Here’s what to do if your side gig has become a struggle.
- A side hustle is a great way to boost your income — unless it becomes too much to handle.
- If you’re picking up too much work, consider taking some time off, trying a different type of work, or cutting your hours.
Years ago, when I started writing as a part-time gig on top of my main job, I fell into a bit of a trap. I’d reached the point where my workflow was steady and I had a lot of clients looking to hire me. But while that was a good thing for my bank account, as it meant scoring extra income, it was also a bad thing, because it put me in a position where I compelled to spend every waking hour at my laptop. Eventually, I started feeling the effects of that hectic schedule, and I made the necessary decision to cut back.
If you’re struggling with side hustle burnout, you may be in a good company. And it’s important to address the issue before you’re driven to give up on your side gig or harm your health. Here are some steps to take if those extra working hours are getting to be too much.
1. Take some time off
Just as it’s natural to need a break from your main job, so too is it easy to see why you might need a break from your side hustle. So be kind to yourself and take that break. If you work on a freelance basis, tell your clients you can’t take on new projects for the next month. And if you report to a part-time job in person, talk to your boss and ask for some leeway.
2. Try out a new gig
If you dread going to work at your side hustle, it may be because you’ve chosen the wrong gig. Say you work as a web developer all day, and your side hustle centers on web design. That could potentially amount to a lot of hours each week sitting at a computer and staring at a screen.
If it’s getting to be too much, try a side hustle that gets you up and moving — something like walking dogs or delivering groceries. Granted, the pay may not be the same, but a lower-paying gig could end up being better for your physical and mental health.
3. Limit your hours
There are only so many hours you should pressure yourself to work each week. If you’re currently putting in 20 hours every week on your side hustle in addition to 40 or more hours at your main job, rethink your plan and limit yourself to, say, eight side hustle hours per week. Better yet, schedule those hours so you know when you’ll be working and when you’ll be enjoying some much-needed downtime.
Don’t go overboard
Plugging away at a side hustle is a great way to boost your income. And that could make it easier to build savings, pay off credit card debt, or achieve whatever financial goals are motivating you to do that extra work in the first place.
But it’s important not to let your side hustle drive you to the point of burnout. And if you’re already there, make changes so your situation becomes more manageable — and so your health doesn’t suffer.
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