How to make the most of your time when building a side business

How to make the most of your time when building a side business

When you’re working on your online business in your spare time, every minute is worth gold.

Since you only have little time to get things done, being organized and deliberate about what you’re going to do during this limited time is super important.

I find that for me starting the day with a gratitude, setting an intention for the day and deciding on what tasks I will be working that day gets me more focused and helps me stay on top of what I do.
How to make the most of your time when building a side business
Start your day with one sentence in which you state what you want your day to be like or a mindset you want to strengthen in you. For example, you can say: “I am determined to succeed and I remain focused no matter what.”

Express one thing you’re thankful for. It can be as simple as: “I’m thankful for breathing.” or “I’m grateful for this opportunity.”

Once you set the tone for your day, decide on the tasks you want to accomplish today.

There’s always the temptation to pack your time with a ton of tasks and, as exciting as this sounds, it will actually work against you. Putting a ton of things on a to-do list doesn’t mean that you’ll get them done. Instead, it will get you all stressed just by looking at it. Worst yet, when the day is over and you haven’t even cracked half of your list, you will feel unaccomplished, disappointed and irritated.

Who needs that? Not me, and I’m sure not you.

Instead, choose 1-3 top tasks for the day. Yes, you heard me right, one to three and no more.

If the task you need to do is a big one, make it the only task of the day. Better yet, break it up into smaller tasks that each can be completed in an amount of time you have available for the day. So if you have about an hour every day to work on your biz, make sure that your tasks don’t take longer than an hour to complete, each.

Breaking up the tasks into smaller ones makes them more doable and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Plus, if you get into a “flow”, you might end up completing more than your planned number of tasks. This will make you feel super awesome.

To recap: set your intention for the day, list 1-3 top tasks for the day, make sure that the tasks are small enough to be finished that day and if a task is too big, break it up into small chunks.

Now that you have your 1-3 top tasks listed, let’s get to work on them.

One of the keys to successfully work on a task is to focus only on that one task. Fight the desire to “multi-task”, there’s no such thing. Trying to juggle many tasks at the same time distracts your attention and, in the end, doesn’t do justice to any of your work.

Do yourself and your business a favor and, instead of completing 3 “meh” multi-tasks that might need to be redone, do just one task that’s stellar and will be a great building block for the future of your business.

Now that you have decided to focus on one task only, do you jump on it and work for three hours straight like a mad person? Yes, you can do that, but a week of working like that will burn you out and then you’ll end up taking a week off or, god forbid, hate what you do. Your body and mind won’t thank you either.

So, what are you to do?

The Pomodoro method that I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts is a perfect solution. Use it and it will become your best friend.
Pomodoro is a time management technique where you work for 25 minutes, rest for 5, then work for another 25, then rest for 5 and so on.

Each 25/5 cycle is called a Pomodoro and after three consecutive Pomodoros, you take a 15 min break.

Working in such a way lets you zero in on your task since you know you only have 25 min to give it your best shot. After working in a focused manner for 25 min, your mind and your eyes get a 5 minute break to prevent a burnout (and probably blindness!)

During your 5 min break make sure to move around, drink water and maybe step outside for some fresh air.

Once you’re done with your task, mark it off and move on to the next one if time permits.

When doing tasks, note the time it takes you to complete them. This will help you to start timing your tasks better and this in turn will help you with planning your time better in the future. Also note if there’s a better, faster way to do this same task in a future to streamline your work and save you time.

To recap: choose 1-3 main tasks and do them one task at a time, timing yourself using the Pomodoro method and evaluating task once it’s done.

Now, I realize that besides the 1-3 important tasks you might have smaller ones that are not as important but are very simple and quick to knock off.

List those secondary tasks (please, no more than 5 for the day) and do them when you have a few spare minutes (not long enough for a Pomodoro).

As an example, you can thank someone for their re-tweet via your phone while waiting for a bus or check your emails while on a break.

Knock the smaller tasks out and cross them off for some quick wins. These are like extra credit – do them whenever you have a free minute but remember that your main tasks are your first priority.

Every day that we work on our business (and life!) we learn something. When closing up for the day, take time to reflect on your day and jot down what your wins were and if you learned any lessons.

To recap: list a number of small, easy to do tasks, knock them out when you have a spare minute; at the end of the day reflect on wins and lessons learned.

Recognize your accomplishments and pat yourself on the back, you did great today!

To organize your whole business, get “Organize Your Online Business” printables e-book. With 30 forms and over 60 pages, it will help your plan, brainstorm and organize!   ⇓

Organize Your Online Business Forms


  1. says

    I do similar things when planning my day. Thanks, btw love your theme I was just looking at buying this today. How did you change the body text font? I don’t know how to code CSS and that’s the only thing I wanted to change in the theme. How do you like it? I think your site looks greaf!

    • Lillith says

      Thank you, Tanya! Yes, to change the font and to get rid of flowers on the top, I had to do it via CSS, but they have very good instructions in the member are so it was not a biggie.
      I like it, it has a lot of functionality and full on shopping cart integration that I haven’t taken an advantage of. I’m thinking to rearrange the main page to make it more minimalistic with more of a central point of focus. Let me know if you run into any problems with your site and I’ll see if I can figure them out for your. You can always come over to Nightpreneur Facebook group and post the question as well 🙂

  2. says

    Great tips. The tip about choosing your top three tasks has made a world of difference for me. I am able to focus and get things done when I do this!!!

    • Lillith says

      Thank you, Erica! Yes! When I stopped loading myself up with twenty task a day, I became less stressed and more productive. Who knew, right?

    • Lillith says

      Thank you, Sharice! I work full time so I always wish there was more time to do things I want to do. That’s why I’m really passionate about making the most of the time I have.

  3. says

    I’ve been waking up early to work on my side business for almost a year now. It’s been great, but I haven’t done well with prioritizing my time. I think setting an intention will help a lot. Thanks for the great advice!

  4. says

    Hi, Cheryl from Blog Engagement…You have some helpful and resources. I must come back and utilize whatever tools that will benefit my business. Great info Lillith. I am going to need more tools to help me stay organized especially for my life coaching and natural products business.


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