As the work world becomes increasingly flexible, many of us find ourselves juggling several part-time jobs. In my case, I write articles for several websites and teach two classes at an online school. In total, I report to four different supervisors with four different ways of doing things. It can be overwhelming at times.
Many people live the same hustle, but it’s not for everyone. I choose to live my life this way because I have six children, including a 2-year-old and 1-year-old twins, so it doesn’t work for me to take a typical 9 to 5 job.
For all it’s advantages, working more than one part-time job can leave you frayed and ragged at times. Here are some tips for keeping your sanity.
No matter where you work, a little organization can go a long way. This is especially true if you are meeting multiple obligations. The key is to find an organizational system and technology that works for you. Find a website, app, or resource that allows you to keep track of deadlines and due dates. For me, a good old-fashioned notebook and some colored pens are all I need to stay on top of things (and I recycle!).
Create a Routine
Once you have a clear idea of what needs to get done every day, experiment with ways to be more efficient. Are there tasks that overlap? Are there things that are best done during certain times of day?
When you find a winning strategy, stick with it. It may require some concentration and planning at first, but once you develop a routine you can count on, it will save you time. And when things come up (which they inevitably will) having a routine in place will make it easier to get back on track when the interruption is over.
There’s something about an unusual schedule that makes people think you have an unlimited amount of free time. Whether you work from home or have breaks between on-site jobs, people seem to think you’re always available. The answer is to create firm boundaries. Don’t accept invitations, take on volunteer obligations, or answer social calls during work hours. If you stick to a strict work schedule, others will learn to respect it, too.
Know Your Limits
Some days I fly through my work and cannot believe how lucky I am to earn money this way. On other days I’m distracted, packages keep arriving at my house, and my two-year-old knocks on my office door every 30 seconds to make sure I’m still in there.
Whatever your situation, you might find it tempting to take on more work if it’s offered to you. That’s one of the blessings and curses of having a flexible work schedule. Before you accept a job, big or small, make sure you have time to do it. Take a close look at your schedule, and be honest about about how long the job will take and how much time you have. The job may not be worth the extra money if it’s going to result in late nights, missed deadlines, and frayed nerves.
Take Some Me Time
It may seem impossible but it’s so important to find some time for yourself every day. Get up early and take a walk, meet a friend for coffee, or go for a run at the end of the day. Your mind and body will be grateful for these restorative moments.