Productivity Hacks for Side Hustlers & New Entrepreneurs

A lot goes into balancing a full-time job and a successful side venture. 

With a limited amount of time to dedicate to your hustle, it’s crucial to make the most of every single hour.

As you build and grow your business, you need to find strategies which work for you and maximize your productivity.

There are lots of tried-and-true productivity hacks for new entrepreneurs, and we’ve rounded up the best below.

Implementing these tips can help you strike a healthy work-life balance, prioritize your business, and enjoy more successful results.

Administrative Productivity Tips

While tasks like managing your inbox, building out your calendar, and handling billing can be monotonous, they’re an important part of your side venture.

Here are a few strategies you can utilize to streamline administrative tasks and increase your overall productivity.

Optimize Your Email

Reading and responding to emails and managing your inbox can take up a lot of time and attention, derailing you from your work.

When it comes to email, consider:

  • Scheduling email time: To stay on task and avoid distraction, block out time to check your email rather than constantly looking at your phone or refreshing your email tab. Only open emails when you know you can reply.
  • Unsubscribe from clutter: If your inbox is being bombarded with marketing emails or newsletters, take time to unsubscribe from them manually, or use an app to make it easier.
  • Get organized: Whether you use the inbox zero method, keeping your inbox empty, or use filters, automated responses, or folders to manage incoming messages, getting your email in order is important.

Use Apps to Manage Your Calendar and To-Do Lists

Calendar apps like Google Calendar or iCalendar can sync across devices and help you keep all of your ventures in order.

Along those lines, there are some stellar task management apps on the market, which allow you to easily create and complete to-do lists for your projects.

Rather than trying to keep due dates and timelines straight yourself, make things easier for yourself with online tools and notifications.

Consider:

Sync Your Devices and Back up Your Work

When you’re running a second business, there’s a good chance you’ll be using extra moments of downtime here and there to do work, sometimes on different devices.

Whether you’re waiting for a flight, on a lunch break, or working at the coffee shop, you should be able to pick up wherever you’ve left off.

Sync up your calendars, brainstorming notes, files, and data using cloud-based platforms like note apps, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Along those lines, be sure to back up your work so you don’t lose any progress.

If you’ve chosen a good To-Do list app, it should sync to your mobile device, too.

Delegate and Automate

While some people enjoy administrative tasks, they can be pretty tedious for others. Rather than getting bogged down in everyday tasks, consider handing them off.

Whether you automate payments, pay someone to manage your customer service, or hire someone to handle IT issues, offloading these tasks can be a major de-stressor. 

As long as it makes financial sense, delegate tasks which don’t require your active participation.

This is especially true if you can make more revenue in one hour than it costs to offload the less profitable hour to someone else.

Block Out Time for Administrative Tasks

It’s easy to leave administrative tasks off your to-do list, telling yourself you’ll get around to them eventually. 

But if you don’t schedule time for these tasks like any other to-dos, you risk important parts of your business falling through the cracks.

When it comes to paying bills, invoicing clients, and cleaning out your inbox, block out time on your schedule.

Scheduling Tips

Scheduling out your tasks and breaks is key to being productive, especially as a new entrepreneur shuffling multiple projects.

The tricks below can help you build a schedule and stick to it.

Schedule Work and Breaks

You have a limited amount of time within your already busy day, so it’s important to schedule out tasks and breaks to maximize efficiency and avoid burnout.

Instead of overextending yourself, set concrete boundaries with realistic timelines for completing tasks and giving yourself breaks.

Also, be considerate of your own habits and tendencies. Are you more productive early in the morning or late at night? Take advantage of your chronotype and build a schedule that plays on it.

Once you set boundaries for your job, side hustle, and social life, stick to them and let your friends and family know. Protecting the time you have set out for your venture is key to its success.

Choose a Productive System for Tackling Tasks

As you map out the schedule for your new business, you’ll have several options for organizing your tasks.

One popular method for scheduling tasks is batching, which involves taking on similar or recurring tasks at one time, focusing all your efforts on that type of work.

If you’re a blogger who is editing on the side for other sites, you might break your tasks down into client work, emails, blog content, and social media marketing.

Other entrepreneurs choose to organize their to-do list based on urgency, working down from high-priority tasks to less pressing ones.

Whatever method you choose, going in with a clear direction will help you execute your tasks far more efficiently.

Time Yourself

To build a productive schedule, it’s important to be realistic about your timelines. 

Without an idea of how long a task will take, you could fall behind on projects or waste time.

For each type of task you undertake, use an app or your phone’s timer to see how long it takes to complete. 

Then, you’ll have an accurate idea of how much time to allot to different types of tasks in the future and help you set deadlines.

It could also pinpoint time-consuming tasks which could be outsourced. 

Repurpose Extra Time

Breaks are essential to your mental wellbeing and success as an entrepreneur, and the goal of a side venture is to create passive income requiring as little time and effort as possible.

However, you might want to take advantage of small chunks of time which you aren’t really using for anything.

If you find yourself with a recurring period of dead time where you scroll mindlessly on social media, consider repurposing it to knock out a few simple tasks.

Mental Tips

When you’re working for a company, you have set deadlines, goals, and teammates counting on you.

When you’re a weekend warrior, the stakes are different. While clients may have expectations, staying motivated and being productive is your responsibility.

If you don’t have an office, business hours, and a boss, here are some strategies to help you create a productive environment and get in the right mindset.

Shut Down Distractions

Scrolling, binging, and texting your friends are all great ways to unwind during breaks, but they shouldn’t be a part of your dedicated work time. 

Remember the clear boundaries described earlier? When it’s time to do work, shut down anything that might distract you from the task before you.

That might also include your email and tasks unrelated to the one you’re working on. (Or it could mean getting away from your roommates or family to focus on your to-do list.)

Create a Productive Environment

Along with shutting down distractions, focus on creating a productive workspace which is tidy, comfortable, and dedicated to your venture.

If you have an elaborate home office, great. If not, your dining room table will do just fine, or a local coffee shop or co-work space.

The key is finding a place dedicated to getting work done, rather than a spot like the couch where you also watch TV and nap.

Incorporate Rituals

If you want productive habits to take hold in your life, you need to build a routine (and stick to it).

This extends beyond scheduling tasks and could include building morning and evening rituals that lead to consistent results.

Maybe you like to start your Saturday morning with coffee, a run, and 30 minutes of focusing and preparing for your weekend tasks. 

Or you might set aside an hour to unwind and unplug before bed, with some reflection on the work you’ve completed.

Find what works for you and do it repeatedly.

Embrace Community

You aren’t the only weekend warrior grinding to build passive income. Having someone to celebrate your wins with and get advice from can be incredibly motivating.

Whether you find a local entrepreneur network, join a social media group, or simply open up to your friends about your business, sharing your work can help you to be more productive. 

Along with encouraging you, it can provide accountability, which can push you to see your goals through.

Keep It Balanced

If you don’t set timelines for your tasks, you’re far more likely to put them off. When this happens, your side venture could bleed into other areas of your life, defeating the purpose of the weekend warrior mentality.

Rather than burdening you and taking up extra time, your new business should allow you to work less and enjoy more profit through systems and processes.

That’s why building a schedule with clear boundaries and channeling your efforts towards productivity is so essential to your success.

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

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