Can a Side Hustle Make You a Better Full-Time Worker?

Ready to start your side hustle?
Learn how a side hustle can improve your full-time work performance!

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Lots of people have side hustles these days – about 44 million to be exact. Whether you are driving for a rideshare service, selling homemade goods online, or completing technical tasks for others, side gigs are abundant. It’s no wonder. Side hustles can give you a way to turn free time into extra money. They can also allow you to showcase talents that you can’t use on the job. But, what are the impacts of having a side hustle on your full-time job? The answer might surprise you!

Does a side hustle distract you from your full-time work?

If you have a side hustle, you might be concerned about telling your full-time employer. Why? The common assumption about side hustles is that they are likely to distract you from your job. If your boss knows that you’re running a successful online shop, they might be wondering why you aren’t spending that time working for them instead. On one hand, they aren’t wrong.

Side hustles can present challenges that have to be managed. For example, you have to create structure for yourself outside of a traditional employment relationship. You might also be responsible for marketing your services and finding steady customers or clients. You might not have the same protections from customer or client abuse that you normally have. Additionally, you might feel lonely or disconnected from others, if you’re doing solitary work.

All of this time and effort put into getting your side hustle going, and managing it day to day, can be distracting. Recent research has demonstrated that side hustles can create what is called “attention residue”. Basically, when your side hustle requires a lot of your attention, you might be a little more distracted in your full time job. This distraction can decrease your full-time work performance. But, this isn’t the only way that side hustles can impact your full-time work performance, so keep reading for the positive side of things!

Side hustles can be a little distracting.
Before you start your hustle, you want to make sure that you’re prepared for a little bit of distraction from full-time work!

Can side hustles make you happier in your full-time work?

While side hustles might have the tendency to distract you sometimes, there is really good news. They can also make you happier in your full-time work, which positively impacts your performance! Research has shown that side hustles also have a lot of positive qualities. They give you freedom to do the work you want to do. They also allow you to do your work in a more personalized way. You can be more authentic in a side hustle, compared to traditional work. In other words, side hustles can be empowering because you are doing what you want to do, how and when you want to do it.

When you are in an empowering side hustle, your engagement with your gig work increases. You get immersed in what you’re doing. You really feel connected to the work you’re producing! When you feel engaged with your side hustle work, you then feel happier going into your full-time work the next day. When you feel happier, for any reason, you perform better at work. So, your happiness is caused by your side hustle, but it seeps into your full-time work. The best news? The amount of happiness you gain is greater than the amount of focus you lose. So, while side hustles can be distracting at times, the boost in productivity you get from being happier, outweighs the distraction. This means that having a side hustle is a net positive activity for your full-time work performance!

Side hustles positively impact your work performance through happiness.
When you choose a side hustle that you really love, your happiness positively affects your full-time work performance!


Overall, you shouldn’t be worried about your side hustle decreasing your performance in full-time work. In fact, it might help increase your performance! But, this is only true if you find your side hustle empowering. Your side gig is empowering if it allows you to make your own choices about the work, you can see the impact and meaning of the work, and you feel confident in your skills. You are more likely to feel empowered by your side hustle if your work is complex and interesting enough to keep you motivated. So, don’t start any old side hustle! Start one that you really love, if you can.

If you’re a manager, you should support employees who have side hustles! You can’t have all of your employees’ time – nor should you want to! Allowing employees to pursue personal goals outside of work will make them perform better in the long-term. So, let go of the control and allow your employees to find side hustles that empower them! We have talked about how to pursue gigs in a healthy way before. Now it’s time to find a side hustle that will make you happy and get after it!

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