Have you ever stared at your to-do list and felt overwhelmed, knowing there’s too much on your plate? When you’re working multiple jobs, it’s easy for your to-do list to slip away. Time can feel like a luxury and basic self-care can be thrown out the window. That’s why it’s important to go into each day with an action plan. Take it from someone who worked two part-time jobs on top of a full-time job: where there’s a will, there’s a way! Keep reading for 15 tips on how to improve your day-to-day routine.
1. Prioritize your sleep
If you’re not sleeping at least 7 hours per night, you are putting your body at risk of burning out. Sleep allows your body to heal and your mind to de-clutter. If you sleep the right amount, you will be able to meet each day with more energy and a fresh mentality.
2. Adopt a strict schedule
When you are juggling two to three jobs, it is essential that you follow a strict routine. This means planning out chunks of time in which you will solely work on one job or a specific type of task.
When I worked one full-time job and two part-time jobs, my week was structured in the following way: I woke up at 7am, worked from 9am to 5pm for one job, 7pm to 10pm for my two remote jobs, and went to bed by 10:30 each night. On the weekends, I worked on my blog or completed a small task in advance to clear up extra time for my upcoming week. If you need inspiration on how to craft a healthier daily routine, check out 10 Daily Habits to Build a Better Life.
3. Fuel your body with healthy foods
Quit junk food and swap the sugary treats for high-fiber, protein-filled meals. If your brain is working over time, you need to eat plenty of healthy fats and drink copious amounts of water. High-quality energy will allow your brain to stay clear and energized all day long. If you need ideas for food, check out these 5 Cheap, Easy & Healthy Breakfast Ideas.
4. Jot down your to-do list at the start of each day
I’m a big fan of to-do lists. If you are someone who needs help with organization, try jotting down five must-do’s at the beginning of each day, then list ten other to-do’s you’d finish if you have the time. I’d also recommend keeping a gratitude journal that doubles as a planner. That way, you can be more cognizant of what’s going well and take note of your blessings.
5. Be upfront with your bosses
If you aren’t upfront with your bosses, you’re setting yourself up for a sticky situation. More likely than not, your bosses will be accommodating and understanding. This conversation can be as simple as: “Hey, I wanted to give you a heads up that I have another part-time job after I leave our office. These extra hours won’t interfere with my current work, but I will have to leave promptly at 5pm each day.”
6. Set clear boundaries
When you leave one job, don’t think about the other. If you are juggling multiple freelance jobs throughout the day, allow your mind to focus on one job at a time. This means you structure in time for each job rather than trying to multi-task.
7. Limit your commute
The extra hour or two of commute time can be a drain on your time. That’s why you may want to consider working from home for one to two days each week. This will give you a few extra hours each week to work instead of driving or rushing to public transit.
8. Switch up the type of tasks you perform each hour
For the first hour, you may want to send off all of your emails. For the second hour, you could complete any creative work projects. For the third hour, you could focus on your calls, and so on. Obviously, your specific tasks will vary depending on your career, but the idea is the same: by switching up your tasks and exercising a different part of your brain each hour, you can keep your brain more engaged. To clarify, this does not mean multi-tasking. Try to focus on one job at a time and one type of task at a time.
9. During your lunch break, take a walk or eat at a nearby park
Your mind, body, and soul need fresh air. If you are sitting in an office all day, you aren’t feeling the sun on your face or moving your muscles. That’s why I recommend taking a short walk during lunch in a scenic place. Put your phone down, get in your car, and drive to a nearby park. Most areas have at least one park in a five-mile vicinity. This way, you can spend thirty minutes decompressing outdoors instead of in another room.
10. Limit social media and reduce your screen time
Social media and television are draining on your time and mental health. You may think you are relaxing, but your mind is still being inundated with messages. If you can quit cold turkey, try replacing your daily entertainment with a good book or quality time with family or friends. A hug from a family member, good story, or self-care night will feel much more fulfilling in the long run.
11. When you aren’t working, let your mind relax
It’s important to do nothing but relax and sit with your own thoughts for at least thirty minutes a day. That way you can connect to yourself. If you are running around, guns a blazing, all day, you are operating from a fight-or-flight response. High levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine can lead to fatigue. For ten tips on how to slow down and practice self-love, click here.
12. Turn off the screens by 10pm
If you’re restless, read a book, make a cup of tea, or take ten minutes to write in your gratitude journal. However you choose to unwind, make it a part of your nightly routine. This means leaving your phone out of sight, out of mind, so you won’t scroll through it all night.
13. Ask for help from your friends and family
You don’t have to go at it alone. You have people who love you and who are here to support you. Be honest about the type of help you need, whether that’s help cooking dinner, filling your car up with gas, a long hug, or someone to talk to about your concerns. There are also online resources for those who need help, including Talkspace and BetterHelp. Sometimes, telling someone about what you’re experiencing and receiving honest feedback is the best way to get through a difficult time.
14. Honor your commitments
At the end, don’t overcommit yourself if you aren’t able to follow through. You need to understand your own limitations in order to create an effective work schedule. You also need to honor the commitment you made to your boss, who hired you because they believed in your capabilities and talents.
15. Have fun!
You should be working with the goal of learning something new! Working is for your benefit, so try to breathe through the process and absorb as much information as possible. At the end of the day, you should aim for progress, not perfection. If you are honest with yourself about your capabilities, you’ll do great.