10 Ways to Make More Time for Your Business — Even If You Have a Full-time Job
You’re busy. You have a stressful full-time job.
When you get home, you struggle with the energy to work on your business. It all feels like you just don’t have enough time.
I’ve got two bits of good news for you.
Firstly, you’re not alone. At least half of the respondents to a recent survey I carried out were frustrated by their lack of time.
Secondly, there is a solution.
The only bad news is it might take a bit of effort. But then you knew that, right?
Ready to start making more time? At least one of these ten ways will work for you. (And if none do, tell me in the comments and let’s talk.)
Let’s start with the most basic.
1. Cut Back on Consumption
This has to go first, because it’s obvious. All the time you spend watching TV, Netflix, cat videos on YouTube… Well, that’s a pretty good place to start finding some extra time.
And it’s not just films– think about the amount of time you spend on your social network of choice, or randomly browsing the web. It has to go, or at least be pruned back pretty drastically, if you’re struggling for time.
Now before you say, “No shit Sherlock, but this is too hard,” I hear you. It’s not as easy as that. I know. Otherwise, I would just have tweeted:
“Watch less TV = Make more time for your business” (you can click that if you want to share it, just for the hell of it ☺)
So, ready for some more tips to make it easier? Let’s move on…
2. Schedule the Time
Another obvious one, but how often do you actually do it? If you work in an office, there’s a good chance your day is controlled by your Outlook or Google Calendar – what it says, is what you do.
So use that. Schedule the times when you are going to work on your business in your calendar, and obey it as you do for your day job. You’ll be amazed how well this works, even if you don’t think it will. Added bonus – other people will respect the time more if it’s in your calendar (don’t ask me why, just try it).
3. Use Your Downtime
This is another no brainer, but it’s often overlooked. Using your lunch breaks, commutes and any other bits of “dead” time can work a treat. Wondering how to fit work into those gaps? Keep an eye out for next week’s post on being more productive with your time.
4. Track Your Time
Are you sure you have as little time as you think? What do you do with the time you actually do have? Really? You’re sure?
I challenge you to track your time over a week, and then review it. If you’ve ever written a food diary and been horrified that you ate a whole packet of chocolate biscuits (I have) then you’ll know where this is headed. Prepare to be shocked!
5. Use Habit and Repetition
If you schedule your working time, you’ll be even more likely to do the work if it’s scheduled regularly. Same time every day works wonders, even if it’s only a few minutes.
If you want to take this tip to the next level – use triggers. No, not put a gun to your head, but use small events to remind you to do it.
Need an example? Let’s say your daily routine might look a bit like mine: in the evening, you put your kids to bed, then come downstairs. Arriving in the kitchen is a pretty strong trigger to pour myself a beer and celebrate. If I made that a trigger to do an hour of focussed work while the house was quiet, I could get a full day’s worth of work done each week, without impacting the rest of my day.
If you’re worried about missing your beer, then use that as a mini reward for getting your hour done. No work = No beer = Motivated Rob.
6. Trick Yourself into Starting
Yeah, play some mind games on yourself you devious thing. What am I talking about? Well, one reason why people don’t get started is because they can’t face the enormity of the task. So tell yourself that only doing a little bit is OK. And believe that it IS OK.
Let’s say you want to write a blog post, but it all seems a bit much. Allow yourself to sit down and write for 15 minutes, without any pressure. Chances are you’ll get to 15 minutes and be in the zone, and you’ll want to carry on.
If you don’t feel in the zone and finish after 15 minutes, no problem – you just made a tiny step. Do 15 minutes a day and it doesn’t take a mathematical genius like yourself to work out that you’ve done 1 hour and 45 minutes work in the week – that’s not too shabby considering you might have done nothing…
7. Reward Yourself with Progress
Huh? Aren’t you double-counting rewards? I thought I got a beer after my hour’s work?
Well, yes, but that’s a micro reward for doing a micro bit of work – what I’m talking about here is something much bigger.
Since you’re on a mission to build something, progress is extremely rewarding. If you can only see that progress at the very end, it’s daunting. You need some smaller wins to celebrate in the meantime. (Need more help? Next week’s post has more tips on progress.)
8. Write down Your Excuses
Go on, write them on a piece of paper.
Then add to the end of each excuse:
“To work on the business that will change my life.”
This simple act can change your perspective on excuses and make you really question the truth in them.
I’m too busy… To work on the business that will change my life.
I don’t have enough time… To work on the business that will change my life.
I’m too tired… To work on the business that will change my life.
If you don’t believe that your side business will change your life in some way, or if that’s too vague, then be really clear about why are you doing it? Add that to the end instead:
I’m too busy to work on the business that will mean I have enough money for my kids’ education.
Or whatever it is for you. Still got no time?
9. Strategically Outsource
Now a very practical tip. Get someone to do the things you don’t like doing, so that you have more time for the things you enjoy.
Perhaps you don’t think outsourcing is for you. You’re too small for that. I seriously doubt it. With established services like Fiverr and FancyHands, you can start outsourcing tasks for $5. (It’s even easier if you use those links – a free gig on fiver, and half off your first month on fancy hands. That means you could get outsource 6 jobs for $12.50 – No excuses really)
If there’s something repetitive that you need to do to move your business forward, get someone else to do it for you to free up your time to work on the things you’re passionate about.
10. Make It a Priority
This is perhaps the simplest item here, but at the same time the most complex. I read this post on the Minimalists’ site a couple of years ago, and it stuck with me.
Everyone has the same amount of time in the day, and we all choose how we spend it to some extent. Like it or not, what you spend that time on is what you’ve prioritised to spend it on.
If you feel like your priorities are set by someone else, then maybe it’s time for a bigger rethink?
Right, there are 10 ways to make some more time. I defy you not to find a little more time if you pick at least one of those and commit to it.
If you’re ready to take it to the next level, check out part two of the series on how to be insanely productive in the time you do get