• How To Create a Workflow For Your Side Hustle That Maximizes Productivity

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    Hustle culture is a blessing and a curse. It’s amazing because it encourages you to go out and get lots of clients and makes it easier to earn a living creatively. However, it can also be your undoing if you don’t make sure you have a strong workflow and know when and how to do what work. 

    Understanding your workflow is the most important part of earning more money because it allows you to maximize your productivity.  Every work flow is different, but for deep work, such as freelance writing, there are some skills that you can practice that will help you prioritize your time and make extra money more quickly. 

    Create a freelance work schedule

    Organizing your life around your side hustle is crucial to making sure you have a solid workflow. This definitely doesn’t mean cutting out social interactions, and it can take some time to get right, but making sure you have time built into your week to create content will allow you to free much needed mental space. 

    When creating your work schedule. Ask yourself these questions to get an idea of what kind of schedule would work best for you. 

    • Am I a morning person or an evening person?
    • When during the day do I work the best?
    • When am I least likely to be distracted?
    • Do I work best in short bursts or block schedules?
    • What are your most productive days of the week?

    Answering those will help you figure out when to work on your side hustle. If you’re a morning person and work best in short bursts, then maybe scheduling your freelancing for 20 minutes before your kids wake up is the best and if you need more time that day, consider adding in another short session at lunch time. 

    Or if you’re a night owl and work best with long stretches of time, scheduling a creative session from 8 to 10 at night a few days a week might be the best way to go. 

    It really depends on who you are as a person, but it’s important that you make sure to set up a schedule that works for you and not against you. Because if you’re a night person trying to wake up at 5am to write, you’re not going to be producing your best work. 

    Curate a comfortable work environment

    Almost as important as having a solid schedule is having an environment you enjoy working in. If it doesn’t make you smile, or if you feel cluttered, then you need to change the workspace to ease tension. 

    Make sure your desk or workspace is fairly clean. If the space is cluttered, that can mentally weigh on you because you see the work you have to do after you finish your projects. Taking a few minutes before you start to tidy up can help lift a huge mental pressure. 

    Experiment with all your senses to create the best work atmosphere. Try different art or scents to lighten up the feel of the room. Some people need a little bit of noise to work well, and others prefer silence. Try out both to see if you can find something that encourages productivity. 

    If that isn’t working, try changing your space entirely. Some people work better from a coffee shop or a park than they do at home. 

    You might even try investing in a different desk, such as a standing or walking desk. While not all projects can be done on a treadmill, it’s a great way to engage all of your body, and sometimes amazing ideas come from plodding along on a treadmill. 

    Giving yourself the space to figure out what encourages product production will allow you to generate money more quickly. 

    Create an editorial calendar 

    Part of creating a workflow to maximize productivity is to make sure you know what you’re going to work on ahead of time. That way when you set down to write or draw or whatever, everything is laid out in front of you, and you don’t run into decision fatigue. 

    It takes some front end labor to set up that kind of system, but once it’s up and running it’s fairly easy to maintain. 

    First you want to use a calendar and write out all the projects that you’re working on that month. Make sure you list out start and end dates. 

    Also create a to-do list for every project. Using a project management system like Trello or Asana can really help take out some of that grunt work. 

    But if you decide to use the paper route, it’s helpful to keep it by your desk to reference. 

    Then, as you’re working on things, keep a running to do list. Inevitably, as you’re working on one project something you have to do for another will pop into your head. Instead of switching between projects, which can inhibit productivity, just jot it down on your to-do list for that project and move on. 

    Map out specific projects before you begin

    Even if you have a loose editorial calendar planned, mapping out a project before you start will really help you speed through the actual creation and help you earn more money faster. It takes away a lot of the guesswork and helps you shape the project better. 

    Ask yourself what you need to complete the task. For an article, this could mean figuring out what research you need to do, compiling a rough outline, and SEO/Keyword research to figure out the best words to use. 

    For other projects, like social media management, this could be creating an initiative week like Nurses Appreciation Week. Figuring out what projects you want to complete for a specific goal and then outlining what that week might look like. 

    Any planning you can do ahead of time is really going to cut down the overall time of the project and help maximize your hourly rate. 

    Minimize distractions to create a stronger workflow

    It’s imperative to minimize your distractions to create a stronger workflow. If you start working, but get distracted, it takes between five and ten minutes to establish the same level of concentration as you had before. 

    And anytime you’re not working, you’re not earning money, so you really want to make sure that you keep all distractions at bay. 

    To figure out what your distractions are, keep a distraction journal for a week. If you are pulled away from your project by something (social media, a phone call, the urge to create something entirely different, aimlessly tab scrolling through sources), make a note. At the end of the week, see if you can find patterns and then try to create scenarios in which those distractions can’t arise. 

    • If your phone distracts you, put it in the other room while you’re working and turn the ringer off. 
    • If you keep getting distracted by other projects, try writing down the ideas, breathing for a few counts to recenter, and continue on the current project.
    • If Twitter has you hooked, use a website blocking app to block Twitter while you’re working on a project. 
    • If your neighbor comes over to ask for a cup of sugar, make a house rule not to answer the door during your freelancing time. 
    • If you can’t stop taking photos of cool things you see, bribe yourself with that as a treat.

    Anything you can do to avoid distractions and guard your freelancing blocks is going to help you optimize your time and allow you to create content faster. The faster you create content, the more you’ll get paid. 

    Conclusion

    Hustling can be one of the best things to happen to your budget. But it’s only effective if you create space in your schedule to work on bigger projects. Understanding your workflow is the most important part of earning more money because it allows you to maximize your productivity. 

    By using these tips and tricks you can increase your productivity and create a better workflow that encourages creativity. 

    Do you have any tips that have helped you?

    If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. 

    Moriah Chace is the founder of personal finance website Our Table For Two. She started the site as a way to explore her own journey through the student loan process and now uses the platform to educate young professionals about money management and social impact. She lives in Texas with her two cats, dog, and loving partner where they spend their days biking around town and bickering over whether or not Wirt and Greg died in Over the Garden Wall.

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    • cassie

      April 28, 2020 Reply

      I loved this. I only recently got a dedicated workspace for my blog work and it has made a HUGE difference in my productivity! It is nice knowing all my stuff is organized and easily accessible in one place. I am working at my updated PC now instead of my out of date and partially busted laptop wherever in the house is quiet enough. My biggest distraction is my kids and I can’t really get rid of them, so I just work around it. I get most of my work done while my oldest is doing her schoolwork on her laptop right next to me. We’ve found a rhythm and a schedule to our days recently and it helps so much. These are great tips!

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