Whether you’re waiting tables, teaching night classes, or coaching, for many teachers a side hustle can be a necessary—but stressful—part of your school year. Although we all long for a 40-hour workweek, here are some tips on how to successfully balance a side hustle with teaching without burning out.
1. Learn to prioritize rather than balance.
A friend of mine once said, “Know when to say no to something so that you can say yes to something else.” Balance is nearly impossible to achieve while working two jobs, but try to prioritize your life each day by making a list or schedule. What are the most important tasks you need to get done? What will your students absolutely need from you? What could be pushed back to another day?
At the same time, don’t sign up for extra duties. The school dance can be chaperoned by someone else this year, and maybe you can share that student council advisory position. Don’t take on so much at school that you’re in over your head.
2. Consolidate tasks.
Need to go to Target to purchase materials for your students’ science lab? Maybe you also need supplies for job #2 or something for home. Answering parent phone calls? While you’re in the communication groove, make those phone calls for the other job too. Try to consolidate tasks together to eliminate your need to keep switching back and forth. Your brain will thank you!
3. Create a system.
Organizing yourself and your materials will help you feel more on top of your schedule. Take advantage of all those cute recyclable tote bags in the stores right now and create a bag for each part of your life: one for teaching essentials and one for your second job. You might even have a third bag with snacks and some toiletries just to get you through those “double-shift” days!
You can also organize your Google Calendar or iPhone calendar by color to keep appointments and shifts organized. This is a great way to avoid being double-booked!
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Communication is key to your success. While your spouse and family probably see how exhausted you are, they still want to know about your day. Remember to make time to talk with them each day—even if it’s just texting during a lunch break.
Most bosses and principals like to know about your other job. It might benefit you to tell them so that they’re aware of your scheduling needs.
5. Use your downtime well.
When you’re at work, give it 100 percent. But, when you finally get some much-needed downtime, try to use it well. Limit your Netflix binging to only an hour in favor of doing laundry or meal planning. Try to pack your bags and get outfits laid out at night to make your morning run smoothly. Even though it might seem nice to just crash on the couch, you’ll appreciate having clean clothes and some semblance of a normal life when you’re off and running the next day.
6. Lean on your colleagues.
You’ll have to decide whether to spread the word about your late-night hours or to keep it hush-hush, but it’s wise to let at least one colleague know that you’ve got other responsibilities. Undoubtedly, you’re not the only one at your school! Your colleagues will be able to help remind you of important deadlines, make extra copies for you if you’re running late, or even just commiserate!
7. Make time for you!
You’re working your tail off, but in order to keep going (and not be a scary sleep-deprived teacher), give yourself a break! Schedule at least half a day each week where you aren’t working. Even a few hours each week can help your mindset and refresh you for the next whirlwind shift. If that isn’t possible, find time for you during your lunch break or even with your favorite podcast during your commute!
And remember to keep your eye on the prize! Whether you’re working to make ends meet or to save up for that fancy vacation, this season may be crazy but it’ll be worth it in the end.