One job can keep workers busy enough. For the nearly seven million Americans who are juggling two or more jobs, getting everything done can seem downright impossible. Still, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around 5 percent of American workers manage to hold down multiple jobs, most often when one is full-time and the second part-time.
Their motivation? Often, it's for the money. In today's uncertain job environment, finding more than one source of income can be the best way to guarantee a paycheck. "No job is secure. If you've created multiple streams of income, at least you aren't left with no income, even if it's just to supplement unemployment insurance," says Glinda Bridgforth, financial coach and author of Girl, Get Your Money Straight.
In order to make it work, multiple job holders figure out ways to find more time in their days. Here are eight of their strategies:
1. Organize your workspace. Bridgforth says that when she was writing her first book, she faced major writer's block. Then, a friend gave her a book on feng shui. After staying up until 2 a.m. reading it, she woke up early the next morning to start decluttering. Her office area, she realized, was filled with library books and magazines.
"Once I cleaned up the office, I finished the book. Having a clutter-free environment keeps your mind clear and helps you stop wasting time," she says. That allows her to juggle her writing, financial coaching, and speaking commitments.
2. Make a to-do list instead of watching television at night. Martin Cody juggles two full-time jobs: He's vice president of sales for a medical software company as well as founder of Cellar Angels, an online wine retailer than also supports charities. In the evenings, he avoids television, which he estimates saves him at least 30 minutes a day, or 180 hours a year. Instead, he makes time to write down five things he absolutely must do each day for each of his businesses.
Cody also keeps a notepad by his bed in case other ideas come to him throughout the night. "If anything pops into your head that's causing you anxiety, write it down, and then you can sleep," he says. That way, he starts each day with a game plan—and he wakes up half an hour early to get started on it.
3. Live by a day planner. While the proliferation of apps and mobile devices make it easy to get organized electronically, Ford R. Myers, career coach and author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring, swears by the more traditional paper methods. "When you write something with your hand in ink, it has a deeper commitment," he says, adding that he likes to be able to see his entire week at once without having to scroll on a screen.
Myers has used the same week-at-glance calendar for 25 years, which helps him keep up with his multiple commitments as an author, career coach, and consultant. "It runs my life. Once something is on my calendar, it gets done," he adds.
4. Wake up with the birds. Jennifer Teates works 30 to 35 hours a week as the manager of a law firm and she also spends an hour or two each day writing for Examiner.com and other websites, on personal-finance issues. She's also the mom of a one-year-old. She does it all because she loves it all, and her law-firm work often gives her ideas for article topics.
She gets everything done by waking up an hour or two before her son so she can get in some writing time first thing in the morning, when she's most productive. "If I have something I want to really concentrate on, I try to do that in the morning, when I'm at my best," Teates says. Then, in the evening, she unwinds and gets in bed in time to squeeze in six to seven hours of sleep, which she says is enough for her.
5. Take a sabbatical. Ebony Utley, author of Rap and Religion: Understanding The Gangsta's God and associate professor of communication studies at California State University—Long Beach, discovered an unexpected upside to the two-day a month furlough experienced by all California State University faculty that began 2009. Since she had extra time and needed to make up for the lost cash, she ratcheted up her speaking and writing careers, as well as her website, theutleyexperience.com.