How to Manage Your Time When You Have a Side-hustle & a Job

Growing a creative business is a gradual process. By all accounts, the overnight success thing is a myth. As tempting as it might be to sack in the day job, it's not feasible for most of us because unfortunately, we still have bills to pay - booo. But you can build your side-hustle up slowly and sustainably over time on the side of a 9-5 so that it can eventually be your escape route from the day job.

Building a business alongside a 9-5 is a challenge, not least from a time-management perspective, but it’s certainly not impossible, as I’ve proved to myself through my own side-hustling experience. You just need to find the time management tools that work for YOU. Here are a few suggestions.

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Create boundaries between your 9-5 and the rest of your life

This is probably the hardest but the most effective thing you can do. It can feel awkward at first, but creating boundaries between work time and your own time will help you to carve out more time to spend on your business.

Try to stop staying late at work or checking work emails in the evenings or weekends, this doesn't just take up time but it also uses up that finite amount of mental energy that you have for each day. Try and save some of that for growing your business - taking small steps each day add up to a big difference.

If it helps, set a silent alarm on your phone for the end of each work day and name it something like 'time to get side hustling' or 'leave work now!'. And if you feel those funny looks from your work colleagues when you dare to leave on time, just focus on why you're doing it, it's your time now, time to work on that side-hustle. 

Blue hyacinths and tulips on a rustic wooden table - managing your time when you have a business and a job

Use google docs as a virtual notebook

I'm a big advocate of using google docs to organise your business. The beauty of it is that any edits you make at work will be accessible when you get home from a different laptop or phone. For example, if you get an idea while your sat at your desk at work, you can quickly make a note of it in your google docs and it'll be waiting for you when you get home and log in from your personal laptop. 

Ask to work from home or maybe even go part-time

Ask to work from home a day a week so that you can cut the commute. You'll be amazed by how much time you save by not having to think too hard about what you’re going to wear or put on a face of make up and leaving the house. This saved me 3 hours a day - three hours of dead time when I could be working on my business.

You might even be in a position where you can ask to go down to part-time hours at work. I suggest putting a case together that shows how going part-time or working from home will benefit your company. For example, perhaps there are some days when you need to get your head into some spreadsheet and this might be easier done from home with no distractions.

Spring flowers on a rustic table

And If you have to commute, use the time wisely

This is a good time for listening to helpful podcasts and audio books, I'm a big fan of both!

There are loads of great podcasts for creatives Have a look through the podcast archives for any particular areas you're looking for some guidance on. If you'd rather listen to books, go to amazon and have a look at the last business/ self development book you really enjoyed - have a look at the 'you might also like' section which shows you what other people have bought as well as the book you're looking at. This is a great place to find gems that you might not have heard of before

If you commute on the train you can also use this time to catch up on emails or social media.

Use your lunch break

This could be to post orders or engage with your followers on social media. it's easy to forget that you have time in the working day that you're not paid for, so use it for building your business. That way, if you don't have a chance that evening to work on your business, you've still made steps to get closer to your end goal.

Hyacinths and Tulips on a rustic table - how to manage your time when you have a business and a job

Treat your job as the side hustle

So, this is a mind set thing that you might beed to work on but it really helps me see where my priorities lie. I show up to work, I do my best work and I do it within the hours that I'm paid for. I've never been one for staying late and doing loads of over time and now I don't do it at all, I save that energy for my own business. This is a simple mindset shift that might just help you to shift your priorities.

Don't over do it

Make sure you have at least one evening a week where you can just relax and enjoy time with the family/ watch some trashy TV. You could also make Sunday or any other day of the week a strict day off from all things work and business because you do need some down time. 

As tempting as it is when you're ob-sessed with your business and work all of the spare hours you have, this is really important for avoiding burn out.


If you’d like to hear more from me on side-hustling and making the lifestyle you long for a reality, make sure you’re signed up to my fortnightly side-hustle letters. You’ll also get access to my free resource library, packed with eBooks, workbooks and templates to help you level up your side-business.

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