This week, we’re talking about time management. I discuss ways to get more efficient with your time within your side hustle.

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Hello, and welcome to season three, episode seven of the Grow Your Side Hustle Podcast, the podcast that helps women grow the business of their dreams, whether they want to run that business as a long term side hustle or build it into their main business so they can control their time with their families and control their money.

I’m your host, Jennifer Roland Cadiente, here to provide short actionable episodes that will help you build your business. This week, we are continuing along the time management focus with time management 102.

Last episode, we talked about how to make sure that you had enough time for your side hustle. This time, we’re talking about how to make sure that you’re using the time inside your side hustle as efficiently and effectively as possible.

So we’ve got two things to talk about on that. And that’s focus and systems.

I was watching a video the other day that talked about the Arnold Bennett philosophy, which is from a book that he wrote how to live on 24 hours a day. And he looked at what separated high performing people from the average people.

And what he really found was that it was a matter of focus. So when the high performing people are at work, they’re 100%. At work, they’re doing work tasks, when they’re done with work.

They’re done with work, they’re not thinking about work, they’re not, you know, answering emails, I mean, this was before he wrote before email, but you know, they’re not answering questions from their boss or whatever. They’re just doing the thing that they’re supposed to be doing then.

And I remember a few years back, when I was interviewing writers for my Pacific Northwest Writers book, one of the people that I spoke with was Sage Cohen. She is a published poet, and she was also at the time working a copywriting day job.

And so one of the things that we talked about was, how did she keep from getting distracted by inspirations for poetry, while she was supposed to be writing, you know, business copy. And she said that, what she would do is she would just write it down, just that would let her get it out of her head so she didn’t have to keep thinking about it.

And she was assured that she wouldn’t forget that idea or that bit of inspiration that had come to her because she had it written down. She could take it and work on it in the time when she was supposed to be working on poetry. But this let her brain get back to the copywriting that she was supposed to be working on right then. And I thought that was such a great idea that I started doing it as well.

And you know, that’s something that you can do, not just when you’re at your day job, but if you are, you know, in family time and you get an idea, you can just write it down and then get back to your family time. You know, or your friend time, something you’re doing that’s fun. If you’re watching a movie in the movie theater, maybe run to the bathroom and write it in your notes app or something like that so you’re not disturbing people in the theater, trying to write something down. But it is a great way to make sure that you don’t lose your inspiration, but that you get to focus on the things you’re focusing on. And that can help you be a high performer in all the things that you’re doing.

If you want to learn more about that, and the book, I will put a link to the video that I watched in the show notes.

But anything that you can do to make sure that your work time is your work time. Your side hustle time is your side hustle time, your downtime, your leisure time, your family time, those are not letting work or side hustle bleed into them. It’s going to help you so much.

So the other thing I want to talk about is systems.

Systems may sound like something that is really boring.

And I actually thought that meant, you know, something super rigid and gross and I hated it. But then I was talking to a client recently. And you know, we were he asked what I thought I had really brought to the business in the time that I’d been there, and I realized that it was systems.

And so even though part of me is like I don’t want any systems, I don’t want to have to do things the same way. You actually do things the same way, all the time.

And having a good system will help ensure that you can do it well.

So what is a system? It’s just a way of doing things. It can be something as simple as doing things at a specific time, so that you make sure they get done. Like if you want to make sure you don’t forget to send invoices, maybe you set time, on Friday, or whatever is the end of your side hustle work week, to make sure that you send out all the invoices from that week.

If marketing is something that you need to do, in your side hustle, maybe you make sure that you spend the first 15 or 30 minutes of every work slot devoted to your side hustle on marketing, whether that’s prospecting or emailing potential clients, or, you know, dealing with Instagram, DMS, if that’s how you how you get your business or creating content, just whatever it is that you need to be doing to market your business. That way you get it done. And you can go on to the actual work of your business afterward.

But it could also be something that is a little bit more complex than just you know, saying I do invoices on Fridays, I do receipts on — oh, that that’s actually a great system — making sure that you print out all the receipts for your business expenses every month, you know, maybe the last business day of the month, so that you aren’t scrambling to try to find them all, say, next March or April when you’re trying to do your taxes.

