No one EVER said starting a side hustle is easy. You work for hours and hours getting started, learning how to make the most money you can.

It’s easy to get fatigued during the process, and the more tired you become, the less you can get accomplished.

Here are 5 ways to keep yourself alert, productive and grinding:

Side Hustle Refresher 1: Pomodoro Technique

This is a time management technique that Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s developed in the 1980s. The thought behind it is too much extended focus on something leads to fatigue, so you take short, structured, timed breaks to reset your internal clock and return to productivity.

It’s set up so that you spend 25 minutes working on your task, then a 5 minute break, and you repeat that 4 times. Then, you take a longer break.

It looks something like this:

  1. Work 1: 25 minutes
  2. Break 1: 5 minutes
  3. Work 2: 25 minutes
  4. Break 2: 5 minutes
  5. Work 3: 25 minutes
  6. Break 3: 5 minutes
  7. Work 4: 25 minutes
  8. Long Break: 15-30 minutes
  9. Start over at the top.

There are different variations on the Pomodoro Technique, but they follow this general structure.

Personally, I find that your body tells you when you need to take a break. However, see if it works for you; there are a lot of Pomodoro timers out there, many of them free.

One caveat; this formula flies in the face of what’s called Flow, or being “in the zone”. If you’re dialed in and taking a break would interrupt that quantum level of productivity, there’s no way I’m going to tell you to stop.

Refresher 2: Microburst Exercise

Although it’s generally a good idea to hit up the gym or ride your bike on a regular basis, there’s nothing better to get your focus back than some short, high-intensity exercise.

It’s easy, fast and free.

30 jumping jacks, 30 sit ups, 30 pushups.

What? You don’t want to do all that?
Okay, fine…just the jumping jacks.

The hard part is not doing them…it’s actually getting yourself out of the chair. But you don’t even have to get down on the dirty floor to do them.

Refresher 3: Inspiration Video Break

YouTube is the greatest invention in the world. With a few keystrokes, you can learn to climb mountains, bake top-tier sourdough bread, speak ancient Greek, and more.

But when I’m exhausted, I want videos to entertain me. And YouTube is the place to find them.

Comedy is often what I turn to perk up. That or drummer videos…just something light, fun and entertaining.

Some suggestions:

The hard part is pulling yourself away! I suggest setting a timer (10-15 minutes TOPS), and when it goes off, get back to work.

Refresher 4: Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is another simple and free activity to get back in the zone. Sometimes it helps if you put on some relaxing music in the background, but take deep breaths (5 seconds in, hold for 1 second, exhale for 5 seconds) for a few minutes and you’ll be right as rain.

There are apps you can use to help facilitate your breathing, like Breath Ball.

Refresher 5: Snack Attack

Yum. A handful of almonds, some cheese, or a Clementine mini-orange can reset your mind and mouth, not to mention the burst of protein, enzymes, etc.

Side Hustle Trail Mix
Trail Mix Fix.

Just watch how much sugar (especially refined sugar) and carbs you’re getting, because that jolt will quickly turn into a crash, which will bring you right back to where you started.

When you depend on yourself to stay focused while working on your Side Hustle, it’s up to you to keep on track. But it’s not hard to do as long as you are proactive with it!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to trail mix to eat while deep breathing during some jumping jacks. (Sounds like a Heimlich maneuver is in the works.)