How to Balance Multiple Jobs as a Post-Grad

Post-grad life can be somewhat unpredictable. You have a degree, possible internship experience and a resume you hope will outshine others in a similar position as you. You want to find a job that pays well but also brings you happiness. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Success in the form of money combined with fulfillment. But that’s often a reality we all have to work toward as opposed to starting off with.

This drive to succeed, to live in the city of your dreams or pay off your student loans ASAP often leads to post-grads working multiple jobs. Whether it’s a side hustle, two part-time gigs or a waitressing job on the weekends because your full-time position just isn’t cutting it, we’re here to cheer you on and share some tips to help you succeed in juggling them all!

Remind yourself of your motivation

First off, you have to find your reason for working multiple jobs. Some people have no choice, and if this means working hard now so you can live a more relaxed life later on, use that as your driving force. If you simply want extra cash for “fun money” then think of events and nights out with your friends while you’re commuting yet again to your second job. You will get tired and probably fed up, so it’s important to remind yourself why you’re hustling in the first place.

Ana Gotter, a graduate of Florida State University, says, “I honestly think that remembering why you're working multiple jobs can be really important. I know when I was working full-time as a key holder at Kay Jewelers, and trying to freelance write, and tutoring, it was about sustaining myself and trying to get on my feet while I also worked towards the career I wanted in a very competitive field. I didn't have a lot of free time, and I was working too much, but I reminded myself that it was for a short time and that it would be worth it.” Finding your reason to keep working hard is like giving yourself a pep-talk every week. Hype yourself up! It’ll make your end goal seem that much closer, too.

Can’t find a good enough reason? Maybe your second job is your side hustle. Your true passion that hasn’t flourished enough yet to pay the bills on its own. Your dreams deserve just as much commitment and attention as your financial obligations. Money is the deciding factor in a lot of our decisions, especially career ones. There’s no shame in working multiple jobs if it means you’re getting one step closer to your true calling. Find your motivation and own it!

Take advantage of your commuting time

Depending on where you work, commuting can be one of the more dreadful aspects of your day. Traffic, inconsistent subway trains or the overcrowded city sidewalks with everyone hustling to their destinations aren’t exactly things we look forward to. Make a conscious decision to take a step back and rethink the way you view your commute. In other words, recognize this is still your own time and you should fully take advantage of that.

Clair McLafferty, a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College class of 2012, says, “Guard your time outside your jobs. For a couple years, that was pretty much when I was driving from place to place. In those fleeting moments, I would turn off the radio, set down my phone, and use the silence to mentally prepare and refresh.” Finding your clarity before heading into a demanding day will make all the difference in your mood and readiness to tackle challenges head-on.

Dana Hamilton, a 2010 graduate of New York University, agrees. “If you drive a lot, listen to an audio book. I used to be on trains three hours a day and used the time to write. Commuting time doesn't have to be idle time; especially if the activity is something you were planning to do when you had 'free time'—like watching TV or reading that book you’ve been meaning to read. You don’t wait until you have a day off to do all those things.” This is also a great way to unwind after being at work all day so when you get home you can actually feel relaxed and detached from your obligations for a short while.

Utilize calendars

Remember how you kept yourself organized in college with a planner? Well, that shouldn’t stop now that you have your diploma. If anything, you’ll need it now more than ever as you juggle adult life. And if you’re currently laughing at the fact that you never stayed organized in college, then you’ll need this tip the most. Welcome to the real world!

If you’re working multiple jobs, chances are you already somewhat have your life together. It’s difficult enough to correlate schedules, maintain a social life and save time for the things you enjoy doing outside of work. So props to you for coming this far! But if you haven’t already, you should take initiative to make your busy life easier.

Kinga Irzyk, a recent graduate of Emmanuel College, is the queen of making the most of her time with calendars. “I implemented two calendars—Google calendar and a paper calendar—to track shifts between the restaurant I was still working at on the weekends and my weekdays in the office,” she says. “Juggling your time is not for the person who doesn't know what day of the week it is or for someone who procrastinates. But if you stay on top of it, you can do it, and even catch yourself paying off student loans and saving up, if you do it smart.” Color code your schedules, set reminders on your phones, whatever it takes to make sure you’re on top of all that you have to do.

Related: I Tracked Every Dollar I Spent For a Month & Here's What I Found Out About Myself

Don’t forget to eat

Taking care of your body by eating regularly is something many people will overlook and overuse the excuse that “they’re too busy” and don’t have time to eat. You must remember that your health is what’s allowing you to work multiple jobs effectively and it should not take a back seat just because you’re busy. If anything, food should be your number one priority so you can keep going full steam ahead.

Clair says, “Eat regularly. Take snacks, pack lunch/dinner, or budget to grab something out if you know you'll be gone during meal time. Food is fuel for your brain and body, and it's tough to make it through a long day if you skip meals.” Exactly! Eating healthy snacks and filling meals will give you energy, help you pay attention, and keep your tummy from rumbling during important meetings. Schedule time to eat, even if it’s on the go, because you deserve it. Being “busy” is not an excuse to treat your body poorly.

