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When is the Best Time to Work on Your Side Hustle?

In a previous post, I wrote about the impact that the circadian rhythm has on human energy levels. This is something that is not talked about much. Instead, we are all expected to operate at a standard level of energy throughout the day – something that can never happen. The simple truth is that we all have better and worse times of the day, and most people can work better, learn better and interact better in the mornings.

The reason why this is so critical to the success of your side hustle has to do with quality over quantity. We have been conditioned, since grade school to believe that the quantity of time spent at work or in class is more important than the quality. Eight hours a day spent at the office or in school seems to define a “good day’s work” when, in fact, half that time is wasted, due to distraction, zoning out or interruptions.  You just can’t put that much quality into any one day.

Eat Breakfast

There is a much better way to get more done and to get to your side project, and it starts with breakfast. Make sure to eat breakfast (don’t skip it) and ensure you take in some protein along with that toast and coffee. Toast, muffins and other baked goods are pure carbs. They burn off fast and make you prone to crashing and overeating. Protein sources, like yogurt, dairy products, oatmeal, meats, and nuts, help keep your blood sugar level over the long run. This type of stability will go far in terms of keeping you alert and energetic longer.

Power Through Your Best Times

Next, divide your work up. Do the most important stuff in the morning, when you are at your best. You will get more quality work done by assigning it to the three hours of the day when you are at your best than you will by trying to get through it throughout the day in between emails, phone calls, and other distractions.

Then assign the less challenging stuff for the other half of the day. Returning emails, attending meetings, whatever qualifies as less challenging to you should be done in the latter half of the day. Your energy is going to slump some anyway, so assign the type of work that matches.

Obviously, the exact timing and division of your work depend on your particular job, but in general, most people simply try to get things done in an arbitrary way. You need a system, one based on fuel, stamina and the strengths and weaknesses of your metabolism.

If you are a night owl, these two halves might be reversed. Do the less challenging stuff in the morning, and the important stuff towards late afternoon.

It is important to dispense with the idea that you can do top notch work all day every day. No one can do that. Even the people who think they are doing that are not doing that.

Go Home and Work on Your Side Hustle

Structuring your day into two halves according to your strengths allows you to get in a good day’s work: half top priority work and half admin and support, allowing you to go home without having to take emails and other stuff home with you. It’s very difficult to work on your side hustle in the evening if you feel obliged to return more work-related emails at that time. Put in a good, balanced day’s work and then go home.

Make Your Morning Work for You

Finally, here are three more tips to help make that morning and that day work best for you, to keep you available and energetic for your other side-business.

  1. In the darker months, make sure some light comes on just before you plan to wake up. Not the light over your bedside table that would shine into your eyes, but one that is halfway between your bed and the kitchen. Something that will create the presence of light just prior to waking up. Use a timer to make sure it comes on five minutes before your alarm goes off. The established presence of light helps stimulate your body into action far more so than simply turning on the switch manually.
  2. Plan your morning activities to ensure you can get up, eat, get ready and leave without rushing. Rushing causes stress, and stress causes several bad things to happen, including the inability to concentrate. Calculate realistically how long it takes you to get from your pillow to your desk. Your body, your mind, and your successful side hustle business will all thank you.

3.In the evening, if you plan to read something on your phone or tablet before falling asleep, use a filter to tone down the brightness of display, otherwise, your sleep will suffer. When your sleep suffers, your next-day energy and concentration suffer, too.

Building a side-hustle business requires that you squeeze extra productivity out of the day – just like going to night school, it’s extra energy being used at a time when your body doesn’t really want to do it. By understanding the power of your circadian rhythm, and specifically the power of your mornings, you will achieve your goals more quickly

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Steve Prentice is an author and expert in effective time management. His company, the Bristall Group, delivers time management training, and Steve delivers humorous keynotes on time management and surviving the workplace.  His books are available through ManhattanBay Media.

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