10 Ways To Squeeze Side Hustles Into Your Busy Schedule

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. It’s what you do with them that truly matters. I often receive questions from others about how I was able to fit side hustling, college, and work into my life all at one time. It was hard, but it was possible. Yes, sacrifices need to be made, but like…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

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10 Ways To Squeeze Side Hustles Into Your Busy Schedule Clock Picture

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. It’s what you do with them that truly matters.

I often receive questions from others about how I was able to fit side hustling, college, and work into my life all at one time. It was hard, but it was possible. Yes, sacrifices need to be made, but like I said, it IS possible to fit side hustles into your life.

It all depends on how badly you want it.

Whether you want to transform your side hustle into your full-time career, you are wanting to make extra money so that you can tackle a financial goal, or something else, side hustles can completely change a person’s life.

If you are someone who wants to start side hustling but you can’t figure out how to find the time to add another thing to your life, I’m hoping today’s post will help you out with this.

Related posts:

  • Side Hustle Series – Read this if you are interested in hearing about the many side hustles ideas that my readers have shared.
  • 10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money – If you are interested in finding a side hustle idea for yourself, you may be interested in one of the things I’ve done in the past to earn side income.
  • Ways To Make An Extra $1,000 A Month – Are you asking the question “How to earn side income?” Here are different ways to make an extra $1,000 a month.

Below are 10 ways to squeeze side hustles into your busy schedule along with some time management tips. Some of the ways may be things that people won’t want to do, but sometimes if you want to reach a goal, devoting your free time to your side hustle is exactly what is needed.


1. Wake up earlier in order to fit time for your side hustle ideas.

Back when I had my day job, I would usually wake up around one to two hours before I had to start getting ready for work. I would use this time to work on my side hustles, which included replying to emails, brainstorming article ideas, managing my blog, finding mystery shops, and more.

Waking up ahead of time was rough sometimes, but it was nice to get everything done with before I went to work.

If you’re not a morning person, then you can always try to fit in time before you go to bed as well. I would often work on my side hustles for a few hours before I went to bed as well.

Two hours each day before you go to work is 10 hours each week to put towards your side hustle ideas.


2. Strategically use your lunch time.

When I had my day job, my lunch time was almost always used for my side hustles. I would often bring my lunch to work which allowed me to save money on food and to also use that whole hour for my side hustle ideas.

That’s five hours each week right there for side hustles just by using your lunch hour.


3. Take vacation days at your work just for side hustles.

To refer back to my day job once again, I often used my vacation days at my day job in order to work on my side hustles. I would often take just one or two days off at a time so that I could relax somewhat and not feel like I was constantly running around with my head chopped off.

Taking this option can be a great idea. If you have paid vacation days, then it’s even better because you are getting paid to work on your side hustle!


4. Turn off the TV so that you can have more time for your side hustle ideas.

I want you to do something right now. Take a moment and really think about how much time you waste watching TV. I’m not perfect either, but I’m going to assume that number is something that is going to shock you.

According to Neilsen statistics, the average American spends 34 hours each WEEK watching TV and around three to six additional hours each week watching a movie.

That is a lot of time wasted. Just think about how much you could do if you just cut that amount in half. If you just watched half as much TV as the average person, that is 17 hours a week you might find to dedicate towards side hustle jobs.


5. Use short gaps in your day correctly.

Everyone has gaps throughout their day. This could be a gap before you have a meeting, a gap between your day job and night classes, a gap before you have to pick up the kids from school, or something else.

Maybe you have 30 minutes or an hour. Most people will just plunk down on the couch and watch TV or browse on Facebook. However, you should use gap time efficiently.

That 30 minutes could be spent on fitting a little side hustle in and finding time to make extra money.


6. Multitask correctly to fit in your side income jobs.

If you can, you should try to multitask as long as it does not decrease the quality of your work. For me, I like to do this as long as I’m not too all over the place.

Some examples of easy multitasking include:

  • While I am cooking a meal, I will bring my laptop into the kitchen with me and work at the same time. Instead of just standing around making a meal, I use the little breaks I have so that I can work. Yes, I could just check on the food every few minutes and work from my desk, but I can eliminate this small time suck of walking back and forth and just work from the island in my kitchen.
  • If I am just walking on my treadmill (such as when I am warming up or cooling down after a workout), I will sometimes have my phone on me and I will go through my emails, social media accounts, and so on. It’s also a great time for me to brainstorm so I always have my phone on me in case I think of an idea.
  • If you are on the phone and on hold, do something while you are waiting!


7. Rethink your commute so you can fit in time for your side income jobs.

Okay, so this one may not be for everyone. However, if you commute to work such as by on a bus or a train, then you might want to efficiently use this time by working on your side hustle jobs.

