As someone in her 20s, I constantly feel like the pandemic has robbed a few good years of my life. I wanted to keep my mind occupied so I started looking for other home-based jobs early on to earn a little extra. I have been working multiple home-based jobs for over a year now—one full-time job, one part-time job, and another freelance job.
All of these jobs are web content-related, revolving around SEO, WordPress, copywriting, and more. Thankfully, I don’t confuse them with one other, but just imagine how much my brain functions for multiple clients in one day.
It’s not easy, obviously. It takes a lot of scheduling, patience, and a few breakdowns every now and then. There are moments when I want to quit everything and sleep for a week straight. But then again, it’s not simple.
And then I recently read a post on Forbes about this “remote trend”—at least I know I’m not alone.
So if you somehow landed on this post, I’m assuming that you’re planning to take in more responsibilities, or maybe in the midst of your burnout and you’re running out of ways to make it work. I came up with a list of tips to help you balance multiple home-based jobs (including my experiences):
Find Home-Based Jobs With a Lighter Workload
Part-time and freelance home-based jobs are ideal for those with relatively lighter full-time jobs. I know that if I was still working for the magazine, I wouldn’t be able to work three jobs at the same time. Editorial jobs took me long hours at work (even weekends) and it just wouldn’t work. But since my current full-time job is strictly nine hours (including lunch) with flexible hours, I still have a couple of hours a day for part-time.
My part-time job involves SEO and WordPress, almost the same as what I do for my full-time job, except that I have more freedom. I’m paid as long as I get the job done. It takes around two to four hours per day, but the longer parts are more repetitive than critical thinking. Sometimes I watch re-runs as background noise while working.
Finally, my freelance job involves copywriting, where I’m only required to submit up to four articles per month, which isn’t bad as I sometimes do these either on Saturdays or low peak weekdays.
The point is that you can only make multiple home-based jobs work if they can also work alongside each other. Here are some thoughts to answer before you jump in:
- How can I manage my time every day?
- How long do I want to do this?
- What’s my exit strategy?
I personally think it would be very complicated to take two full-time, home-based jobs at the same time unless both jobs give flexible time and/or one of them is output-based. If not, I don’t think it would be fair for the people you’re working for. I know this is a hard time for everyone but let’s also give opportunities to professionals who are still looking for full-time jobs.
Another important thing to consider is your company policies. Are you allowed to work for other companies while employed in one? If not stated legally, a good rule of thumb to follow is to avoid working for companies in the same niche.
Make a Checklist
If you’ve been reading my posts, you’d know by now that I take my to-do checklists seriously. Sometimes, I even do a checklist to make a checklist (I’m that weird).
But yes, make it a habit to create checklists for your daily tasks. It can be on a spreadsheet, productivity planner, board, sticky note, etc.
Managing multiple home-based jobs can make you forget about some tasks, sometimes even the really mundane ones like making grocery shopping lists, so make sure you have everything listed down as a reminder. It also feels good when you complete every single task on your checklist daily.
Stick to Schedule
I know a schedule sounds more like a routine life but that’s how I’ve been living for the past year and it works. There are days that don’t go as planned, that’s normal, but it creates a ripple effect on the rest of the day. Trust me, you wouldn’t want that chaos especially if you’re on a deadline.
Since there’s a ripple effect, going out of schedule might result in some unfinished tasks, and then it would all pile up on your desk. Nobody’s perfect but really try your best to learn how to stay organized and stick to a schedule.
Give Yourself Free Time Every Day
All work, no play is not something you’d want to live by for the rest of your life. Give yourself some free time every day, even if it’s as simple as reading a chapter of a book, listening to your record player, a long shower after work, and more.
This is one thing I forgot sometime last year when I was on my other part-time job, which I had to let go of after seven excruciating months. In my defense, it felt more like a full-time than a part-time job. I was a Content Manager slash Digital Marketing Specialist for an advertising agency based in Chicago. I managed my own team of copywriters and graphic designers, as well as oversee the social media analytics of our clients. Imagine doing all of those remotely—the time zone alone killed me. I barely slept. Instead of doing something for myself on weekends, I ended up sleeping the whole time. Those were the days when I would literally make myself a glass of highball (often one after another) while working on a Friday night. Long story short, I had my I’ve had enough moment.
But that’s what you call burnout. Pay attention to how you’re feeling every day. If you can unplug by the end of your shift, do so. I deactivated my social media accounts in February last year (a month before the world lockdown) so now that I’m managing my time better, the absence of social media also gave me more time for personal reflection and for art stuff.
Journaling also helps in de-stressing and self-reflection.
