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How to balance your full-time job with a side-hustle

If you’re balancing a full-time job with a side-hustle, get this guide on how to manage both without added stress. These three tips will help you breathe, sleep, and work easier.

You quickly finish up the last task your boss assigned you, just in time for a lunch break.

Only... instead of a nutritional meal, your lunch break consists of desperately trying to make progress on your side business ideas .

As you glance at your watch, you feel a rush of anxiety and stress overcome you.

How are you going to fit it all in? 

And are you even making a dent in your side-hustle?

Totally get it. Trying to squeeze in a hard day’s work for your employer on top of your own passion project is a surefire way to spread yourself thin. 

But it’s not your only option.

You can manage the stress of pursuing both your side-hustle and day job. Here’s how.

#1. Leverage time management tactics

The first way to balance the hardship that comes with having both a day job and side-hustle is to tap the power of time management tactics. 

While there are several ways to manage your time efficiently, we recommend three key ways to do it, and the first is to stop multitasking.

Seriously. It might sound crazy to start doing less, but doing so can ultimately help you achieve more.

One study found that students who multitasked during a lecture scored 11% lower on a post-lecture test. 

What’s more, another study out of the UK found that multitasking is associated with smaller gray matter density in your brain from prolonged exposure, and went so far as to suggest it may relate to the decreased cognitive control observed in heavy multitaskers.

So for the sake of your brain, hear me when I say: 

Single-tasking is the way to go.

Better yet, try task-batching, which is when you work on a group of similar tasks for a designated period of time. Single-tasking and task-batching are a deadly combo for helping you focus.

And focus is a big deal, given that 47% of our waking hours are spent mind wandering.

Jeff and Katie Howard, founders of travel sites NJ Hotels Near NYC and Hotels Near DC Metro , told me that while balancing both full-time and side-hustle gigs, single-tasking was their savior:

“Focus and mindset are critical above any specific tool or tactic. You'll have to take pride in finishing one thing before starting another, or your productivity will plummet. Keep a one-task-at-a-time mentality.”

Alternatively, or in combination with single-tasking and batch-tasking, consider hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to help you grow your side-hustle. 

VAs can help support your business in (virtually) unlimited ways. They allow you to hand off repeated low-growth tasks, while you focus on more profit-generating projects in your side-hustle.

Plus, hiring a remote team member like a VA is more productive than hiring someone in-office. Remote workers complete as much as 13.5% more work than in-office employees.

To get the most from your VA , be sure to take the time to write specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the get-go. It’s an effective way to clearly communicate exactly what’s expected for each delegated task.

On the topic of clear communication, leverage project management tools like Asana or Basecamp and video communication tools like Skype or Zoom .

This will land all parties on the same page when it comes to managing the workflow for your side-hustle.

If you can’t afford to outsource tasks, consider our third recommendation for managing your time, which is to use marketing automation tools. 

Saving time is the biggest benefit marketing automation provides, followed by lead generation and increasing revenue.

If you’re wondering which marketing automation tools to tackle first, consider email marketing tools like ActiveCampaign , Drip , and Mailchimp .

Chief among their benefits, email marketing tools let you automate your email campaigns, which are key to running a profitable side-hustle. So much so that a hefty 81% of small and midsize businesses rely on email as their primary channel for getting customers.  

Does your side-hustle require a lot of social media attention? 

There are automation tools for that, too. Social media management tools like Buffer , CoSchedule , and Hootsuite let you automate your postings, quickly respond to messages, and save time and energy.

Like anything in your business, use the tools that are right for your side-hustle and specific needs, regardless of what anyone else tells you. The point is to streamline your effort while still producing results -- not complicate it.

Want to know something else that’ll streamline your stress balance? Turning off Twitter. 

#2. Take a social media detox

Another way to manage the stress of having a full-time gig and a side-hustle is to eliminate the time you spend scrolling aimlessly through your social channels.

Not only does it take away from your productivity, but it also leads to unhealthy habits.

Social media is designed to be all-consuming. Its algorithms and features tap into a reward system in your brain that makes you seek out feelings of acceptance, importance, and attractiveness. 

Specifically, social media sites intentionally tap into three natural reward sources that your brain seeks, which are “tribe,” “hunt,” and “self”.

To add to it, social media design features, like the constant refresh and infinite scrolling in your news feed, are created to replicate the addictive effects of a slot machine

By now, you’re (hopefully) convinced of how negatively social media can impact your stress and mental well-being.

Which begs the question: How do you break the cycle and move on, when so much of social media is designed to keep you in place?

First, figure out which apps you spend the most time on and delete your social media apps from your phone. 

Wondering why to start with your phone?

Your smartphone is a culprit for stealing away your time and attention. Checking your phone is so habitual that Americans do it a staggering 96 times a day , which is a 20% daily increase from just two years prior.

This makes combining smartphone addiction and social media addiction a surefire recipe for chronic stress.

So, if you have an iPhone, check out your list of “most used” apps to isolate the social media apps you spend the most time on. Living the Android life instead? An app like QualityTime can help you narrow in on your biggest time-wasters.

