When I first started my business, I resented every moment spent in my day job. Logically, I knew it was perfect for paying the bills so that I could build a strong business foundation, but emotionally, I just wanted to be left alone with my passion project.
Those early days of business were like the early days of a new relationship—intoxicating with possibility! While I knew that it was completely normal to be impatient to make my dreams a reality, I wasn’t exactly sure how to speed up that process, especially while spending 40 hours a week working for someone else.
I was sure I could crack the code if I only had more time!
Through trial and error, I learned a few ways to bend time to create more focused space in my schedule to pursue my passions. Whether it’s a side hustle, passion project, or full-scale business, these three tips will help you create more time to achieve your goals and live your dreams sooner.
Tip #1: Cut out your commute.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time is 25.4 minutes. That’s 50.8 minutes in the car or on the train daily, and 4.23 hours per week. Basically, it’s a lot of wasted time. Instead of losing that 4+ hour window of opportunity every week, let’s get creative, and use it to work on your side hustle instead.
For example, you might bring the idea of “remote days” to your boss, where you’d spend a few days each week working from home. You could initially pitch the idea as an experiment, starting with one “remote” day each week and working up to 4-5 days a week as you prove the quality of your work remains the same or better.
If working remotely isn’t an option for you and the commute is necessary, delegate the driving to someone else. Try taking a rideshare service work each day. While the driver shuttles you to your destination, hang out in the back seat with your laptop and your business plan. Or if a daily ride share service becomes too expensive, consider carpooling with friends in the area and take turns between driving and working.
What could you accomplish with an extra 16 hours per month?
Tip #2: Stop managing your time, and start managing your energy.
When we talk about time management, we’re really talking about energy management. You know the way time seems to stretch on indefinitely on a slow Friday afternoon in your cubicle, and yet it goes by so quickly on a fun weekend! That’s because not all time is created equal. Time spent doing the things you love will always feel different than time spent in more boring pursuits. Since the energy we bring to time influences how we use it, let’s devote some attention to using it well.
For example, I am not a morning person. I can guarantee that I will produce nothing of value before 10AM, so I can stubbornly sit at my computer at 8AM and take two hours to complete a simple task, or I can wait until 10AM, and get it done in 20 minutes. Since I’m aware of my patterns, I can manipulate my time to do my most important work when I’m most focused.
The goal here is simply to have an understanding of your daily energy flow so that you can use that energy effectively. For example, if you know that late morning is your most focused time, take an early lunch and use that focused time to work toward your business goals. Or if your creative juices start flowing at 4PM, ask your boss if you start the work day early and head out by 4.
Spend a few days simply observing your energy flow and see what small adjustments you can make to create better results with the time you already have.
Tip #3: Commit to a “Passion Block” on your schedule and make it non-negotiable.
When I was a business newbie, my day job hours were set, and because I needed the money, showing up at 8AM and staying till 5PM was simply non-negotiable. Work was a scheduling anchor, and my business got wedged in wherever it fit. Looking back, I realize that my passion project would have grown much faster if I had simply set a designated “business building” time on my calendar each week and treated it as seriously as I did my day job.
One of the quickest ways to make progress is simply to create a “business block” on your calendar and make it non-negotiable, the way you would with your “real” job. Start by looking at your weekly schedule to see what hours are available for your non-negotiable “business block.” Maybe it’s Wednesday evenings from 6PM-9PM, or perhaps Saturday afternoons at a coffee shop while your spouse takes the kids.
Chances are, other activities don’t just happen to get in the way of your showing up to your day job because showing up to work is a given. If you make showing up for your business a given, you’ll see results. If you create a non-negotiable block of time in your week for your passion projects, progress becomes easy.
The biggest lesson I learned in building a successful business while working a day job was that I actually had all the time I needed—I just needed to figure out how to use it effectively.
If you really put these three methods into practice consistently, you’ll be amazed at your progress and motivation. When it comes to our deepest passions, of course we want to watch our dreams arrive right away. Getting creative with your time will allow to do exactly that.