Short on Time? 6 Ways to Improve Your Side Hustle Energy

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Time is our most valuable commodity, and it’s uniquely egalitarian; we’re all dealt the same 24-hours each day.

But it’s also a non-renewable resource — once it’s used up it’s used up.

That means we have to be conscious of how we use our time, of how we invest it.

And I’ll use the word “invest” rather than the word “spend” because I believe side hustling time, business-building time, is an investment — an investment in your future that will, with any luck, result in MORE time down the road.

Wishing for more wishes, right?

I’ve collected more than 450 survey responses from side hustlers all over the world (using this technique), and after asking people about their short- and long-term goals, I ask, “What’s holding you back?”

The responses include:

  • Not knowing where to start.
  • Fear.
  • Money.
  • And my personal favorite, “too many baby mommas.”

True story.

But one response that appears over and over again is time, as in, “I don’t have enough time.”

And that’s a perfectly valid response. We all have obligations that demand our time.

But what if re-framed the time “problem” to not be about hours but to be about energy? 

When I read “I don’t have enough time,” what I see is “I don’t have enough energy.”

And no, this post isn’t about optimum nutrition or sleep-hacking, but it easily could be.

What Energizes You?

What gives you energy?

Coffee maybe, but beyond that?

For me, I get energy from:

And my guess is your list would be similar. So why not prioritize those things?

Here are 6 ways to build more side hustle energy into your days.

1. Put First Things First (in the morning)

This one might be ripped straight out of 7 Habits but it’s for a good reason.

Your willpower is strongest early in the day.

It’s science.

What this means for side hustlers is we might be giving our best mental hours to our employers instead of to ourselves.

If you’re drained after a long day at work and don’t have the energy to work on your business in the evening, try flipping the script and doing it in the morning instead.

2. Think Solar Power

While this might be tough to do early in the morning, try and work some natural light into your day, preferably outdoors. According to Harvard, the combination of office jobs and sunscreen have led to a surprisingly high number of Vitamin D deficiencies.

Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to fatigue and depression.

I have a built-in excuse to get outside every morning; I’ve got to take the side hustle shih-tzu out.

But aside from sunshine, you can also find the stuff in certain foods like salmon or eggs, or in supplement form.

energy crisis

3. Unplug Your “Vampire Appliances”

In your home, “vampire appliances” are your electronics that suck up energy and drive up your utility bill even when they’re not in use. Experts recommend unplugging them to save energy.

But how about in terms of the people you interact with or the activities you do? Are there certain people who drain the energy out of you without providing any value in return?

Unplug them!

Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If some of those people are dragging you down, “vampire appliance-style,” doesn’t it make sense to distance yourself?

In some cases, this is probably easier in the “virtual” world than in the real world, but what you can do is simply “unfollow” people on Facebook who aren’t supportive of your goals.

And avoid the vampires in real life too.

4. Work in HIIT, but Think Like a Marathoner

HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is all the rage these days. In fact, some studies show just 15 minutes of interval training can be as effective in burning calories as an hour of “traditional” cardio.

What does that mean for our side hustle work?

It means to pre-plan intense bursts of activity during the limited hours we have to execute. It’s knowing your next move before you even sit down at your computer.

It’s knowing exactly how you’ll spend your time if you have 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour to bust out some work.

If you have longer blocks of time, you can use the Pareto method to get your side hustle tasks done (25 minutes on, 5 minutes off — or whatever variation works for you).

And of course the other component of this is the reality that your business isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. It will likely take weeks, months, and years to build a sustainable asset.

It takes some mental fortitude, or a marathoner’s mindset, to push through those walls and keep going.

Working in bursts, but playing for the long-haul is about doing everything you can to make progress each and every day, no matter how small. Just like a marathoner, each step brings you closer to your goal.

5. Find an “Accountabilibuddy” or Mentor

An “accountabilibuddy” is a term I first heard from Chandler Bolt, who explained it as a friend or colleague who will keep you accountable  to your side hustle gameplan no matter what.

By having someone looking out for you, and you for them, you’re setting yourselves up for success. Side hustling can be a lonely road, and this is one way to have some company along for the ride.

Simply knowing you’re going to have to answer for why you didn’t get stuff done can often be motivation enough to make it happen.

6. Take a Cold Shower

Man, if the cold water doesn’t wake you up and serve as an in-your-face reminder of your side hustle priorities, I don’t know what will!

Anyone still on the cold shower kick? I’m 7 months deep now and haven’t broken the streak yet.

Yes yes, winter is coming…

Maybe it’s placebo, but I swear it’s a weird productivity hack. And if nothing else, you’ll get out of there quicker which will give you more time to get to work.

Your Turn

What are some effective ways to energize yourself for your side hustle?

(image credit)

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

4 thoughts on “Short on Time? 6 Ways to Improve Your Side Hustle Energy”

  1. amazing and wonderful @Nick. I visit your blog first time through Zac Blog ( bloggingtips). I read your interview there and visit your blog. I like your writing skills and the way your ideas of thinking . Your Blog inspire me lot after 3 failure in blogging

    Thanks Nick, Thanks a lot

  2. Nick,

    I am still taking cold showers. I did break the streak for a couple weeks due to a nasty cold (at the same time I had an allergic-type reaction to the cold water).

    It certainly wakes me up and it isn’t so bad after a good workout.



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