How to juggle more than one job at once, even when it’s really hard

For 20-somethings and beyond, trying to cope with than one job is too often a reality for people in the workforce. Maybe you have an internship and a babysitting gig, or a shift at a restaurant as well as freelance work. Regardless, while trying to make ends meet and pursue your career dreams, you may end up with a jigsaw of job-related time commitments. I know this to be all too true, having been under the pressure of four jobs at once at one point in my normally humdrum life. Running around everywhere became increasingly tiresome and I found myself struggling to make time to even eat a bite, which is normally one of my hobbies.

I started realizing that, while I was thoroughly enjoying all of the experience I was getting, working multiple jobs at once makes it really, really, really hard to stay on top of things. It’s easy to spread oneself too thin when working more than one job. Are you feeling overwhelmed about everything you have to do? Trust me, I know exactly what you’re going through. Here are some tips for staying on track and successfully juggling your job commitments.

Aim to accomplish only your priorities

First things first: know your priorities. If you were to try to accomplish everything you needed to for every job, every day, you would probably be exhausted. When you wake up in the morning, don’t let yourself get too caught up in a gigantic to-do list for all of your commitments; only hold yourself responsible for completing the tasks that you want to prioritize. If email isn’t a big part of your life, don’t beat yourself up at the end of the day for not getting to it. As long as you make sure that you finished that tedious project due in a few days and created a presentable draft for your boss to approve, you have accomplished your priorities, and that’s most important.

Don’t be afraid to let your employers know you’re busy

If you’ve been slipping up at one job because of stress resulting from your other obligations, don’t be afraid to let your employer know.* Who of us hasn’t forgotten a deadline or turned in an only half-finished piece of work? We are only human, after all, and your employer will be understanding of the fact that you’re under a lot of pressure. They might be happy to let you work on a smaller project for the time being so you can focus on other things.

Try not to overcommit, even though it’s hard

While your employers will most likely be understanding of your situation, it’s important for you to keep a steady hand on what you can and cannot plausibly accomplish. Don’t agree to do more than you can, because that will either result in work lacking in quality or disappointed employers. And we get it– sometimes you just want to believe that you can be productive enough to finish everything, or that you can sacrifice sleeping, eating, and other precious parts of life for work. More often than not, your desire to laze around and eat ice cream will prove too powerful, and you will succumb to its temptation. Understand your own limitations and don’t spread yourself too thin, because that will merely result in too much stress and pressure on yourself.

Making time to relax is just as important as working hard

It’s 10 p.m. and you’re halfway finished with an assignment for one job, but you know that if you push through, you could finish it and still get a solid five hours of sleep. Sound familiar? There’s always more to do, especially when you work three or four jobs. However, letting yourself continue to do more and more will only hurt yourself in the long run. And we know, we know– you want to pay the bills or save up for a big relaxing vacation. We hear you! But honestly, one big break will most likely not be as beneficial as many small breaks. That money is ready for you to spend. So, read a book; put your feet up; sleep in for the day. Make time to keep yourself grounded and take a break from working so much.

Stay motivated to do the work you’re doing

It can be difficult to keep in mind why exactly you’re juggling so many commitments, and it can certainly get hard to continue doing so. When the going gets hard, always remember to stay motivated and keep your eye on the prize. Whether your “prize” is paying off student debt, saving up to start a family, or just to keep yourself busy, return to that desire when times get hard and you’ll remember why you’ve signed on to handle so many obligations. Write your goal on a post-it and keep it taped next to your laptop screen, or create a “progress bar” so you can watch the work you’ve done pay off. However you choose to maintain that motivation, keeping your desire on your mind will make the work a lot easier.

[Image via Universal Pictures]