5 Ways to Balance Your Startup and Full Time Job
The passion you might feel for your startup can often get in the way of your full time job. While working your startup and full time gig may be a challenge, it can be a less stressful way to get things started and allow you to use a full time income to propel your business forward.
Keeping things on track with your startup and career is a balancing game and if you play things right, it can be incredibly rewarding. Take a look at these 5 tips and see if implementing them might make your life a little less exhausting.
1. Make a Startup Schedule
Take a cue from your 9-5 and set scheduled times to work on your startup. Things will seem less hectic when you know when you’re going to work and when you aren’t. A concrete schedule makes it clear how much time you have to work and will help you see how quickly you’ll be able to get things done.
You could have a schedule of working 6-8 pm on weeknights and 8-12 pm on weekends, whatever works best for you. When you align your goals with your schedule, you’ll know what a realistic timeline is and how to best spend your time.
2. Squeeze Out Extra Time
In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert shared how when you’re really passionate about something, you are motivated to find and use every opportunity you have to work on it. In the analogy she uses, she describes how even when their life may seem chaotic, passionate people find a way to work on what they love.
Where can you squeeze in some time for your startup? One of the easiest blocks to add may be your lunch hour. Find a place, preferably out of the office, where you can pull out your laptop while you grab a bite to eat and you can make a nice dent in your to-do list. If your lunch hour is out of the question, think about waking up earlier or working right after the kids go to sleep. Finding an unexpected, but feasible time to work on your startup can help you feel less stressed as you get things started.
3. Listen In
Multi-tasking can be a double-edged sword, but when you’re doing a mindless task or are spending time on a lengthy commute, it can be a valuable thing. You can work at your day job and be learning for your startup if you take advantage of audiobooks and podcasts. When you have a business idea that you’re looking to move forward with, diving deep into the subject matter can prove incredibly useful. Knowing as much as you can about your industry and your customers is a priceless competitive advantage. All it takes is to plug in your headphones and press play.
If you’re lucky enough to have a full time job where your boss doesn’t mind if you have earbuds in, this tactic could be huge for you. While your hands do the full time work, your brain could be learning. Research online to find the best resources for your industry and start listening.
4. Get Productive with Parkinson’s Law
When you only have small pockets of time to devote to your startup, you might think that you aren’t doing enough for your idea, but Parkinson’s Law says otherwise. This 1955 discovery states that work expands to fill the available time for its completion. In other words, if you give yourself 4 hours to complete a to-do list, that’s how long it will take you, but you probably could have done it in 2.
What’s the moral of Parkinson’s Law for the startup side hustler? Relax. You’ll accomplish more in a small amount of time than you would’ve given the full 9-5. Stay focused and forget your anxiety. You’re doing more than you thought you were.
5. Set Expectations
When you’re working both a full time job and a startup, life can get crazy. This chaos can affect not only you but your relationships. If your startup is growing and growing and you know you need to spend more to working on it, let your partner, family, or friends know. Let them know how long they can expect you to be working overtime. Giving the important people in your life and yourself and timeline of how long you’ll be working this hard, can help everyone get through the months spent balancing work, life, and startup.
If you’re not in a relationship and spend more time with friends, let them know that you may fall off the radar for a while, but they’re still important to you. If you all of a sudden disappear, it may surprise the people in your life. Let them know what you’re doing and when so that they can fully support you.
What’s your experience?
What has your experience been balancing a full time job and a startup? Are you at the beginning stages of your startup or are you months in? Share your story will us in the comments below.