THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kara Stevens Headshot

How to Stay Motivated and Productive While Building Your Business and Working Full-Time

Posted: Updated:
Print

While I fantasize about quitting my 9-to-5 nearly every day to work for myself, I know that my business is not ready; I still need the income from my full-time job to invest in building a strong and sustainable foundation for my future of self-employment.

Working full-time while building your side-hustle is definitely a juggling act, but it can be done. Your time is limited, so you have to use it wisely. On top of that, since building your brand on the side takes more time, you will need even more patience, hope, and motivation when the realities of little sleep, incremental progress, and the desire to give up hit you.

Here are some ways that I stay productive and motivated on this journey toward self-employment. I hope they are helpful to you.

Calculate How Much Time You Can Actually Commit to the Business:

From Monday to Thursday, I have committed to dedicating two hours per day to working on my business. On Fridays, I try to rest, go out with my husband or catch up on my sleep. As for the Saturdays, I can realistically work on my business for six to eight hours. On Sundays, I can put in four to six hours. With between 18 to 24 hours weekly and 72 to 96 hours monthly, I can think more strategically about how to prioritize my tasks.

Go to a Coffee Shop, Library, or Diner to Work On Your Business Before You Go Home:
I don't know about you, but it proved difficult, if not near impossible, for me to seriously work on my business once I got home from work because of all of distractions -- cable, Facebook, Twitter, and my bed. But I had to come to a point where my what I wanted for myself in the future became more important than giving in to my laziness in the present.

Have a Short "To-Do" List:

When I am at the coffee shop, I have a list of two to three things to get done in that sitting. On the weekends, the list may include four to five items. I do not start the second task until the first task is complete.

Own and Release Your Doubt and Fear into a Journal:

The journey to entrepreneurship can be a long, lonely one, especially if you are working your business on the side. When your goal seems so far way, there is a lot of room for self-doubt, negativity, and "thinking small" to invade your mind.

When I am feeling like my progress toward my goals is not coming fast enough or big enough, I own those feelings by writing them down. The act of writing (and crying) allows me to release the negativity and put into the ether. And in many cases, I almost instantly feel a sense of relief.

Give Yourself Permission to Not Be Perfect in Every Area of Your Life:

Do you know how much willpower it takes to focus and stay disciplined on such a lofty goal as self-employment? When you are giving your all in one part of your life, you may find that other things -- big and small -- get neglected, including your household chores and your friends. But remember this: You can buy paper plates or invest in a housekeeper. You can tell your friends that you are trying to live your dreams and that your isolation is temporary. Your real friends with dreams of their own will definitely understand.

Are there any other ways that you are staying motivated and productive while building your business on the side?