How to manage time remaining from main job?


I have a paid job and it takes most of the daytime.

After that I am back home and when all the home things are done there's a couple of hours left for startup work.

Quite often I go to bed at around 2:00-2:30AM which makes me feel sick in the morning / not quite productive during the day / even less focused in the evening.

How do you manage time you have left after all what's taken up by main job/housework?

Did you try to do early morning hours (5AM-6AM) instead of late nights? Did it help?

Time Management Productivity

asked Sep 22 '10 at 21:46
350 points

12 Answers


I have found there are two people in this world:

  1. People who don't have enough time to do the things in their life they want to do
  2. People who get things done.

I usually spend about 1 to 2 hours a night on startup work after 8 to 12 hours a day at work. The best advice I can give is to be VERY organized in your startup work. I take a few minutes at 9-5 to organize what I want to accomplish at night. I choose 3 things I absolutely must get done, and do those. I make these 3 things small enough to fit within 1-2 hours. If the 3 are more than 2 hours, I redo the 3 to fit.

Also, taking a break day is very beneficial. I used to work everyday, 365, for 2 years on startup work before I realized it was killing me.

answered Sep 22 '10 at 21:57
1,340 points
  • I just want to drop a word about being tired. To get some rest is an obvious answer, the main question is "when"? To me it's on Sunday, I always rest and relax on Sunday, otherwise my working week will be rubish and I'll be very tired the entire week. For those really hard days you should consider taking some energetic pills, I have survived 4 years of work, MsC plus side projects with them. They work wonders for me, but I've seen others that did not addapted to them. Use this only as a last resource. – Fernando Martins 13 years ago
  • I used to be in the first category and moved to the second. I started getting up an hour earlier so I have a solid hour before work. During lunch I do GTD task, making todo's, breaking them down, prioritizing, scheduling, planning. After work I hit the gym, I tried cutting this out but my energy levels fell, I listen to educational stuff related to my project while I work out. Back at home I have 1 hour where I cook, clean while food is cooking, eat and chill a bit. Then 2 hours of work. I used to do some GTD stuff and reading on the bus but my schedule changed. – Keith Loughnane 10 years ago


Get more sleep. If you are short changing yourself on sleep, your productivity will suffer, thus requiring more time to get the same done. Sleep is something you can cut down on for short periods, such as a day or two, but not for weeks on end.

answered Sep 23 '10 at 00:23
659 points
  • So true, lack of sleep is a real killer. – Art 13 years ago


Optimisation becomes critical. The two main forms are:

  1. Automate repetitive processes: if part of what you're doing requires regularly performing the same operation then turn that into software or some mechanised / automated system;
  2. Outsource mundane and routine functions: if something needs to be done by a person but it is boring or time-consuming then put it out for others to do on your behalf.

If figuring out how to do either of these steps is also tricky then set it up as a tender on one of the freelance sites (like eLance ). The cost hit isn't that great. You may even find that a contract-based staff member can also take on some of this work.

The essential thing is to recognise your limitations (particularly in time) and learn how to delegate and manage other people's time and talent to support your initiative. These will also be good skills after you launch.

answered Sep 22 '10 at 22:15
384 points


I was struggling with the same problem recently and shifted my schedule around. I really think that getting in a habit of waking up and working on my startup from 5-8 AM and then getting ready and going in to my day job really helps me accomplish a lot more. Each morning I try to get 1 item completed for my startup and over the past 3 months, it's really moved forward a lot.

If you aren't a morning person, I'd encourage you to give it a try. Of course, you'll have to give up the late night coding sessions :)

answered Sep 23 '10 at 02:06
191 points
  • I like this idea... I am trying it myself starting tomorrow - thanks. – Ricardo 13 years ago
  • Tried that today, works brilliantly. – Art 13 years ago
  • This works well for me, especially as I have a young child. Make sure you don't check any email etc in this time - it will kill your productivity. – Cad Bloke 11 years ago


Since you are stressing your body by not getting enough sleep, you must make up for it in other ways.

Regular exercise is important. Do aerobic exercise as this helps the blood flow. Avoid weights as that makes you need more sleep for your body to recover. I find energy work with Tai Chi and Chi Kung really help as well.

Diet. Eat light foods such as high nutrition vegetables. Digesting heavy food - steaks, high cheese content and other high fat content food tires your body out. Don't eat so much that you feel sleepy.

(This makes me sound like a vegan militant. I am not! I'm just saying what you eat makes a big difference to your energy levels.. Experiment with your diet and see what works best for you.)