If your side hustle is something that you can do from your phone, laptop, or just with a piece of paper, then this can be a great time to jot down any ideas.


8. Always being organized is one of my essential time management tips.

Being organized when you have limited time is a lifesaver and a great time management tip. You will waste less time trying to find what you need, you will be able to work more quickly, and more.

Always stay organized!


9. Use your days off for side income jobs.

This might seem obvious, but many people don’t like to use their days off in order to work on their side hustle jobs.

If you have days off, why not use them to further your side hustles?

You don’t even have to use your whole day off. Perhaps just use five hours for your side hustle on one of your off days? If you choose a side hustle that you love, then this can make it more possible to spend your off days on working without feeling as drained.


10. Be realistic about how much time you have for side hustle jobs.

Yes, everyone has the same 24 hours, but others may be more limited than others. I understand that different situations can make someone very busy. So, in the end, you always need to be honest with yourself about how much time you have available for side hustles.

You don’t want to run yourself completely ragged, forget about the things that truly matter in life, hurt your work performance, and more.

How do you try to find time for your side hustle ideas? What time management tips do you have? 

Filed under:

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. These are all great tips Michelle! I don’t watch TV when I’m working and also I wake up earlier if ever I need to finish something.

  2. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini

    First I really love the photo….that should be me on that clock. I utilize my lunch hour to my blog everyday. I just started this about a month ago and I can’t believe how much I can get accomplished during my lunch hour. Whenever I finish my work and have some extra time I also pull out my blogging writing pad and have a brainstorming session. Great post….as usual.

    1. Haha thanks. I love the photo as well ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, working during a lunch hour is great. Thanks!

  3. Mrs. Maroon

    Really good advice for trying to accomplish anything in your day. I relate most to the time gap idea. I often wonder what else I could fit in by effectively using time between activities. I have a terrible habit of thinking that a particular task will take so long so I don’t start if I have a limited time window. I put it off. Then when I do get around to doing it, I find it doesn’t take as long so I should have just gotten started in the first place!

    1. Yes, the time gap idea is something that too many people skip. There are so many gaps during the day that it’s dumb to not use it wisely!

  4. All good tips. I’ve decided that I have to prioritize my side hustle activities onto a single list once a week and then stick to the list every time I’m ready to work. Otherwise I’ll do mindless, non-developmental things like check my blog stats or my email for the hundredth time.

    1. Yes, sticking to a list is very important!

  5. I wish I could just eat my lunch at work. The thought of having that five-hour per week of my lunch time makes me excited to have this kind of opportunity. The best strategy for me is as soon as I arrive home, I start working while the TV is on.

  6. Awesome tips! I confess, this is pretty much exactly what I do. We get up at 6 everyday, which gives us a solid two hours to work before going to our 9-5’s, I absolutely use my lunch hour, and we hardly watch any TV these days. It’s amazing the time you can squeeze out of your week when you really try. This is kind of funny, but, I stopped painting my nails every week to save time too! Every hour counts.

    1. Haha good job saving time!

  7. When I still had a “side hustle,” I would get up at 5:00 a.m. to work on it. That was the only time I could find. It was a really hard time in my life, but I made it through somehow!

    1. Yes, I don’t know how I made it either. I think back about it and I often laugh at how miserable I must have been! Luckily I got through it.

  8. Allan


    I’m using #7. I used to take my car to go to work. Now I take the bus and use that extra-time (10-12 hours per week) to work on my blogs and investments with the help of my phone.

    In fact, I love it more than my day job ahah ๐Ÿ™‚

    I don’t listen to tv either. Just that is worth 75$ of after-tax money per month or 130$ in extra income per month. Plus, I get a lot more free-time there too!

    Great tips!

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for reading Allan! Good job on finding time ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hi Michelle! I think these are GREAT tips! Thanks for sharing! For me, I am much more productive if I wake up early for the day. Tip #10 has also been resonating with me because the truth is – with a toddler and a baby – I don’t have a ton of time right now for side hustles unless I put them in daycare (which I’m considering!). I wake up early (try to, anyways) to get work done, work during their nap times, do emails throughout the day and work when they go to bed if needed. All about balance right now!! Thanks for the tips!

  10. Excellent tips, Michelle! Staying organized by planning your time beforehand is incredibly helpful when it comes to making more time. Turning on the T.V. is an absolute time killer when you’re focused and trying to accomplish goals (or side hustle).

    1. Thanks Natalie!

      I still struggle with the TV thing now that I work from home. Sometimes I just have to hide the remote from myself.