Eat Healthy Food
I had a part-time job years ago handling a vegan nutritionist slash TV producer’s social media accounts. She was honestly the first one who taught me a lot about analytics, do’s and don’ts in social media copies, and more. Anyway, so being a vegan, she made me read a lot of research and scientific journals. Slowly but surely, I became interested in the vegan lifestyle but it was too expensive for a 19-year-old living in a dorm so I tried a vegetarian diet, which consisted mostly of clean food. I was only eating fresh, steamed, or boiled food. I felt light and alive amidst my college thesis, accounting classes, and two part-time jobs (yes, I’ve worked multiple home-based jobs long before the pandemic). For the first time in my life, I honestly felt focused.
I’m not asking you to follow a vegetarian diet as I did, but minimize your fast food and sugar intake that you know only make you sluggish, which can make you unproductive. Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily diet and do a weekly detox.
We all already know the benefits of eating healthy so I’m not going to try to be scientific, but I think it’s our reluctance to start a balanced diet (eg. fast food tastes good, no time to prepare healthy food) that keeps us from doing it. It’s all up to you! For the sake of some points, here are some things to expect when you eat healthy food:
- Better brainpower and mood: this will help you manage your multiple home-based jobs with ease. Say goodbye to brain fog! Some plants to eat for better brain function include nuts, broccoli, and berries. I myself haven’t eaten chips for months and replaced them with raw almonds.
- Boosts immunity: very helpful now with the pandemic, especially green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. It just doesn’t feel good to be sick at home with multiple jobs in line.
- Maintains healthy weight: I don’t know about you but my weight has fluctuated a lot over the past year. It’s all because of stress, no movement, fast food, you name it. Going back on the track made me shred about six pounds in a week. I don’t miss the boba tea at all.
- Younger-looking skin: I know a lot of people (including me) who bought a variety of skincare products they were not able to commit to halfway through the pandemic—and then stress came in and dotted our faces with acne. Some vegetables that I like eating for my skin health include carrots, tomatoes, and avocado. There’s a reason they use these in skincare products!
Almost forgot! Lower your caffeine intake—although I still take up to three cups of coffee a day and a cup of tea before sleeping. I like making myself a warm cup of a soy latte with Silk unsweetened organic soymilk in the morning. I don’t add in any sweetener so it’s basically just 3/4 cup of soy milk and 1/2 cup of freshly-brewed coffee.
In addition to eating healthy, do some exercise a couple of times a week or at least move and walk around the house.
Try to Sleep Early
Just like eating healthy, getting enough sleep gives you a clear mind to properly function for the day, therefore making it easier to juggle your home-based jobs.
Here’s a tip: put your phone down about 30 minutes to one hour before sleeping to minimize distractions. Use this time instead to do aromatherapy, do yoga, or take a warm bath.
Before I deactivated my social media accounts, I used to spend a lot of time just scrolling through my feed at night. It was so unhealthy since I stay up to two in the morning when I have to wake up at six. Aside from being sleepy the whole day, I was moody and irritable with a can-this-day-end-already attitude.
I’m guilty of still not being able to commit to this tip so if you can’t do it (especially if you have a complicated work schedule), at least try to have seven to eight hours of sleep per day.
Additionally, try to pamper yourself before sleeping, such as committing to a skincare routine. I personally use my The Ordinary products at night since I can’t use them if I’m going to be exposed to the sun, especially The Ordinary Niacinamide Serum and their Glycolic Toning Solution (P.S.: these products really helped me with my acne + they’re vegan!).
You can also drink a cup of tea before sleeping. This will help calm you down before you doze off for the night.
Know When to Stop
If you think you already have enough saved up, then it might be time to stop. There is a limit to managing a couple of home-based jobs at the same time. Sometimes, we tell ourselves that we’ll only be in one job for a couple of weeks or months, and then we stay there for a lot more than intended. The thing is, you might miss out on the more important things in life if you lock yourself in the corners of your home office.
Moreover, everything you’ve read about balancing multiple home-based jobs is pointless if the companies or the people you’re working for are not taking care of you. Know. Your. Worth. If you feel the hard work hasn’t been paying off for too long and the stress is not worth it anymore, then stop.
Guided journals, in particular, helped me re-evaluate how I was living my life.
As I’ve said from my first tip, you should have an exit strategy. DO NOT leave the companies hanging even if you’re only a freelancer. These companies needed you for them to function and you saved a couple of bucks in return. Be respectful.
I hope these tips can help you with balancing multiple home-based jobs. These are the strategies that (so far) worked for me every time I needed an extra over the past six years.
Feel free to comment with any questions you have, I’d love to hear from you!