I don’t buy that.
Very few people literally “don’t have the time.”
What most who say this mean is “I don’t want to make the time.”
And to me, that’s a money excuse.
Of course, that’s their choice. They decide what to do with their time and will live with the results.
But don’t whine and say it can’t be done. It can be done. I know because I did it.
Several times throughout my life, even though I was very busy, I made the time to work on a side hustle to help us get where we wanted to be.
So for those who would like a side hustle and think you just “don’t have the time for it”, I’m going to offer you the ten following ideas for finding that time:
1. Get up earlier.
Yes, it will mean less sleep (probably) and you’ll live through it. After all, if you want to eventually live like no one else (i.e. become financially independent at a relatively young age) then for a while you need to live like no one else. And getting a little less sleep might be part of the “cost” to you.
I’ve already talked about how getting up early can make you wealthy. Using that extra morning time to work on a side hustle is one great example of that.
Just think what you could accomplish with 365 extra, focused hours in a year! I’m guessing you could come up with an idea, get it launched, and begin earning some money with time to spare.
2. Stay up later.
The same as #1 but on the other end of the day.
This is what I did when I had both my freelance writing business.
I would write, send out my query letters to magazines (in those days it was all by snail mail), invoice, etc. all after my family went to bed. I was up until 1 am to 2 am for at least a couple nights every week. But I was able to build my business and ultimately pay off my mortgage, so it was worth it to me.
All this extra work late-night work was in addition to having a pretty demanding career, being involved in church and volunteer activities, caring for the family and our home, taking vacations, and so forth.
Yes, you have to want it badly, but it can be done.
3. Watch less TV.
The average American spends five hours a day on TV.
I don’t even know where to start with that number.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably “below average” and “only” spend 3 hours a day watching TV. Or even two. That’s still a TON of time that could shift from the “mindless” category to the “improve my life” category.
Even if you move from three hours a day to one hour, that’s a lot of time you can redeem.
And what do you miss? Another episode of Game of Thrones? Hope you enjoy it because it’s costing you years of extra work since it’s slowing down your march to financial independence.
In addition to pure entertainment, two TV programs that I cut out are 1) news and 2) sports.
The news is just pure insanity these days and I think for the average person it creates more harm than good. What good does it do to get all frustrated and up in arms about something you can do nothing about? If you don’t want to take my word for how negatively the news can impact you, consider these three reasons why you should stop watching the news.
As for sports, I’ve narrowed down what I’m really interested in and have ignored the rest. And even when I do “watch” I either 1) DVR the games and fast forward to the action (i.e. goals in soccer) or 2) have the game on in my browser while I work on something else on my computer (so I can get two things done at once. If the game gets too noisy, I pause it, focus on work, and come back to the game later.)
4. Cut back on social media.
Check out this quote from Social Media Today:
Astonishingly, the average person will spend nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media every day, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime. Even more, time spent on social is only expected to increase as platforms develop.
Can we say “huge time suck”?
This stuff is 1) addicting and 2) mostly a huge waste of time.
And if that doesn’t convince you, consider this: social media is likely making you miserable. This from Tim Ferriss:
“I’ve noticed the more reactive I feel, the more miserable I am,” Ferriss said. “The worse I treat myself, the worse I treat other people. Social media is just jet fuel for reactivity.”
If that sounds like you, he says, think about taking a social media fast and spending the first hour of your day not looking at your phone. Ferriss doesn’t use Facebook at all “for personal purposes,” and has been happier since he mostly unplugged from Twitter as well.
I know from first-hand experience. Facebook in particular can be a huge time drain for me and I have to watch it. It’s just so easy to open up that tab and check what’s going on for “just a minute”. I then move from family updates to financial articles to soccer news to cat videos. I look up and an hour is gone. So I set limits and only allow myself to look at it twice a day for 15 minutes each. If I wasn’t running online businesses, I’d probably close it all down.
You can do the same.
5. Work over your lunch hour.
This was a big one for me for many years.
I would bring my lunch to work and be at my desk anyway. I’d use that time to do something productive (write an article, brainstorm ideas, read a book, etc.)
It might only be 30 minutes a day (once you account for transition time, eating, the fact that I hardly ever took an hour anyway, etc.) but that time adds up over years and years.
6. Redeem lost time.
We all have “lost” time. Instead of just letting it slip by, what about making it productive?
In this particular case I’m referring mostly to lost time while you’re waiting. In that moment you can do something mindless or something productive. So why not the latter?
Here are a few examples of lost time:
- Waiting for a doctor’s appointment
- Waiting in the car to pick up your kids
- Waiting to pick up your spouse
- Waiting for your lunch appointment to show up
And on and on.
I try to redeem as much of this time as possible with these options:
- Going through my to-dos (planning I would do some other time) — learned this early in my career
- Take a book or magazine to read
- Take my journal and write down some notes
- Call someone I need to get back to
The point is you take your waiting time and turn it into productive time.
You could flip through a magazine or listen to the radio, but instead you make the time worth something.
7. Accomplish two things at once.
If you’re reading this, you probably do at least some of the following:
- Mow your lawn/do yard work
- Work out
- Walk the neighborhood
While you’re doing those things, why not also work on your side hustle?
In particular, these are great times to educate yourself via audio with either audiobooks or podcasts.
So while driving to work, why not listen to an audio book on great marketing techniques?
While mowing the lawn, why not listen to a podcast on side hustle options and ideas?
When you walk the neighborhood, why not listen to an audio book listing time management and planning techniques?
The list could go on and on.
I see lots of guys at the gym reading in both the sauna and the hot tub. They are relaxing/recuperating and learning at the same time. When I ask, many of them are learning things they can apply to their businesses.
I know you don’t want to spend all your free time working, but let’s face facts — there’s at least some time you could use on the weekends to work on your side hustle.
Taking a tip from above, what about watching only one game instead of two on the weekend?
What about involving your family in the side hustle so you can enjoy weekend time while also building your business?
This is what I did when I was a soccer referee. Our games were always on the weekend and I worked every game with my son, so we were together doing something we both loved (and making money at it!)
I’m sure if you really inventory your time you could certainly come up with an extra hour or two every weekend.
I’m not talking about talking a cruise and then spending it working.
Let me suggest that you take your unused vacation days each year and use them to build your side business.
If you’re an average American, you don’t use all your vacation days.
Only 23% of workers surveyed said they used all of their paid time off in the last 12 months. The average U.S. worker leaves almost half of his or her vacation days on the table.
So instead of losing that time (or taking the money for it and working), how about using those days to work on your side hustle? If you do, before long you’ll be able to approve your own vacation days.
There’s always some free time during the holidays.
So instead of laying around watching Christmas Vacation for the tenth time or gorging yourself until you’re comatose, work on your side hustle.
I’m not saying that you work on Thanksgiving and miss the meal, but there are times that work such as:
The after-meal wind down when many often take an afternoon nap. It’s quiet and a great time for work.
Put your lap top on, well, your lap, while you watch a game and get some stuff done.
On Black Friday, get up with the crazies in your family who go out to shop. While they shop, you can grow your business.
I think you get the idea. There are pockets that can be taken advantage of if you look for them.
So, those are my ten suggestions.
And for the record, I’m not saying you have to (or even should) do all ten of these. Simply pick the ones that work for you and use them to grow your side business.
If you have some additional suggestions for finding side hustle time, please put them in the comments below.
P.S. For those who prefer a video version of this post, see the ESI Money YouTube channel.