That’s a system. Anything like that, just put it in your calendar so you don’t forget to do it a little time spent now will help a lot in the long run.

But the other thing to do with systems is to look at what you do all the time, in the same way. You may have unconsciously created systems for those things. But it might be helpful to you know, to write them down and create standard operating procedures.

That way, if in the future, you start hiring people, then they know how you like things done. What you’ve discovered works best over the time that you’ve been working on your side hustle. And it can also give you a chance to see where you can make things work more efficiently.

As you’re writing down those standard operating procedures, you can think about what is working well, and what isn’t working well, what you like doing and what you don’t like doing.

And find ways to revamp the things that aren’t working well find ways to automate the things that maybe you don’t like as much or that you enjoy, but are just taking too much time. So I thought of a couple examples. You know, for me, the work that I do, I send a custom invoice for everything. But as I look at different ways to offer packages, or you know more productized types of services, I might create some payment buttons. And that can be a really easy way to make it so you don’t have to send a custom invoice every time you don’t have to create thing from scratch every time.

And it makes it easy for your clients to pay you and your customers to pay. I use a tool called Equipt360 to do that. It is set up for people who sell products and things like that where you a Payment button is going to be the right thing. And you can also use it to send the customer invoices.

If you find that you’re doing the exact same thing for your customers all the time, you might just automate your invoices. And that can be a good way to make sure that you’re not spending a ton of time on boring things that you don’t enjoy doing.

Another thing that I thought about is more at the beginning of the process. And it’s if you take custom orders, is there a form that you can set up for people to fill out so that you don’t do a lot of back and forth?

You know, in my case, maybe someone knows that they need four blog posts or a month of social media help while someone’s on vacation.

They could fill out a form saying you know we need four blog posts these topics, this many words, and that way we don’t have to go back and forth and have a phone call to discuss all of that we go into that conversation where I can ask them really specific questions and dig deeper into what they need, rather than, you know, wasting all of our time going over the top-level details.

And there’s a business that I follow called Seattle Swifty Lux. And it’s a woman who takes vintage and sometimes not so vintage Louis Vuitton bags, and customizes them for Taylor Swift Fans. So let’s just say that her typical order process — I don’t know if this is your typical order process, but let’s just pretend that it’s someone who goes into Instagram DMs says, “Oh, hey, I’m interested in a bag.” So then she writes back and says, “Okay, what kind of bag do you want? What kind of things do you want to have on it?” And maybe they go back and forth, you know, 5, 6, 7, or even 10 times to figure out what she needs to do for them. Instead she could have a form and they could say, you know, I want this type of Louis Vuitton bag, a Speedy or coin purse or whatever they’re looking for. And this is the Taylor Swift era that I’m interested in. These are some song lyrics that I like, these are some of the visual images that I think are appealing. And that could save a lot of that back and forth time. And, you know, in her case, that could mean that she spends a lot more time on finding the bags and customizing the bags, doing repairs, and cleaning and whatever else the bags need, rather than going through Instagram DMs all the time.

So think about something that that you’re doing, that could just be turned into an automated process to make your life easier, and make things go faster, so that you can spend more of your time doing the parts of your business that you like.

And it doesn’t have to be just, you know, like at the beginning an order form or at the end of the invoice, there can be pieces throughout that could use some help.

If you send products through the mail or FedEx or UPS, maybe you can get a shipping station at home where you can weigh everything out and get it packaged up so that you don’t have to do that there. If you send enough volume, you may be able to get them to come pick up your packages. So you know, you just pay for them through your computer, have them picked up, and then you never have to go to the post office or the UPS store to make these things happen.

And like I said earlier, you know, just this, it can seem like something you don’t have time for now. But spending a little extra time on creating systems that make you more efficient in the long run is going to save you a ton of time in the future and make it so that you’re spending time and your side hustle doing the part of it that you love.

And next time we are going to be closing out the time management series with time management 103, which we’ll be talking about delegating and bringing on a team in your side hustle. So I’m looking forward to that one.

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Alright, talk to you next time. Hope to see you in that Facebook group.