Schedule time for yourself

You. Yes, you. You are the one striving to achieve greatness so making yourself a priority is a must. You cannot achieve a balanced life without some form of relaxation. Perhaps your idea of downtime is binge-watching Netflix for a night. Or maybe you love to read a good book while taking a bubble bath. And if you want to get really Zen, a yoga class may be your ideal spot to take a breather. Whatever it is that calms you, don’t feel guilty in taking time to indulge in it weekly.

Emily Neiss recently received her master's from Emerson College and has worked two jobs ever since graduating from Creighton University in 2015. She says that time for yourself “can be time for a hobby or time with friends, but it can also be something as simple as staying home instead of going out if that's what makes you happy.” Point is, do whatever it takes to enjoy yourself.

Some will see this as a waste of time but dismiss those thoughts ASAP. You may feel like you have it all together and resting is for the weak, but that is an old myth. To reach your highest potential, you have to take care of yourself, and giving yourself “me time” is a huge part of that. What good comes from stretching yourself too thin and feeling completely drained at the end of each day? Absolutely nothing. So, however you choose to do it, make time to hang out with yourself every single week. Your goals will thank you.

Use apps to your advantage

There is an overwhelming amount of apps in our world. It can be hard to know which ones will benefit you. Kinga has found apps and online websites that help her budget with ease and make even more money on the side. She says, “My saving grace was signing up for Mint. It helped me budget out what I needed to make and set aside for bills, while also giving me a solid number for what I could reasonably spend elsewhere (restaurants, coffee shops, clothes shopping, and more).” Most of us were not taught how to budget in school, so making a point to track your income and spending will make sure your hard-earned money isn’t going to waste.

And if you already have more than enough jobs, then find apps that will make your day to day lifestyle even better. Download a meditation app to give yourself an escape when you need one. Catch up on your favorite online articles. And be sure to have something on your phone that will make you smile - a game or maybe your favorite vlogger’s channel, so you always have a pick-me-up!

Emily says, “I use a few different apps to relax and/or zone out when I only have a few minutes to myself. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I also play games that require a bit of concentration like Sudoku and Logic Games (Parks); this way my mind calms down a bit in my slow moments, rather than letting stress and anxiety take over.” We’re not saying you should be glued to your phone, but during those times when you don’t have any other escape, use apps to help you get back to a calmer state of mind.

Plan ahead

This is a common tip for busy people but surprisingly one that isn’t used to its fullest potential. If you are working multiple jobs, your time truly is precious. Some days, you may have to plan down to the very minute you have to leave one job in order to make it to the next before rush hour craziness commences. And what if you want to go to the gym after work or grab a sandwich from your favorite lunch spot during break? This is where planning ahead makes all the difference.

If you like to stay active, bring your workout gear with you on the days when you’ll have time to hit the gym after work. If you prefer to sleep-in in the morning, shower at night and make yourself breakfast ahead of time so you don’t have to feel rushed when your alarm goes off. Do you have errands to run that need to get done before the weekend? Pack a lunch and take full advantage of your lunch break by checking items off your personal ‘to-do’ list. And if you start to feel like you’re running out of steam before your day is over, this is where bringing snacks and drinking lots of water comes in handy. Fuel your body so you can perform your best while also taking care of yourself.

Planning ahead will reduce stress and save you time in the long run. Take the extra few minutes every night to look at your schedule the next day and ask yourself what you can do right now to make your life easier as the week goes on. Your future self will thank you!

Set boundaries for yourself

It can be so easy to get caught up in the idea that you’re supposed to be doing everything, all the time, all at once. You’re driven, of course, but it’s unrealistic to believe you can be “on” all the time and constantly on the go. Keep this in mind next time you’re asked to take on more than you can handle. Emily says, “It's not easy to turn down work things, especially if you're used to overloading yourself by necessity, but it's a really good feeling to choose your own mental or physical health over working even more hours on a particular day.” This goes hand-in-hand with self-care and we are all for it.

Alexa recently received her master’s from Emerson College and also understands what it means to hold yourself to an extremely high standard. She says, “Realize that you can't do it all. I forgave myself for not being able to do as much as I thought I should be doing, knowing that I was already doing as much as I could,” she continues. “That made it easier for me to focus on the work I could and was doing, and made me appreciate every hour that I did work.” If you have too much going on, you’ll be unable to give your full attention to the task at hand which will most likely decrease the quality of your work. You can do a lot, just not all at once, and that’s ok!

You are capable of so many wonderful things. It’s all about finding the right balance for you and the motivation to keep going. Some days you may waiver, but just come back to yourself and recognize everything you have already achieved. We’re applauding you, your goals are excited, and the future is yours for the taking. Cheers!

Follow Autumn K. Dube on Instagram.