The economy may be better than it was five years ago, but it’s still pretty common to need an extra job or even two to get by. Whether you have a part-time retail job on the side or you’re hard at work to launch your own business, the extra cash can be nice, but the extra stress is not.
Here are a five tips for surviving a second job.
1. Decide how much to tell your bosses.
Your day job should come first — but you have to decide how much to tell your boss. Your workplace may require it, but even if it doesn’t, there are some good reasons (mainly regarding scheduling) to tell your boss. You should also let your supervisor at your side job know that’s exactly what it is. If you can’t work certain hours, they’ll be more understanding knowing that’s because you’re at work somewhere else. And be careful about which second job you choose — most workplaces will not allow you to work for competitors in the same field.
2. Try something new.
If you’re a kindergarten teacher by day, it might seem logical to tutor kids in the afternoons or on weekends. But that can easily lead to burnout at both jobs much more quickly.
Try something completely different instead. If you like plants or animals, look for a job at a nursery or pet store. Try being a pet sitter or dog walker. Enjoy good food and drinks? Land a gig as a server at that restaurant/brewery with the killer baked mac and cheese. Switching it up will help you stay sane at both jobs.
3. Set a goal.
Are you saving up for a fantastic international vacation? Trying to pay off student loans or medical debt? Looking to buy your cat that fancy canned food the vet recommends?
Figure out how much extra you want to earn each month — or, if you don’t really care about the money, figure out what else you hope to get from this job. Are you trying to switch careers and learn some new skills? Looking to socialize with people who aren’t the awful bores from your day job?
Having a goal in mind will let you see your progress and keep you motivated.
4. Keep an eye on rest and stress.
A second job can be great, but is it really worth it if your health is suffering? Work-related stress can cause headaches, digestive trouble, hair loss and insomnia.
You want to be at the top of your game at your day job. If you take a second job, make sure you give yourself enough free time for a full eight hours of sleep every night and at least one day off per week. Try to give yourself a little “me-time” each day, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk or reading for half an hour before bed.
5. Leave work at the office as much as you can.
Some jobs are notorious for sending work home with you, and if that’s your day job, you may not be able to avoid it. But otherwise, when you’re not at work, don’t think about work.
Don’t check your work email accounts at home (or if you must, only check at set times, like right after dinner and right before bed). Don’t bring anything home with you that can wait until your next shift. If your second job is a work-from-home kind of project, like freelance writing or an Etsy shop, set aside time and space for your projects, and try not to work on them elsewhere or at other times. Your mind needs the break.
You’ll survive! Don’t get down on yourself for having a second job and feeling like you don’t have enough free time. That will definitely make it hard to stay motivated. Just keep pushing, keep focusing on your goals, and reward yourself when you accomplish something. It’s worth the celebration.