The average human spends roughly 79 years or 28,835 days on Earth. So if you are pushing 50 then you only have 10,585 days left to get stuff done.
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Why does it matter?
You can buy a house, you can buy a car and clothes. But there is one thing none of us can buy: Time.
What you do with that limited asset is often the difference between a successful life or a life wasted.
When you consider that sobering fact you may reconsider how you spend your days.
You can find time management tips everywhere and often they’re overwhelming. For example, here is a list of 21 time management tips for busy entrepreneurs. They are all good tips but if you try to do them all you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Sometimes less is more.
Since starting my online side hustle, I have refined my approach to time management. Here’s how I approach managing my time in order to get more stuff done.
My best tips for managing time and staying productive
- Time blocking – Setting aside a block of time every day for your art and creating. For example: A writer could set a goal to write 1,000 words or even just 500 words. Or it could be to write for a set period of time.
- Remove distractions – Turn off distractions. These include phone alerts, Facebook notifications or email notifications. Put your phone on silent. Shut the door. Get stuff done.
- Choosing priorities – In his book “The One Thing”, Gary Keller goes into depth on how he prioritizes getting his most important task done every day. Getting lost in superficial activities will lead to frustration and nothing of any consequence being done.
- Routines – A set routine allows us to feel like we have some form of control and also saves on cognitive energy. But it is very personal. Some people like exercising in the morning. Others later in the day. Figure out what works for you.
- Habits – Micro habits lead to big efficient habits over time. James Clear explores this concept much deeper in his book “Atomic Habits”
- Conserving energy – Steve Jobs wore the same clothes everyday. Blue Jeans, black t-shirt and white sneakers. Why? He didn’t have to waste time or cognitive energy choosing his wardrobe.
- Keeping focus – Multitasking is overrated. Focus on one task at a time.
- Delegate – Delegate the things you are not good at or hate doing. It works for me. And makes me much happier. Buy your time back.
- Have your sacred space to create and work– Having a dedicated space that fits your ideal of comfort and beauty will nurture focus and productivity.
- Keep it organized – I find sitting at a messy desk to be very distracting. We all have our own tolerances of messiness with some of us bordering on the edge of being a bit “OCD” (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) but you need to find your own comfort zone to maximise productivity.
One popular time blocking productivity technique
The Pomodoro technique is a time blocking approach invented in the 1980’s by the Italian Francesco Cirillo to help with efficient use of time and for increasing productivity. It’s easy to learn and simple to apply with just 6 steps.
- Pick one project or task you want to focus on.
- Set a timer for 25-30 minutes, and get to work.
- When the buzzer sounds, take a two-to-three-minute break.
- After four sessions, take a longer break.
- Record each session with a tick or X in your notebook
What I like about this technique is that it is simple and super easy to implement.
Many of us have a dream to do something more than make money for someone else. Many of us don’t want to spend our most precious of resources; our time, working in an office cubicle that smells of sadness.
So…how do you find the time to pursue an idea or a side hustle that is sitting on the shelf of your life?
How do you make time for your side Hustle?
Holding down a career and wanting to start a side hustle means that you need to make good use of your time and be as productive as possible. That means finding a time management approach that works for you.
Some of us have families that need our attention and love. Others have just themselves to consider.
Some of us are productive in the morning. I initially started my online side hustle (this blog) late at night and then found that working from 4.30 am to 9am worked better for me.
Why are early mornings better for productivity?
If you start late at night, you will find that catching up with friends, looking after the family and socializing will leave you with little energy and rationed brain bandwidth.
The early morning is a new day. Being up before the garbage trucks is a peaceful time with little to no distraction. It is your space and it’s quiet and peaceful. But that’s what has worked for me. You may need to experiment with your time and space to figure out what works for you.
Finding the right routine and productivity habits that work for you is a very personal thing. It will also keep evolving over time.
But there are some core principles that I think are non negotiable and here are mine:
- Focus – Pick your top priority and keep to it and turn off all outside distractions.
- Time block – Select a certain block of time to devote to your daily practice.
- Find your routine. Routines are very personal and will evolve. For 4 years I was able to focus on a 4.30 start to focus on my side hustle.
Time is limited, you only have one life and you can’t buy back your days on a Black Friday Sale.
Time to get cracking!