I just came across this New York Times’ piece about people working four or more jobs to pay the bills. I was not very surprised to see that almost everybody featured in the story was under 30. Well, considering that college grads of the last decade probably left school with mountains of student loan debt, left to face a gloomy job market that is highly cruel to the young, and are highly unlikely to repay student debts, make ends meet, or start saving any time soon on their entry-level salary.
Perhaps this is why we don’t gawk when someone says they have part time jobs, tagging along with a full-time career. Whether you are gaining experience in an unfamiliar industry, starting your own business, or saving up money, its not at all unheard of for people to be working multiple jobs. However, when you factor in early mornings, burning the midnight oil for too many nights, and getting crushed by too many responsibilities on your shoulders, it can get pretty hard to maintain your sanity while making good on your commitments.
I have been working two jobs for quite some time now and I have yet to find that balance. It is no fun to slave away all day at your job and then, instead of feeling happy at the end of the day, you know that you have part time jobs waiting for you. You can’t imagine how many parties I cancelled out on, how many dinner dates I had to shrug off.
Just when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, a friend of mine taught me a few strategies that have made my work-packed life a little easier. If you are thinking of quitting your part time jobs or are on the verge of losing your mind, here are a few tips to keep your cool:
The Art Of Juggling Multiple Jobs
We all know that we need some time management system in place when we take on part time jobs. However, before I go on, you need to remember that there is no one-solution-fits all. What worked for my jobs might not work for yours. Nevertheless, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that can help you.
For starter, you need to keep dividers between your jobs. Even if you are working for yourself on a side hustle, it is only morally right to keep that work separate from your full-time job. Focus on the second job in its own time. For instance, when you are working for more than one supervisor, punching the clock means you are devoting your time and efforts (and your mind) to that job only.
Remember not to let the second job encroach on the quality of your work performance on your first job. Usually our full-time jobs pay our bills and provide us with benefits, so make sure they take precedence over your second job. If a company is paying for this time, you need to be theirs heart and soul, until you clock out again. Once you have completed your shift, you can move your attention to your part time job.
Find The Best Possible Part Time Jobs
If you don’t want to go nuts on your part time jobs, you need to look for a job that utilizes your skills effortlessly and hopefully pays good. Working for tips in a job such as a waitress or a pizza delivery guy can increase the amount you could make in your spare time.
Additionally, if you can find part-time jobs that allow you to apply your current professional skills, it would help you to not only hone your skill but also alleviates you from having to invest in your part time job. For instance, a high school teacher can tutor as a part time job, or professional copy writer can freelance at night.
What If Your Jobs Interfere With Each Other?
Even though things may be going smoothly for you, some day an emergency may arise at your primary job, necessitating you to put in extra hours. But then you remember that you have pending tasks that demand your instant attention at your part time jobs. Unless you have extremely understanding clients or supervisors, at even one of your jobs, you might need to choose between jobs. If this day ever comes, I want you to decide based on which job pays more, holds more potential, and you enjoy doing more.
I have seen a lot of people bringing tasks from their part time jobs to work, especially those who are freelancers or are starting their own business. This seems to be the worst solution to tackle your packed schedule. Unless you have the explicit permission of your employer, this arrangement is nothing but shady, and can land you in trouble.
My advice is to schedule your tasks for both jobs in such a way that such a situation never arises. If you still find yourself in a pickle, give precedence to the employer who is paying you for this specific chunk of time, and try to somehow squeeze in the tasks from the part time job in your spare time.
The key is not to take on so much work in the first place that the jobs pose a conflict of interest or start crashing into one another. Work hard but know your limits to avoid burning out and gradually becoming less productive.
Forget About Work When You Are Not At Work
Juggling two jobs simultaneously means that your mind is always buzzing… for your day job you might be racking your brains over this really important sales presentation, while for the other, you are fretting about whether the client is going to approve your suggested web designs.
Even when you do manage to squeeze out some time for yourself, it is hard to keep your work thoughts from overwhelming you and keeping you occupied even in your sleep. This not only sabotages the scarce “me time” you get, it takes a toll on your mental health as well.
While the only logical solution to this is to train your mind not to think about work when you are not at work, but realistically what you can do is to start maintaining a to-do list at both your jobs. Keep tabs on what you have completed and what needs to be done. Physically crossing items off your to-do list gives you a sense of accomplishment, helping you rest easy knowing that most of your high-priority tasks are taken care of.
When you come home knowing that your to-do lists are taken care of, you would find it easier to separate yourself from work. Try not to bring your work phone home, and sign out of your work email inbox, or perhaps leave it somewhere where it won’t constantly remind you of work. Leave work at work, be it your day job or part time job, so that you can take your time to rejuvenate.
Find Easier Ways For Managing Personal Tasks
When you are buried ten thousand feet beneath work, the other things needed for a healthy, happy, and balanced life often disappear into the background. Think it is impossible to stick to a workout routine, make healthy meals at home, or keep your house clean with one job? Throw in another job to the mix, and the feat becomes almost impossible.
But what I have discovered is that eating healthy, taking care of my hygiene, and staying active plays a role in keeping me sane. While I have no time to hit the gym or stick to a comprehensive workout every day, I try to keep fit by heading for a quick jog in my lunch break, and taking the stairs whenever I can instead of the elevator. Sometimes, I try to squeeze a 30-minute workout in my break.
As for eating healthy, I make it a habit to cook and freeze meal prep portions over the weekends. I am also a huge fan of crock-pot meals – you just chuck in a bunch of ingredients before leaving for work, set the timer, and find dinner ready when you come home.
Job jugglers need to set clear boundaries and transparent communication from the start. Especially, if you are interviewing for part time jobs, it is important to communicate upfront if you are only going to be available for a certain time of the day or you cannot do more than a fixed number of hours weekly.
Most people refrain from having this talk for fear of losing the job, but trust me, you don’t want to put in extra hours on any one of your jobs, especially when you are already so pressed for time. Additionally, you want to make sure that you are working for an employer who can accommodate your needs. If you find the employer not sticking to their end of their bargain later, you can gently remind them of your availability.
Keep The End Goal In Sight
Let’s be honest. You are not stretching yourself thin working two or more jobs, putting in over 100 hours of your life week after week, just because you are having the time of your life. You might be saving up for a down payment or striving to pay off student loans. Maybe, you are starting your own business on the side or are simply freelancing to get the taste for a new field. Whatever your reason, your part time job is the key to getting you there.
Whenever you feel tangled up in the hassles of your various jobs, keep that end goal in mind. Remind yourself that you probably won’t be working multiple jobs for the rest of your life. Whenever you feel the urge to give up, give yourself a realistic time frame. For instance, once you earn a certain amount, pay off a certain percentage of some loan, or hit the year mark at a part-time, you can quit one of your side jobs.
See your current part time job as the temporary means to that end. Try to power through them just a bit longer, and the results will be promising.