  11. Good ideas! But some may be a bit challenging for those who aren’t good at multi-tasking (ahem, like my husband, trying to write a blog post while patting his head would be asking for the impossible). The only way we can keep our little blog going is by dividing up the work. We make it a team effort (although my poor husband has ended up pulling more of the load) and we both try to contribute whenever we can.

    1. Yes, multi-tasking isn’t for everyone, and that’s why I didn’t make it such a big point in this blog post. Too many people waste time by multi-tasking.

  12. Amy

    Great tips! I usually work for an hour or so right after I put my daughter on the school bus, but before I start my errands/chores. As a night person, I’m most productive in the few hours I have between my daughter’s bedtime and my own.

    1. Good job on finding time Amy!

  13. Whenever I commit to more side hustles, I commit to less sleep because I typically fit them in in the early morning or late evening. For enough money, though, my sleep can be purchased. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I agree Shannon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. This exactly me. Usually lose sleep to side hustle. The discouraging part is you dont see returns on your investment early on so you really need to be committed.

      There were some great tips.. I’ll need to use my lunch hrs better….

      1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Great way of summing it up Michelle! There’s always a way to find time for side hustles if you really want to make it happen. I’m most productive in the morning so I’m starting to get up an hour earlier before getting ready for work to work on my side hustles and yes, it feels great to get things done early. I also used #9 recently when I had an unexpected day off from work and I turned it into a really productive, yet relaxing day for my side hustles.

    1. Yes, even though I’m not really a morning person, for some reason the mornings are my best time to work. Getting up an extra hour was best for me back when I had my day job.

  15. I don’t wake up early, but I stay up late. I’m not a morning person, so my side hustles run at night, late into the night. I have become better at multi-tasking, so that helps out quite a bit.

    1. Good job on finding time Grayson!

  16. I’ve gotta admit, I have no idea how you managed a full time job and a full-time side hustle for as long as you did. But you’re right that small amounts of time add up, I just struggle with focusing during those small amounts of time!

    1. Yes, a lot of it is about being able to focus. If you can’t focus, then small amounts of time won’t really work well.

  17. Yes, something you can work at least somewhat from your phone is great.

  18. Thanks Kathleen ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    I’m not a morning person, so I can only work on my side hustles in the morning when my Little Miss sleeps in. My Mr. studies on the bus and works over his lunch hour. We do watch too much TV, so that’s something we’re trying to optimize a bit…

    1. How much TV do you think you watch in a week?

      1. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

        Not as much as we did before becoming parents. But we still probably watch 15 hours a week. Which is a lot.

        1. Still a lot less than what I watch!

          1. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

            It’s basically on once our Little Miss goes to bed until My Mr. goes to bed. We both are usually doing something else when it’s on too. Then I stay up later. Not an excuse to not side hustle, just an area we could improve!

  20. I think your point about not over-loading yourself is vital – you don’t want to be so tired that you can’t think straight and do everything badly.

    The other thing is that if you aren’t single, you have to treat your relationship as another job, allotting some proper time to it each when when your not multi-tasking!

  21. Haha I think that would limit my time if I did that now ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Efficient use of free time is definitely the biggest thing for me. I’m always thinking of ways to maximize my time and multitask when possible.

    1. Same here! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Yes, lunch is a great time to work! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I love this post. Everyone has 24 hours everyday. It’s up to you to use that time wisely. At my current job I have a lot of down time. I use that time to write post, approve messages and complete other blog related work. Heck, I’m typing this comment from work right now ๐Ÿ™‚ . You hit the nail on the head with a couple of these tips. Working on your days off and turning off the TV is MUST if you want to get ahead. I’ve been doing both of those for the last year and have seen tremendous results.

    1. Good job Jason! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. It’s such a busy time of year that it’s definitely hard to squeeze in side hustle work. And sometimes even regular work! There is just so much to do with family and friends and parties and such. Waking up earlier is definitely one of the best ideas since that is “free” and uninterrupted time!

    1. Yes, it’s definitely hard to fit time in right now. I’m trying to work ahead as much as I can right now so that I don’t feel as stressed later!

  26. Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore

    I love this article Michelle! I’m always saying that if people have time to watch TV then they have time for something more productive – a side hustle, part time job, home repairs and projects, volunteering, etc. TV is such a time suck! I watch maybe 3-5 hours/week and thats when I’m winding down to go to bed in the evenings.

    1. Wow I wish I only watched 3 to 5 hours a week. It’s something I still struggle with.

  27. Mia

    Great ideas! Definitely relate to this as I am always doing the side hustle myself. I think I need to bookmark this or do one at a time so that it becomes a habit!

