In recent years, more and more U.S. workers have started working two or more part-time jobs, instead of a single, full-time one. There are many reasons to choose this path, from losing your full-time position to seeking a more flexible schedule.
Whatever the reason, this can be a challenging way to live. Multiple jobs will require you to manage your time, energy and finances with care. Despite the potential difficulties, it is possible to make this lifestyle work. An important factor will be your time management skills and organization, as you will need to plan around competing deadlines and shifts. You will also need to know exactly what you plan to get out of your various jobs, so you can make advancements in certain areas, and hold back in others. Knowing the dangers of over packing your schedule and working to the point of exhaustion can also help you keep a careful work-life balance to maintain your energy levels and social life.
Working multiple jobs means your life will be full of variation. Not only will you have several income streams, but each of your jobs might mean using a different skillset in a different context. In order to make the most of your situation, you will need to set defined goals, both for your finances and your professional advancement.
If you have taken on an extra job in order to meet a certain savings goal, or to pay off a debt, the monetary target will be fairly clear. You may even leave the job once you have reached the target. Otherwise, you will need to know exactly what your target income is per month. This way, you can aim to schedule enough hours to meet all of your needs. You may also relax a little once you know your target will be met.
When trying to use your work to develop your career, make sure you know how each job will help you accomplish your goals. Perhaps plan how to network effectively to grow a client base, or how to develop a reputation in a certain industry.
One of the best ways to make sure you are able to manage several part-time jobs at once is to choose your jobs carefully. Perhaps you could make sure the locations of each job are close to one another, cutting down on your commute. You may be able to find multiple jobs allowing you to work from home. It is also worth taking the time to find jobs within your skillset that will pay as much as possible, or at least over the minimum wage. You may be able to find a job allowing you to earn extra income through commission or tips.
Planning your week ahead of time will be crucial. Some jobs may assign you shifts, in which case you will need to map out the hours for each job, and make sure they do not overlap. For any work undertaken from home, you will need to look at all of your upcoming work, and determine how many hours will be required for each task. The hours spent working, as well as the deadline, will need to be carefully scheduled.
As well as scheduling your work hours, you may also need to schedule other tasks. When you only have one job, it is easy to ignore tasks, such as housework, until you have some free time. However, when balancing multiple jobs, you will need to schedule that time yourself. Otherwise, you may have every hour of your day planned out for work, with no allowance for cooking, exercise or spending time with your family.
Sometimes, one of your jobs may be more important than another. This may be due to a higher salary, perhaps, or one job having the potential to help you realize your long-term career goals. It is important to be aware of this, as you may occasionally be required to prioritize one job or client over another. Be aware of what you value most from each of your jobs, and have an idea of where you may be able to compromise, if pressed.
In the same way it can be all too easy to let your domestic tasks go when filling up your schedule with work, you may also find yourself neglecting your personal life. Leaving yourself no free time can mean you will burn out and lose the energy needed to keep up with your various workloads. Start by taking on smaller amounts of work at a time, and adding to them when you know you are able to handle it.
Include some social and personal time in your schedule. Ideally, this will be one day of the week in which you do not work at all. You might work a little more on other days to allow yourself this freedom. During your day or hours off, try not to think about your work. This might be especially important for those who work for themselves, or from home, as it will be very easy to jump back into work if you start worrying about upcoming projects.
While working multiple part-time jobs might allow you to increase your overall income, removing yourself from a traditional work plan will have some financial implications to consider. Make sure to plan for: