Thinking of taking on a second job? You’re not the only moonlighter out there. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 7 million Americans held down multiple jobs in 2013. Earning income from more than one source can be a beautiful thing, but it can also lead to stress, burnout, and a lack of free time.
As Megan Elliott writes in a great CheatSheet story titled “5 Tips for Surviving a Second Job,” there are certain things everyone should consider before taking on extra work. Having a solid plan, she says, helps keep you “stress-free and sane,” and her article is a roadmap for devising that plan.
The first thing to think about, Elliott writes, is whether your full-time employer has a policy against employees taking on outside work. Some companies may prohibit you from working with competitors or clients, and even if there’s no formal policy, the appearance of a conflict of interest could be enough to get you canned. When in doubt, Elliott says, talk to you boss.
Up next, Elliott says you should consider doing something totally different. If your side gig is too much like your main one, you’re especially likely to suffer burnout. If you’re a bank teller by day, maybe find an evening/weekend thing that lets you flex your creative muscle.
It’s also important to “have a clear goal,” which is Elliott’s third tip. If you’re simply looking to make more money, be sure to leave time in your schedule to look for a more lucrative full-time gig. If you’re ultimately hoping to start your own business, go in with a timeline of how you’re going to make it work. Otherwise, Elliott writes, you might “find yourself stuck in an endless cycle of 70-hour work weeks.”
Even if you’re not burning the candle at both ends, it helps to find “time-saving hacks.” These can vary from time-management apps (Fantastical and Sunrise are among Elliott’s favorites) to real-life people who help with your laundry and groceries. It may cost you some money, but time is the most precious commodity you have.
Finally, Elliott warns readers to “know your limits.” Familiarize yourself with the signs of work-related anxiety and take note of techniques that help you relieve stress. Again, additional income is terrific, but not if it costs you peace of mind.