    1. Thanks Mia! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Sarah

    This is great advice! As a stay at home mom, I consider substitute teaching a side hustle, and I launched my “Mommy Blog” a few months back, but #10 is still really, really difficult for me. I try to have it all: a clean house, landscaped yard, home schooled kids, a career, etc. and it is hard for me to admit that I at some point, I can’t DO IT all myself.

  29. Great tips! I usually use my breaks at work for social media on my phone since they’re only 15 and 30 minutes long. I also do this between jobs or, if I have more than an hour between shifts, I take my laptop so I can do some real work. Waking up early does not work for me – it messes with my mental health and throws the entire day/week out of wack. Staying up later after I get home, however, usually works.

    1. Sounds like you have a great method ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Kim

    I think if you are motivated enough you’ll find the time, but it is hard to work a full week and use extra time for more work. These are great tips and a good reminder that we should use our time to the fullest.

    1. Yes I agree, it can be hard. That’s why it’s all about how bad you want it ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. These are fantastic tips Michelle.

    My side hustles are not really directly related to a higher income but an academic future, as I’d like to get a Phd.
    I live in Germany but I’m doing a Masters in England and so I do a commute to the University of Chester every six weeks! I’ve got a full-time corporate job which I love, a husband, a child, and my lifestyle-travel blog. In order to fit it all in, I get up at 05:00 and I hardly watch any TV. I record my fave programmes and watch them on Sunday morning!

    1. WOW sounds like you have a lot going on. Good job on managing it all ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. I have a love-hate relationship with taking vacation in order to do side hustle stuff. On the one hand, it gets me WAY further ahead than if I didn’t, but on the other hand… I REALLY like going on vacation. Ugh. I just need to be independently wealthy!

    1. Haha I know what you mean. When I had my day job I have mixed feelings about it as well.

  33. jackie

    great tips! i’ve been working longer hours so it’s harder to find time to blog, so it’s important for me to stay organized.

  34. Yes, I often have the TV on in the background. Such a mistake!

  35. Jessica

    These are all excellent tips. I probably should start getting up earlier in the morning to take care of things, but I have so much trouble waking up! I hope to one day magically become a morning person.

    I do like to multitask when possible and I usually utilize my lunch break as well.

    1. Haha good luck on magically becoming a morning person! ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Yes, a few hours more each day would be wonderful!

  37. Squirrelers

    Time management is such a huge aspect of being productive. I really believe that if we make the most of those gaps in time, and structure our overall schedules to allow for less of those gaps (less commuting, etc), we can often get so much more done than we realize. And yes, this includes time for side hustles.

    One thing that helps me with productivity, counterintuitively, is getting a full night of sleep. Instead of cutting back on sleep to get things done, I find that being fully rested just fuels me to be highly productive the next day.

    1. Yes, taking full use of gaps throughout the day is always a great idea. No need to waste them!

  38. I know that I’m most productive first thing in the morning – at least when it comes to intellectual tasks. So, I try my best to plan to write/blog/resume write/etc. as early in the morning as I can.

    My fiance often works early mornings, and since we’re a one-car family, I get up and drive him. Over the summer, I fell into the bad habit of going back to bed when I got home for another few hours, which meant when I got up for the second time, I had already missed my “productive” window. When I stay up, even if it’s before 5am, I get SO MUCH more done!

    1. I agree! I’ve been trying to just stay up once I wake up. Going back to sleep almost always means that I’m ruining my day haha.

  39. A) I love that pictures! Hehe! ๐Ÿ™‚ B) I’m famous for overcommitting myself and taking on too much at once. Amazingly, I manage to get most of it done, but I do think people (myself included) need to be realistic when it comes to making extra money through hustles. The extra money is awesome, but it shouldn’t come as a scarifice if you’re scarificing your health and mental stability!

    1. Yes, sacrificing your health and mind are not worth it!

  40. Lisa

    Waking up early is something I need to work on! I used to be able to do it and I was super productive, but there’s always that one day when I sleep in that throws me off.

    1. I’ve been sleeping in far too much these past few weeks. I need to stop and get back to working early in the morning instead of late at night.

  41. I’ve been side-hustling for years now and I’m afraid there were times when I spread myself too thinly. Time management is a must for those who want to take a second or third job in order to reach financial goals. However, one should also take a break once in a while just to recharge and not be overworked.

    1. Yes, recharging is very important!

  42. I just started a direct selling side line. Unfortunately, it happened right before I got fired so now it’s even more important. I think the best idea is getting up an hour or 2 earlier. It worked for me allowing me to have that time all to myself and my hustle.
    I really think getting fired was a good thing because it forced me to take chances!

  43. Jessi

    I love these tips! I keep wondering how everyone does it. I am so tired, sometimes I want to quit.These are great, easy ways to squeeze work in. Thanks for the help!