How to Side-Gig When Still in Your 9-5

Whether you’re doing it as a creative outlet, as a way to explore a different career path, or just for a bit of extra cash, side hustles are great for personal growth outside of your 9-5.

While some may think you’re a little crazy, for wanting to work after your 9-5, (let’s be honest, you’re just an overachiever!), starting a side hustle is absolutely possible while still in your day job. In fact, it is the perhaps a perfect foundation to starting a business that “you’ve always wanted to”, for it minimises risk by ensuring cash flow is steady even if things don’t go to plan.

To help you pave the path to nailing your first side-gig and 9-5, we’ve decided to put together three (3) sharp-shooter tips:

Set the Stage

First step, setting the stage for success. After all, as I’m sure we’ve all heard: failing to plan is planning to fail (is that you, Mum?).

Because this isn’t your sole bread-winning role (yet), you have limited resources at your disposal, with the most valuable one being your time. So when are you at your best? Whether it’s during weekday lunchtimes or a full day on Saturday, acknowledge when your work truly flows, set yourself a schedule, and block that time out. This may mean that you miss out on some social events (RIP Sunday brunch), but it is necessary if that’s when you’re at your peak.

Then find a space that works for you. This could be a physical space, like that café around the corner from your apartment, or a mental one (shout out to 90’s hip hop, or some good old piano classics). Figure out what works for you and make sure it’s at your disposal when you’re in your side-gig zone.

Tame the Distraction Beast

This one is the most difficult, as we are all guilty of getting sucked into the dreaded time-waster that is the social media scroll. However, when you’ve figured out the best time and place to work on your side-gig, you need to utilise those assets and focus on the task at hand.

An easy way to do this is to pretend that you’re Albert Brennaman getting advice from Hitch, because let’s be honest, who wouldn’t listen to advice from Will Smith? When you’re in the side-gig room (literally or figuratively), be in the side-gig room. No day-dreaming. No gossip sites. No thinking about that date from last night. Remember that you’re doing this for a reason, so use your time wisely.

Try not to stress about having a limited amount of time to give to your side-gig, because it could actually be in your best interest. Have you ever noticed how easy tasks seem to take the longest time when you have the most time to do them? It’s because our work expands to our allowed timelines due to a fun thing called Parkinson’s Law.

By allocating realistic time blocks for yourself (even if that is 30 minutes that day) and then using that time to work, you’ll be able to manage your time more efficiently, meaning you’ll have more time for hiking and happy hours.

Practice Self-Care

We get it: you’re a typical go-getter, and an overachiever to boot.

But going 150% (the running-on-flames, burning-the-candle-at-both-ends kind of deal) can only last so long. You get tired, everything takes twice as much time, and your output suffers.

Ever wondered why people always get the best ideas when they’re in the shower, on a walk, or over drinks? Because they’re not in ‘work mode’, trying to force good ideas all the time. Sometimes our brains just need a breather.

To avoid burnout, set restrictions – both for your corporate job and your side hustle. Similar to a social media pause, actively schedule breaks. Whether you find yourself winding down the best during a workout class, going out to a nice dinner, or relaxing at home watching reality TV shows (or all three, because #winning) instead of your side-gig for a day, do it – if that’s what it takes to help you recharge.

It’s definitely a balancing act, but taking time out for yourself is what is going to work best in the long-run to help you reset mentally and emotionally. Because after all, both your corporate job and side-gig needs you, and you are the latter’s biggest asset.

There you have it go-getters!

Using these tips will allow you to not only work outside of your day job, but to do so in a smarter way. By planning ahead, focusing on the tasks at hand, and setting realistic goals, you’ll be able to increase the overall quality of your output and be an even better asset to your current and future clients.

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