There are many reasons why you may decide to split your contributions to the workforce across multiple places. Maybe you want to earn a little more money than what’s offered by your main career, and you’ve discovered an appealing part-time job in your town has become available. Perhaps there’s a job that offers nighttime work for a few hours each week and it’s related to something you’ve always been passionate about.

Regardless of your reasons for taking multiple jobs, it’s no secret that to excel in each of them is a job in itself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, these tried-and-true strategies are for you. Put them to work to diversify your work output without losing your mind or sacrificing the quality of your performance.

Be Realistic About What You Can Handle

Many people who willingly take on more than one job naturally push themselves in other areas of life. Often, they find it very hard to strike that delicate, but all-important, work/life balance.

Before seriously considering taking on multiple jobs, think carefully about whether you’ll truly be able to handle the demands of them without putting too much strain on your life and loved ones.

Keep in mind how you must allow for commuting to each job site, potentially taking time to change clothes if you are going straight from one job to the other and doing those things without burning out.

If you’re taking on a second job for the first time and are uncertain about how much you can deal with, see if there are options for limiting the amount of time you do the additional work. At the start, go with the shortest of the alternatives.

If it turns out you’re able to adjust to the workload more readily than expected, there’s a good chance you’d be eligible to take on more hours, provided you’re a reliable employee.

Segment Your Day When Applicable

Sometimes you may be involved in multiple jobs at the same workplace. Maybe you got your start at a firm by serving as its domestic marketing manager, but your superior would also like you to assist a team that’s exploring the best ways to enter a foreign market.

In this kind of scenario, you may find it works well to break your day into segments so you can fully concentrate on one job before shifting to the next one.

This approach is particularly helpful if you find your productivity is suffering because you’re too worried about not devoting enough time to one job versus the other. Unless one job is comparatively much more demanding of your time, it’s simple to just split your day evenly between two jobs, and make adjustments as needed.

Create Boundaries and Stick to Them

Earlier, you learned about how important it is to gauge whether you can truly handle the demands of more than one job. Being honest in your self-assessment is crucial, but so too is politely letting supervisors know you’re able to meet certain obligations while at work, but won’t get into the habit of letting work rule your life.

If your supervisor at a part-time job knows you regularly come directly from your full-time job to work there, hopefully he or she won’t get into the habit of asking you to stay late or otherwise go above and beyond what’s expected. Unfortunately though, the ability to be understanding when it comes to human capabilities sometimes gets lost in the mad rush to meet deadlines, make sales goals and please customers.

From time to time, you may be willing to make exceptions and push yourself beyond what might be wise, but don’t make a habit of it. Instead, whenever you’re asked to do so, calmly but firmly decline by saying something like, “I’m sorry, I wish I could help restock the shelves tonight once that new shipment arrives, but I need to go home on time so I can rest and be prepared for tomorrow’s shift.”

Prioritize Practical Matters

As you take on more and more work, it’ll suddenly become a lot harder to make time for things like cleaning the house, maintaining your car and scheduling doctor’s appointments. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize those tasks weekly or even daily so you don’t fall behind.

You may find it’s easiest to keep the house clean by spending one of your off days tidying it up very thoroughly, and spending about 20 minutes a day thereafter doing small upkeep tasks.

In the case of doctor’s visits and servicing that pertains to your vehicle, both of those things could take you out of work for several hours or even a whole day. Find out what the procedure is for requesting time off from work, and follow it whenever possible.

That allows your supervisors to have adequate notice of when you may not be fully available for a shift. Plus, if you’re aware of the guidelines for time-off requests and follow them correctly, you shouldn’t be at risk for being reprimanded about having to be away from work.

Don’t Overlook What Matters

Often, people are so compelled to do whatever’s necessary to prove to themselves and others they can indeed handle multiple jobs they’ll cast almost everything else aside. If you find yourself doing that, it’s time to re-evaluate priorities.

Never lose sight of what brings true satisfaction to your life. Perhaps you get joy from a movie date with a best friend, spending time learning a new song on your guitar or cooking dinner for your family. As important as it is to do your best at work, that goal should not overshadow the other parts of your life that are meaningful.

The more skilled you are at staying grounded by participating in your favorite activities with loved ones, the easier it should be to bear the burdens of particularly tough days at work. Also, don’t forget to ask for feedback from the people in your life. They can tell you if, in their view, you’re adequately coping with the stresses of multiple jobs.

Allow for Transition Time

When you have days that require you to work more than one job, always spend time doing whatever it takes to clear your mind and help you feel settled in between each one. If time is really short, you may just be able to listen to an inspirational audiobook as you drive from one job to the next.

Ideally though, aim for enough time for a solid break between jobs. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to make the switch to new tasks so quickly, it’ll likely be stressful and you might lack mental clarity as a result. Having two to three hours in-between will also give you some personal time to unwind or run important errands.

Be Kind to Yourself

You may be a very driven person and believe you’re well suited for more than one job, even if you’ve never taken that route before. Although many people adjust well, others never find their stride with multiple jobs. It’s crucial to be patient and realize it’ll probably take at least a month or two to determine whether you want to keep your work schedule at its current level.

During that time, embrace perceived failures and constantly remind yourself you’re immersed in a learning process. No one was born knowing how to conquer the challenges that multiple jobs pose.

Even people who seem like they were merely perfected many of the same skills you’re now trying to grasp. You’re sure to make some mistakes along the way, but don’t beat yourself up over those supposed shortcomings. There is value in overcoming every obstacle, even if success doesn’t ultimately come in the way you imagined it would.

Besides gleaning the wisdom from these tips, it’s also a good idea to get some firsthand expertise from someone you know and trust who holds down more than one job. Although specifics vary between careers and industries, many of the principles a person should practice to stay levelheaded when splitting time between workplaces remain constant across the workforce at large.


Do you have more than one job? How do you manage it? Tell us in the comments!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

2 Comments on How to Juggle More than One Job

  1. Zoe
    March 3, 2016 at 9:48 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks so much, Sarah! I actually had a little breakthrough while reading this post – I decided to dedicate my energy to my business (and my job) and quit working on my MLM for the moment – it’s taught me a lot about online marketing, which is one of the reasons I joined, but it’s not actually the business that I want to build – I love having the option available for my clients, but it’s not where I want to focus my energy! So – thank you for the reminder about setting my boundaries and focusing on the life that I want to build!

    • Sarah Landrum
      March 4, 2016 at 2:37 pm (5 years ago)

      That’s wonderful! I am so happy to hear that, and wish you the best on your business!


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