In our last blog, we explored mindsets and attitudes that will help you in your side hustle.
In this blog, we’re going to drill down and talk about staying focused. In the last blog, I mentioned how having a side hustle suggests that you have something full-time and when you’re doing something on the side, it means one of the biggest constraints that you have is your time.
And so in order to use that time effectively, you need to stay focused.
So here are some tips on what you can do to stay focused.
Know what you’re doing
Before you can find the time for your side hustle, you have to know what you’re doing. And I don’t just mean knowing the topic of your side hustle, but understand the tasks that are required in order to be successful.
Spend some time brainstorming up the different tasks that you need to do in your side hustle and make sure that you expand that list including things that don’t cord to delivering your product or service or activity.
So if there are certain marketing activities budgeting, taxes, other financial activities that you need to engage in, consider all the activities that you need in order for your side hustle, to be successful, including time to do planning and scheduling.
Once you know the activities estimate how much time you need to spend on them each week and understand how they fit into your calendar.
Sometimes it helps to actually block off time in your calendar for specific activities, but doing the simple exercise of just seeing how it’s going to fit into your life on a day-to-day basis will help you to stay focused on the work that you need to do throughout the week.
Break down your activities into five-minute tasks
For example, if you’re writing a blog, break it down into five-minute chunks that you can sit down and do that might mean just writing a paragraph. It might mean writing an outline, but with any tasks, see if you can break it down into a small activity that’s contained within five minutes.
The benefit of doing this is that it’s very easy to stay focused for five minutes, even 10 or 15 minutes. There’s something that’s very non-threatening about forcing yourself to sit down and work on something for five minutes.
Now I have found this repeatedly in my experience that I’ll have these big projects that I just stall on to get overwhelmed with because the tasks are way too big for me.
I don’t know exactly what I need to do or it’s too challenging and I don’t even know where to start. But the more I can break it down into something that is small and manageable, the more likely it is that I will follow through on the next step I need to take.
After I’ve repeated one five-minute task, I can do another five-minute task and another.
I bring blogging as an example because I was stuck with us for over a year. I just could not sit down. And right now I have a very simple process. I sit down and for five minutes I brainstorm up topics. Then in another five-minute chunk, I kind of outline the main points that I would like to cover. And then third, I sit down and actually record myself, talking through the main points.
I found for me breaking it down into these sections, I was able to get the rough draft together that I can never do if I was just trying to sit down and write a blog from scratch.
I found that this is applicable to many different areas of a side hustle. And when you can break things down into small bite-size chunks, then you’re less likely to procrastinate and put things off. And you’ll be surprised when they’re able to pull together results that you didn’t think you could do.
Follow your passion and curiosity
Ultimately, if your side hustle is something that you’re passionate about, that’s something bigger than yourself, then that passion will drive the effort that you put in.
If you’re following your natural curiosity, you’ll find that you have a natural impulse to dig deeper and figure out more and continue to grow.
If you’re doing a side hustle for the money or for something that you’re not passionate about, or you’re not curious about, you’ll find out pretty quick, because it will start to feel a lot like work and it will be one more chart that brings you down.
A side hustle should never be just work. It should be a place to develop your passions and your curiosity. And hopefully, grow that into something that you can do full time.
I used to give myself the what-I-read-about-it test, which basically was if I would spend hours on the internet reading articles that explain more about what I was curious about, then I was probably in the right area.
I discovered I was not passionate about medical technology. I couldn’t stand reading about it. And even when it comes to my current career in technology, I’m just not that curious about it, but I find them naturally curious about social entrepreneurship as something that I’m drawn to.
Being aligned with that passion and curiosity is critical to being successful in a sense.
Don’t beat yourself up for what you don’t do
With any side hustle, you’re not going to have enough time to get everything done that you want to. And that’s okay. Accept it for what it is and celebrate the wins and the progress that you do make. Keep in mind the bigger vision and what the side hustle is enabling you to do.
Quite often, that’s to grow – growing your knowledge and experience growing your audience and your connections and your authority, and that leads to something much more powerful down the road.
So if it’s not unfolding as fast as you would, like, you’re not able to get everything done that you’d like to, don’t be hard on yourself.
Being hard on yourself will only make it more challenging and more stressful. And that’s the last thing you need when building a side hustle.
At the same time that you’re not beating yourself up for the things you don’t do, it’s helpful to have accountability around what you can do and what you’re able to do. This could be as simple as keeping a log of here’s what I accomplished, or it could be more in-depth, like having a mastermind group or an accountability partner that you check in with.
Having other people that you can check in with and share what you’re doing and the progress that you’re making, but help immensely, especially as you get stuck. There are tons of people who have really interesting side hustles. If you can find them connect with a group that shared energy together will keep everyone going.
Sometimes it can be lonely working on a side hustle. Quite often, these are projects that people do on their own. So having a greater support system is really helpful. But you don’t need other people just simply keeping a log of the activities that you do and the progress that you make is great for being able to track your growth over time.
This will show you where you need improvement and where you might be getting stuck. And you can seek out the support you need in order to grow and develop whether that is from mentorship, education, or even therapy or exercise. But having some mechanism for tracking that is going to give you a picture of the steps you need to take.
The point is don’t push yourself too hard, but at the same time, set realistic goals and make sure that you’re making continuous progress, small steps continuously a little bit every single day will help you get much further than doing short bursts once every few months.
And over time as your skills grow, then your momentum will also grow.
So don’t worry about how things will unfold in the future. Focus on the best steps that you can be taking right now.
So in this blog, we covered how to stay focused when you’re developing your side hustle. And really a lot of it is understanding where you’re going to be spending your time, what tasks you need to do in order to be successful, breaking down those tasks into small steps that are easy to take, and then celebrating what you can do, taking note and tracking that so that you can continue to improve in the future.
Rarely is any project, a straight path from start to finish. So expect a windy curvy road that changes and adapts over time, be open and flexible to that. And you would get somewhere interesting and exciting, even if it’s not what you originally intended.