Many people who work as care providers are straddling two or more jobs. There are obviously many benefits to this type of schedule. For example, it’s less likely to get bored in your work, and there is some security in case something happens with one of the jobs. But there are many challenges to managing multiple jobs that can make life rather complicated.
In this article, we’ll explore six steps to help you maneuver between jobs and reduce the stress that can lead to burnout.
1. Allow adequate time between jobs
For me, nothing is more stressful than cutting it close. Yet, in the pursuit of efficiency, I have often had the tendency to shoot myself in the foot by scheduling engagements so close that they nearly overlap. Toward the end of one, you start worrying about the next one. When you do this, you are keeping your body and mind at a maximized stress level, and risk bringing in tension to your next job.
Sometimes scheduling is out of our control, but wherever possible, allow yourself a break between. Even if it’s too short a break to really sit down to a cup of coffee, just having enough time to not stress over getting there punctually can be a major way to cut down on stress and even boost your energy.
2. Be present
One way to stress yourself out and drain energy is to have too many things on your mind. Think of your smartphone’s battery life: Does it last longer if you only have one program open at a time, or if you have multiple programs running in the background?
Similarly, when you clear your mind of things going on at other jobs and just focus on the one you are doing at a given time, your job performance and your ability to be in a more restful state of mind increase.
3. Prioritize consistency
Again, it isn’t often possible to keep a consistent schedule when you work multiple jobs that may vary day to day. But there are numerous ways that you can be consistent in time management.
For example, you can develop routines for how you start and end your time at each job. Maybe 30 minutes before starting the first job of the day, you sit with a hot beverage and write down goals for the day. Experiment with different routines throughout the day, and stick to them as best you can. This helps break up the day, and provides moments for mindfulness and reorienting yourself to the tasks at hand.
4. Prioritize self-care
Good mental, physical and social habits are important for all everyday life, and this is certainly no different when managing multiple jobs in a day. Do whatever you can to stay on track with general health, such as:
- Staying hydrated: It’s so easy to forget, but always stay hydrated. Set up recurring reminders on your phone if you need to!
- Getting good sleep
- Establishing a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Staying in touch with friends
- Setting aside screen-free time each day
5. Schedule time off when possible
Having a day off or even a vacation scheduled can give you something to look forward to and help you avoid feeling stuck in a rut. This is especially important if your jobs are scheduled in a way that leaves you with few or no days off in a given week.
6. Practice focused breathing
Sometimes, you just need to breathe. Sometime between jobs, take at least a minute to pause, and take slow, deep breaths. There are lots of ways people practice focused breathing. If you don’t have much time, try this quick and easy one that just consists of three different breaths:
Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold it, and then exhale for 10 seconds. Then breathe in for 6 seconds, hold it, and then exhale for 12 seconds. Finally, breathe in for 7 seconds, hold it, and exhale for 14 seconds.
Breathing this way is like hitting the reset button, and such a helpful way to transition from one job to another.
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