Taking Side Work Beyond 40 Hours a Week

side-work-timeAs many of you know, I still have a full-time job where I work the typical 9-5. While I think this has provided me great structure, it has, of course, made things challenging for me, including keeping up with this blog. I know that’s nothing new, but I’ve managed to write consistently on Money Spruce for almost 8 months now, which is something I’m proud of and has been no small accomplishment. However, as I’ve taken on more responsibilities, it’s been harder to manage my time. Altogether, I’d say I’m at about 70% effectiveness in terms of how I spend my time productively, so I think there’s still room for improvement. Here’s what works and what doesn’t.

What Works Best

Keeping my schedule clear Monday-Thursday.  I do my best to not schedule any social events Mon-Thur after work. This is generally my most productive time during the week, and I like to make the most of it. I know I won’t get as much done on Friday and Saturday, which gives me more motivation to work on things during the week.

Scheduling my work. I’ve done a great job scheduling block of time on weeknights after work. I don’t always follow it perfectly, but it helps me prioritize and gives me the ability to be realistic about what I can get done, too.

Setting deadlines. I’ll never miss a deadline, especially if someone else is waiting for me and/or holding me accountable. Missing deadlines is unacceptable to me, so I just don’t do it. Whenever possible, I set real deadlines for myself to make what needs to happen, happens.

What I Still Struggle With

I wish I was perfect in dealing with all these things, but they have posed some tough challenges.

Days without the structure of my job. Simply put, I’m not as effective on days completely off from work as I am on workdays. This is mostly because of how I’ve made this side business work so far, but I need to figure out how to effectively devote more time to side ventures.

Burnout. When filling my nights and weekends with work after coming home from work, it’s easy to get burned out. Generally, I’ve experienced a fairly wide range of emotions when it comes to my side work. But I’ve never come close to throwing in the towel on everything.

Distractions. Most other 9-5ers don’t attempt to work nearly around-the-clock like I do. Those that work full-time, like me, often take the nights and weekends off completely. My friends want to hang out and do things during the times that I want to be productive, which makes it hard to say “no.”

Mornings. I simply can’t get things done in the morning before work. For now, I prefer to stay up as late as possible and then just sleep later in the morning. Plus, it seems I’m most creative later on in the day, anyway.

What Will Help

Partner Up. If the right opportunity comes along, I’d love to partner on an exiting project. Who knows, maybe some opportunities will come my way at FINCON11 next week! There’s definitely potential with the crew in Location Rebel, too.

Keep accountability. I just started my accountability journal to coincide with Think Traffic’s Million Dollar Blog Project. Based on what he’s seen in his paid courses, Corbett is convinced that those that keep a journal are much more likely to succeed. I’m committing to updating this at least once a week, and making sure I stay on task. Please, keep me accountable, and I’ll let you know how well it works for me!

Schedule more effectively. I’m a believer in scheduling my time in order to get the most done. It helps me prioritize my work but also helps me to figure out when I’m doing to schedule in some fun stuff. I’m going to do my best to schedule time on weekends, too, so I can get what I need done while working around other commitments and activities.

Keep a regular “shut down” schedule. It’s easy to feel like you need to be doing work all the time. But that’s simply not going to happen. In order to keep the overwhelm low, I’d like to try shutting down my computer at the same time every week. I’m thinking something like Saturdays after noontime would be best to get away from the computer.

Practice. As I pointed out, I’m currently not very effective at working on days when I don’t work. There’s too little structure. But, the reality is that, if I’m going to quit my job, every day will be like this. My plan: take a few days and practice treating it like a freelance work day. I’ll do this either on holidays, vacation days, or, perhaps, Saturdays. This would be a good test for coworking, too. Whatever it takes, I need to get this down.

Do you have any struggles like these? Share in the comments.

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photo by: Philo Nordlund

Comments

  1. That’s impressive that you are able to maintain your blog on top of the day job.  Not easy at all.

    I really like the way you manage your time.  That alone is probably one of the top reasons you’ve been so successful.

    Thanks for sharing what you are learning.

    Bryce

  2. Hunter @ Financially Consumed says:

    Hey Jeff, I think you do a great job at identifying what works and what might make things better. There’s no easy answer; it’s challenging keeping all the balls in the air. FINCON is going to be very cool.

  3. I struggle with feeling like I have to be working all the time.  I will not work past 8:00pm.  I try not to anyways.  But I really am pretty good about it. 

    I talk about it all the time but lists help me so much.  two reasons, one, it keeps me on task, and two, I know when I’m done.  Otherwise I just kind of float around. 

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