How to Balance Multiple Jobs

Since July of 2008, and for some periods before that, I have held at least 2 and up to 5 jobs simultaneously. Some of these jobs are freelance and most are under 20 hours a week. But I wanted to share a little bit of the “how” this works in my life.

Balance priorities. I don’t have a spouse or children. It’s lovely really, my time is mostly my own and therefore my schedule is much more flexible than many people.

Work close to home if possible.
I live in a small town so driving to my part time job takes 4 minutes, 8 during rush half hour. It’s 2 miles away from my full time job and it takes me approximately 3 minutes to walk to one of my volunteer jobs. This allows me more working time both at home and on the clock because the commute time is so short.

Keep an accurate calendar. As many reminders as I need are put into my cell phone and backed up to my computer. Notes for appointments, working hours and bills are all entered. When I’m planning my day I try to balance things that are urgent and things that are important, but not urgent.

Eliminate barriers. There are days I just don’t feel like working. Unfortunately, most of those days I have work! I have to overcome my mental barrier that I’m five years old and I don’t wanna! Another common barrier is that “everything will be fine.” Girl Scouting taught me that I have the skills, or know how to get them, to be prepared for the future.

Keep your goals in mind. I work as a newswriter (freelancing) because I love writing. The paper is good exposure, practice and keeps my skills sharp. I work as a test proctor some weekends because I have a good friend who needs help covering her classes – the extra money goes towards savings which means I can have a little more fun.

Have an end in sight. I’m pretty sure I can’t keep up this schedule indefinitely. Or even another 10 years. But I have goals and an end in sight. For some jobs it means when I reach a point in my career the smaller jobs will fade to the background so I can focus on larger opportunities. For one part-time job I will keep working until my student loans are paid off. Most of this is mental so stay positive. Otherwise the light at the end of the tunnel looks like a train.

Take a break. Go on vacation, relax without working or planning to work. Take a friend out to coffee and remember that life is for living and not just earning a living.

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