speed up your processes, and free up more of your time for other, more important tasks.

Look After Your Health

I know it seems obvious, but especially when you’re spending more hours on a side business, it’s really easy to feel you don’t have the time to exercise and eat well. My weakness was always takeaways, but now I limit them to once a week at most!

Regular exercise can improve your cognitive function, mood, and energy levels. A balanced diet can provide the nutrients needed for sustained concentration and energy. Getting enough sleep is also crucial for cognitive functions like memory, creativity, and decision-making.

This can also be challenging as you start working more hours. So again, create routines to ensure you don’t burn the midnight oil and burn out, like a set time to go to bed each night.

Network with Like-Minded Individuals

Think about joining forums or social media groups where other side hustlers hang out. Here, you can exchange ideas, learn from their experiences, and gain insights into how they balance their responsibilities.

It’s also a great place to find support when you feel overwhelmed or stuck. You could also find an accountability partner, someone you can message regularly to keep you both motivated. They could be friends or business associates; it’s a great way to stay on track.

Another more involved option is to start or join a small mastermind group, a group of like-minded entrepreneurs that get together regularly to brainstorm, work through issues, and support each other.

The Sun Takeaway

Hustle, by all means, but don’t forget to balance it out. Success isn’t just about professional achievements but also personal happiness and well-being.

Remember, you’re not a machine, you’re a very complex individual who needs rest, relaxation, and time for your passions and friends. Keep that in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of the side hustle.

The goal is to make your side hustle work for you, not the other way around.

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