Then, delete those apps.

I know -- it seems excessive, especially if you’re already trying to combat the loneliness of working alone , but there are better, more productive, and less stress-inducing ways to get your social time in than social media.

For starters, you could get an accountability partner and do the social media detox together. Or you could go even further than that and do the social media detox with your family, giving all of you more time to spend with each other.

In either case, once you’ve deleted your apps, it’s time to take it a step further and change your lock screen to something that reminds you not to check your phone as often. 

While it may seem cheesy, compulsively checking your phone is such a chronic habit that you’ll need extra support for reversing it.  

But don’t worry, apps like Moment make it easier. They offer free lock screen prompts that ask you questions like, “What for?” and “Why now?” to steer you away from the social apps that draw you into a time sink.

And steering clear of those time sinks is vital because curbing your smartphone usage will help you avoid the following addictive behaviors :

  • Using your smartphone in dangerous situations

  • Feeling anxious or negative if you don’t receive immediate responses

  • Depending on your smartphone for stimulation and satisfaction

  • Interrupting your work, social life, family life, and physical and mental well-being

Alternatively, if you mainly access social media on your computer, you can use browser extensions like News Feed Eradicator for Facebook , which hides your newsfeed and replaces it with an inspiring quote. 

News feed eradicator apps let you log into your social accounts, maintain any business-related postings, and quickly exit without falling into a social media rabbit hole.

Another tip for curbing your addiction to both your cell phone and social media apps is to sleep with your phone away from your bed. If you normally rely on your phone to wake you up, use an actual alarm clock.

An alarming (no pun intended) 80% of smartphone users check their phones within an hour of waking up or going to sleep, and 35% do it within only 5 minutes.

Another benefit of taking a break from social media is you refrain from the terrible temptation to compare yourself to other people.

As it is, dealing with impostor syndrome is a real issue among entrepreneurs, especially as you’re starting off with a side-hustle. So much so that 70% of the population suffers from impostor syndrome.

Needless to say, there’s no need to cause yourself extra stress by falling into the comparison trap that’s so readily available on social media.  

So, ditch your feeds -- at least for a few days -- and see what happens. Chances are, it’s not going to be anything less than a happier and healthier you.

#3. Maintain a regular exercise and sleep regimen

Our final way to balance the stress of a side-hustle with a day job is to prioritize your health by exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. 

Keeping on top of your physical health helps with maintaining your mental health, too. 

So much so that there’s a significant correlation between serious psychological distress and health risks of chronic diseases.

As the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) , Dr. Brock Chrishom, puts it:

“Without mental health, there can be no true physical health.”

While it may seem like obvious advice to not let your work overrun your health, sadly, too many entrepreneurs overlook it. 

A staggering 49% of entrepreneurs suffer from at least one form of mental health condition, compared to 32% of non-entrepreneurs.

While the relationship may seem far-fetched, exercise plays a major role in your work and comes with many benefits , including:

  • Improving your mood

  • Reducing stress and anxiety

  • Boosting your energy level

  • Helping with your memory

I’d say all four of these benefits are helpful when it comes to managing your full-time job and side-hustle, particularly if you’re suffering from fatigue and overwhelm. 

Getting enough sleep can do wonders for your career ventures, too.

For one, sleep deprivation comes with serious consequences and hinders your concentration, working memory, math capacity, logical reasoning, and judgment. 

This means you’ll be less productive, less accurate, and less successful with a lack of sleep.

A recent study revealed that entrepreneurs who get less sleep struggle with mistakes and evaluating business ideas. 

While most small business owners average only 6.7 hours per night , aim for at the recommended eight hours and don’t go below six if you can help it.   

Why? Your performance relies on it.

So much so that if you get less than six hours of sleep, your performance decreases for a period of six days.

The main takeaway here is to take care of your health by exercising regularly and getting enough nightly rest. 

If you do, the health benefits will boost your business. On the flip side, poor health and sleep deprivation could lead to poor results in both your day job and side-hustle.


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You can handle both your day job and side-hustle like a champ

While you can’t do it all, you can manage both your day job and side-hustle with minimal stress using our three tips today. 

To recap:

  • Take advantage of time management tactics like single-tasking, task batching, delegating, and outsourcing to spend your time more wisely. Automation tools also come in handy for streamlining your tasks.

  • Stay away from social media and trial a detox by deleting apps on your phone, using a newsfeed eradicator, customizing your phone’s lock screen, and sleeping away from your smartphone. Social media is addictive and can trigger chronic stress.

  • Finally, take care of your physical and mental health by exercising and getting enough sleep. The impact on your business, work, and performance is dramatic.

And if you want to make things even easier with your side-hustle, sign up for Podia for free today . You can eliminate the hassle of juggling multiple tools and have a support team our customers rave about on your side. 

But don’t take our word for it: see for yourself why they chose Podia and how you can benefit, too, by taking a swing by our examples page .

About the author

Cyn Meyer was a content writer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and communities scale with their creators. Cyn also enjoys playing music, helping retirees live active, healthy, engaged lifestyles, and hopping into the ocean.