Sleep problems are a little different when you’re working two jobs. It’s not so much that you have trouble falling asleep. Quite the opposite, actually, you’re probably so tired that you have a hard time staying awake. The problem when you work two jobs is that there just isn’t time in the day to get enough sleep.
The key to sleeping when you’re working two jobs is this: Choose your second job carefully and make sleep a priority when planning your schedule.
I know, it’s not easy to take time out for yourself when you’re working two jobs but it’s absolutely essential that you do. In order to keep your energy, mood, and job performance up, sleep is key. Here are some ways to help make sure you’re getting enough of it.
Not Just Any Second Job Will Do
One of the first things you can do to help manage your time as well as possible is to choose the right second job. There are a few things to consider.
First, if your full-time job requires a lot of manual labor, it’s probably best to choose a second job that isn’t quite as physical. You won’t wear yourself out as quickly if you spend all day on a construction site and work a couple of evenings doing something a little more sedentary.
On the other hand, if your full-time job has you stuck behind a desk all day, choosing a second job that’s a little more strenuous gives you a chance to exercise so you won’t feel guilty about skipping the gym on days when you’re too tired to go.
In addition to the kind of second job you take, the schedule is really important, too. How many hours are you expected to work during the week? Are you expected to work on weekends? Can you request a specific schedule or does your employer make one for you?
The best possible scenario is that you’re able to do something for yourself to earn a bit of extra cash. If you can freelance and do projects from your home in your spare time, you have a lot more control over your schedule.
Plan, Plan, Plan
The biggest roadblock to getting enough sleep when you’re working two jobs is there just isn’t a whole lot of time. Planning your schedule meticulously helps you make the most of the time you do have. Sometimes, piecing together shifts for your week or month almost feels like you’re doing a puzzle and trying to get everything to fit into place. When it’s done right, you’ll have a much better view of the big picture.
No one is capable of working 24/7 so it’s important to get your schedule set up so you to work the number of hours you need to without it taking up every minute of your time. You might be thinking that this doesn’t really help that much when it comes to sleep but, actually, planning your schedule is the most important thing when it comes to carving out time for rest and recuperation!
Say you have a full-time job where you work Monday through Friday during normal business hours, from 9 am to 5 pm. Hopefully, your second job is more flexible. When you’re putting together your schedule, you have some options. How much time do you want to leave between your day job and your side gig? Can you go straight from the office to job number two? Or do you need a break in between?
If you’re worried about getting enough sleep at night, it might be better to schedule your shifts as close together as you can. Going straight to job number two without an hour break could mean you’ll be home and in bed an hour earlier. That said, if you need a break in between, by all means, build it into your schedule. Just understand that it could mean a little less sleep that night.
Keep an eye on your social calendar, too. It’s easy for things to pop up unexpectedly and really ruin your plans as well as your productivity. But there are things you can plan for, including birthdays, anniversaries, or special family events. You may need to miss a happy hour that you were invited to on short notice but you can definitely work around your partner’s birthday.
From my experience, people who are willing to work two jobs to make ends meet or get ahead are not always able to do nothing and relax. There are just some people who like to be busy or feel guilty when they take time out of their schedule for themselves.
When you work two jobs, it’s very important to make sure you have some downtime. Even if you don’t want to, even if you’re tempted to pick up an overtime shift on what was supposed to be a rare free evening, you still need to know when to stop. Working two jobs is hard on your body physically, mentally, and emotionally. Giving yourself time to recuperate is important.
So, how can you make sure you have downtime in your busy week? Schedule it in! When you sit down to plan, make sure you leave time open in your schedule when you have no obligations. Give yourself one full day off and a free evening every week if you can. If not, leave yourself at least a two to three-hour chunk of time once or twice a week to unwind.
Knowing when you’ll have time to relax can do wonder for you mentally. If you start out your Monday morning knowing that you have a few hours set aside to relax on Thursday evening, it makes the rest of the busy week a little more bearable.
Look, I know it’s tempting to spend your days off going out with friends or ordering food and vegging out in front of the TV because you’re too busy to shop and too tired to cook. But when you do have a free day or evening, you have to make sleep a priority. If you intend to keep working at such a strenuous pace, rest is super important. Plus, spending on things like eating out and drinks with friends is eating away at the money you’re working so hard to earn.
When you have two jobs, you’re getting less sleep but your body actually needs more. So, as much as you might want to stay up late binge-watching your new favorite show, make sure you go to bed early and get as much sleep as possible on those evenings when you are home from work. Your body is physically not going to be able to keep up with the pace of a 60 to 80 hour work week if you don’t sleep as much as possible when you have the chance.
The Right Job at the Right Time
The biggest obstacle to getting enough sleep when you work two jobs is time. Often, there just isn’t enough of it.
Choosing the right second job is really important. Not only should you consider the physical toll it takes on your body but make sure the schedule is flexible enough to work around your first job as well as your social life.
Planning is key. Ideally, you should allow yourself one whole day off a week to recover. If you can’t do that, at least make sure you have a few two or three hours of downtime for yourself throughout the week.
Every weekend, sit down and look at your schedule for the next week. What social occasions can you just not miss? When will you have some time for yourself? What nights will you be home early enough to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep?
Working two jobs is not easy but getting enough sleep is absolutely key to keeping your momentum going. Treat it as a priority and make time for it. If not, you can quickly wear yourself out which can affect your work performance, mood, and health.