Stop Striving for Work-Life Balance and Embrace the Mess

I'm not someone who believes in the traditional work-life balance, as I like to think of it as more of a pendulum that swings back and forth with the seasons of our lives. So how do I find room to still have a life while working multiple jobs?
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It's not uncommon for millennials to work multiple jobs these days. In fact, it's pretty popular to have a full-time job while moonlighting on the side. I've personally had more than one job for the past seven years, all while getting married, moving across the country and having a social life.

I'm not someone who believes in the traditional work-life balance, as I like to think of it as more of a pendulum that swings back and forth with the seasons of our lives. But throughout the past seven years, I've maintained multiple jobs besides my day job as an accountant.

So how do I find room to still have a life while working multiple jobs?

Make Self-Care the Top Priority

While working at my job during the day and a tax office at nights and on weekends, my to-do list seemed never ending. There was never enough time and I lost the perspective of taking care of me as the number one priority. I quickly learned the hard way that in order to take care of those around me, as well as tackle my never-ending to-do list, I had to be functioning at my best.

To find a better balance, I started creating regular "appointments" in my calendar for coffee breaks, lunchtime walks and nightly baths. It may not seem like adding self-care into your routine adds to your bottom line, but when you can perform at your best, and shave off 30 minutes or an hour of working time, it will be well worth it.

Don't Place Too Much Value in a Degree

I have to admit that the vain part of me would love to have a fancy degree just for the sake of saying I have it. But at nineteen years old I learned that for my career path, a degree was a luxury, a distraction even, not a necessity. I was able to start out as a junior accountant and work my way up in the accounting firm.

Thanks to night classes and weekend tax jobs I was able to become a tax specialist and certified bookkeeper who specialized in helping small business owners. I only attended trade school for specific classes instead of wasting time and money at a university.

For a doctor, lawyer or dentist, participating in the training that comes with a degree is vital. But for the rest of us, a degree is simply an expensive piece of paper. Don't let the fact that you don't have a degree hold you back from accomplishing your career goals.

Embrace the Mess But Live in the Moment

Experts usually advise us to separate our work and life, to think about work while at your job and your family while you're at home. But that's not realistic -- at least not for me. I love my work so much that it's integrated into everything I do.

I learned to buck the traditional work-life balance advice and simply embrace the mess. Sometimes I think about work while I'm in the shower, or chat about it over dinner with my husband. On the flip side, I sit and doodle while I'm supposed to be working, or scribble down a grocery list for the week.

We're all humans who have to strike a balance that works for us. So instead of trying to keep everything in neat little boxes, I embrace the mess and live in the moment.

Set Limits and Weekly Goals

In the beginning, my to-do lists were haphazard and lazy. I didn't have a plan or process for completing things, I just did them as they came up. But this was really frustrating because I always felt like I was behind and constantly playing catch up. I never had a sense of accomplishment. I would go to bed anxious and worried because there was still so much left to do.

This forced me to set limits and adhere to specific cut-off times so I could accomplish my goals. When there are so many moving parts and different jobs, we can't afford to wing it. Set boundaries and weekly goals for yourself. This will allow you to allot specific times for social activities, family outings and personal time off without feeling guilty.

I won't lie. There will be times when adhering to your personal limits is tough, but I keep reminding myself that I chose this life because I want to make the most of it. I have financial goals I want to reach and ideas of exploring the world. These things take money so I'm happy to work multiple jobs in order to accomplish them.

After four years of being an employee and three years being self-employed, I've learned what it takes to have a life while working multiple jobs. It's not easy, but I've proven it can be done!

This content originally appeared on the Centsai blog.

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