11 Ways You Can Work on Personal Goals or Side Projects While Running a Business

Running a business can take more hours than you have in a day, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting — or needing — to complete side projects or reach personal goals. What is the best way to accomplish those goals, while still making sure your company continues to run smoothly?

Artist work on a project part-time

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Recruit an Amazing Team

Both for your pre-existing company and for your new side projects, recruit team members, vendors, and consultants who can not only help you ideate but turn your vision into reality. Time is limited and as one person, accomplishing all of your goals each day would be impossible. But with the help of other talented individuals, you can build multiple businesses that are successful. If the thought of hiring is overwhelming to you, consider working with a recruiter like C-Suite executive assistants. Utilizing a recruiter’s knowledge and expertise in finding you the perfect assistants will save you time, money, and stress.

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

2. Focus on Strategy

There always seems to be more projects than time, so maintaining focus is critical. Are your side projects important for the long term, or a distraction? Some of the greatest business leaders have commented that they have had to say “no” more than “yes” when it comes to getting things done. Ask, “will this move the needle forward?” and do a gut check before saying “yes” to the next project.

Daniel Griggs, ATX Web Designs, LLC

3. Create a List with Personal and Business To-Dos

Establish a daily to-do list, with the caveat that it includes both professional and personal projects. You’ll need to separate them accordingly. Then, you’ll know each day what needs to get done, and neither side will suffer. If a conflict comes up between a personal and professional objective, pivot to the side of personal unless missing out on the business side will severely affect operations.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Morning rituals of an entrepreneur

4. Establish a Morning Routine

After reading countless books of highly successful people, one message stands out: They all have a morning routine. If your company starts their workday around 8 a.m., wake up at 4 a.m. and start your morning routine. This may sound intense at first, but you start to look forward to those hours. It’s a quiet time where most people are asleep and you have the complete focus to crush your goals.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

5. Encourage Work-Life Balance for All Team Members

Stressing your own work-life balance while not allowing this in your other team members creates resentment, and your team won’t be interested in seeing your goals accomplished. If you create a company culture where plenty of time, encouragement and incentive is given for team members accomplishing their personal goals, your team will be willing to support you when you’re accomplishing your own.

Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

6. Give Personal and Professional Goals the Same Priority Level

I find that treating my personal goals and projects with the same priority as my company goals ensures that I accomplish them. The key is deciding to do something, then taking massive action to accomplish it. Don’t make your personal goals less important — the point of the company is to serve you, not the other way around.

Rachel Beider, Massage Outpost

7. Get Personal Projects Done First

I still struggle with balancing work with personal projects. However, what I’ve found to be helpful is to try and devote some time at the beginning of the day to these projects. That way, I can spend the rest of my day focusing on whatever work needs to be addressed without feeling like I missed the opportunity to work on my personal pursuits.

Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute for Success

Business planning for the day

8. Hold Yourself Accountable with Smaller Goals

One of the biggest ways to achieve work and personal goals is in understanding the necessary undertaking and appreciating the potential outcome. Be able to break your goals down into manageable tasks which you can complete one step at a time, and then letting your team know what you are trying to achieve.

– Kevin Urrutia, Voy Media

9. Automate What You Can

There are so many tools nowadays that make running a company or starting a project simpler than ever. Research some tools that will make your job easier and see what you can automate. Whether it’s adding a chatbot to your site or adding a digital assistant to your mix, find out where you need help and search for the best tools for your business.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

10. Track Your Time

Time tracking tools are a great way to help you identify how you are using your time. You can use a free one like Time Doctor and be honest about what you are working on. Then, you can look back and see what you are spending time on that could be delegated to make room for more productive work.

– John Turner, SeedProd LLC

11. Make a Schedule and Stick to It

Create a schedule and stick to it. The more we put off what we want to accomplish, the less productive we are. Add blocks of “me time” to sit down and work on those side projects, and keep that calendar moving like clockwork. You’ll get peace of mind, and you won’t feel guilty about trying to fit everything into an eight-hour day. Once you make time for what matters most, the rest will follow.

Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant