If you’re one of the 8 million people in America working two or more jobs, you likely understand the stress of balancing work, life, and sleep. You might be working two jobs in order to make ends meet, get more experience on your resume, learn a new skill, or get some extra cash on the side. Whatever your reason, it can be a challenge to juggle the responsibilities that come with filling up your work schedule.
Since you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, we’ll keep this article to just three key tips to help you juggle your jobs and your life.
Manage your time.
Managing your time may seem obvious, but scheduling can often fall to the wayside. Proper time management is not just showing up to work on time. It’s creating a thorough understanding of where you spend each minute of the day. Time management answers the question: how can I make each minute more productive?
Look at every minute of the day to see what areas of your life are filling up the most time outside of work. Your schedule is more than just your work shifts. How much time do you spend cooking? doing housework? commuting to work? taking a shower? on the phone? You can then find areas to cut or shorten, so you feel less stressed and can move towards a better work-life balance.
Say you spend one to two hours cooking each day. If you’d rather spend that time playing with your dog, figure out ways to save time cooking. Make triple the number of servings, so you can use leftovers during the week. Throw a meal in the crockpot so you have a delicious, nutritious meal ready when you get home from work.
Think about your day in terms of 15-minute increments. Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse found that the most productive people don’t use to-do lists. They instead split up their day into 15-minute blocks, which helps to see exactly what needs to get done, when, and how long it should take. This helps you think of your schedule in a new, condensed way. Plus, if you see life in 15-minute blocks rather than hour increments, you’ll feel like you have more time in the day!
Plan your week ahead of time. Fill in your work schedule, your commute, errands, and your social calendar. Fill up every minute with your necessary to-dos. This will help you mentally and physically prepare for the upcoming week, so you don’t overbook or overwork yourself. On the flip side, a planned schedule will also tell you when you might have free hours to pick up additional shifts at one of your jobs.
Most importantly, use a work scheduling system. A system like Forge will automatically alert you when there is an appropriate shift made available. This means you won’t miss out on hours or money, but you’re not wasting time watching or switching shifts. This is also ideal for time management because it can function as a work-planner to give you flexibility and freedom.
Maintain a work-life balance.
Work is important, but so are your family and friends. Holding two jobs can cause relationships to slip through the cracks, which can leave you even more stressed and strained.
Make sure to take time to continue relationships. Even taking the time to wake your kids in the morning will mean a lot to them… and you! The more you manage your time wisely, the more time you’ll have to share with friends and family.
Don’t think about work when you’re at home. Although it’s easier said than done, it’s important to focus on the immediate task at hand. When you’re at home, you’re already away from work—so take the much-needed break. Focus on the lives of those around you. This will help you de-stress and connect better with life outside of your jobs.
Take time for yourself as well. You may not be able to “treat yourself” weekly or even monthly, but you still need to focus on your own wellbeing and health. This will also boost your productivity and energy at work as well. Take a few minutes each day to meditate. Watch a sitcom. Pet your cat. Whatever relaxes you and makes you happy, work it into the schedule. Put it in your 15-minute interval planner.
Remember that it’s okay to ask for help. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, ask your boss for a few less hours, ask a family member to watch the kids once in awhile, or ask a coworker to help you clean a table. Whatever you need to keep yourself running, it’s okay to ask for it.
Keep your two jobs local.
If possible, try to stay as close to home as possible when working two jobs. Commutes quickly eat away at your schedule. If you work locally, you’ll have more time to focus on a strong work-life balance. Forge’s scheduling system focuses on shifts in your local area that work with your schedule and your skillsets. This can help you minimize the commute while also fitting into your work-life schedule.
If you do have to commute, make your travel time as productive as possible. Read a book about your industry while you sit on the train, or listen to an audiobook in the car. Call a friend while you’re driving, or write out your 15-minute day schedule while on the subway.
Change your mindset about your commute. Rather than thinking of your commute as a part of your workday, reframe your thinking so it becomes a time to reflect, think, and relax. Thinking of your commute as part of your “home” schedule rather than “work” schedule can help you feel less burdened by your jobs.
The Bottom Line
Remember that you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. Working two jobs can be stressful, especially if you’re working them to make ends meet.
You have responsibilities, but you also have a responsibility to yourself to stay healthy and happy. If you feel stressed, don’t sleep enough, don’t eat right, and don’t spend time with friends and family, you’ll hurt your health and productivity in the long run. The worse your health and productivity, the worse you’ll be able to work and manage your schedule. This gets you stuck in a cycle of working multiple jobs that make you tired, stressed, and unhealthy.
Manage your schedule by the minute, make time for relationships, and work locally. Together, this will help shave off extraneous time so you can focus on what matters most to you.