Avoid stress. This can be hard as you are working two jobs, but stress can be a killer on the health. Burning out does not help you stay alert! Make a concious effort to relax regularly. As you work mentally scan your body and if you feel yourself being tense, take 30 seconds or so to command your body to relax.

answered Sep 22 '10 at 22:26
Mongus Pong
161 points


I have a similar routine. I try to exercise every day, immediately after "day job" work, and some evenings I also cook. I have few hours every evening to do startup work. I find it difficult to get out of bed before 6:30 AM, so I don't know that a super early routine would work for me. Weekends are usually split about 50/50 between normal home life tasks and startup work. I try to take one weekend a month and do something fun (my wife and I are camping this weekend) to break up my rigorous schedule. We also try to do a "date night" every week.

answered Oct 8 '10 at 05:56
Nicholas Cloud
168 points


Here are 12 points from the Startups for the rest of us podcast :

Number 1: Listen to podcasts at double speed.

Number 2: Use a DVR to cut an hour long TV show to 40 minutes.

Number 3: Don’t be afraid to stop watching a movie or reading a book if you’re not enjoying it.

Number 4: Listen to books or podcasts while you drive, clean the house, exercise, or cook dinner.

Number 5: Automate anything you can, including using online bill pay, and automating your business functions, like payroll.

Number 6: Learn to say no.

Number 7: Don’t go to stores if you don’t have to. Shop online if you can.

Number 8: Stop commuting. Telecommute as much as you possibly can.

Number 9: Upgrade to the fastest Internet speed you can, that is not outrageously expensive of course.

Number 10: Skim books, or better yet, speed read.

Number 11: Uninstall any instant messenger programs and block time sucking websites like Facebook, Twitter, or other news websites.

Number 12: Outsource as much as you possibly can.

answered Sep 23 '10 at 08:05
1,569 points


Get organised and learn how to extract maximum results from your time.

This is quite simple to state, but tremendously difficult to implement. You'll need to learn how to say "no" to several people and to focus on what is the most important thing at any given moment.

Take some time to think ahead on:

  1. What you want to accomplish
  2. Why is important to accomplish this
  3. What steps are required to do so
  4. Comparing this objective to the others you already have, how important it is?

Get your most important objective and work. A good method to systematise this can be of great help (as GTD, for instance).

One fundamental thing you should never underestimate: try to find your limits. Push yourself towards a more aggressive modus operandi is a good thing, provided you do this in a responsible fashion. It is not effective to work up to 2 am if you wake up feeling sick the next morning and lose your productivity the next day. Try to find a balance. You will produce much more consistent and higher quality results working less but with a higher degree of focus.

Keep on moving!

answered Sep 23 '10 at 04:56
61 points


Take your laptop everywhere in a rucksack and work whenever you get a spare minute You'll be surprised how many five minute interludes you can fill with productive work in any given day. Get a cheap laptop with good battery life. Don't carry around your 2k Macbook, I use a £250 13" Acer. It's thin and light with good battery life and powerful enough to run Netbeans. If it gets stolen so what? The valuable stuff is checked into my repository.

My commute to work is only twenty minutes but involves changing trains so I have set my laptop to not go to sleep when the lid is closed- I can just fold it up, switch and open it up again on the next train.

Sometimes I take my rucksack to the pub so that if I get drunk and crash on a friend's couch that night I will be able to code on the way home in the morning.

My build toolchain is synched exactly on all the machines I use so I can easily sync repo's and not worry about having to get home to tweak some settings on my main development machine.

answered Aug 18 '11 at 00:35
176 points
  • +1. would like to know more about your toolchain setup. specially around how you are keeping it in sync across machines. – Amol 11 years ago
  • basically anything relevant is checked into svn and all the config is done from the local directory. It's a Java project – Sam 11 years ago


Make a schedule for the day in which you have at least 8 hours for sleep.

Example - 09:00 - 17:00 - Work
17:30-18:30 - home stuff
18:40-20:00 - rest
20:10-22:00 - startup work
then sleep

Something like that

answered Dec 28 '12 at 23:40
Kaloyan Georgiev
11 points


Its all about priorities and scheduling. It may just take longer.

answered Sep 23 '10 at 01:43
649 points


I have the same problem to combine day job and working on startup. I found that it is better to allocate small portion of my time each day, then to allocate big time slice once in a couple of days. Steady progress is more helpfull for my busy schedule.

answered Sep 23 '10 at 16:58
2,288 points

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