As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been working multiple jobs for a couple months now. Opportunities arose, and I’m in this phase of my life where I’m trying to say “yes” to the open doors. So when I was offered a part-time job at a coffee shop, with flexible hours, my husband and I agreed that it was a gift, this unexpected door, and we decided that I would continue working there until it wasn’t a gift anymore. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to build relationships and to get a change of pace from the banking world.
There’s just something about a cup of coffee.
And when I was unexpectedly offered the chance to gain some bookkeeping experience at our church, my husband and I prayed and thought and agreed, that this too, was an open door – a great opportunity to build some experience and broaden my expertise.
And, boy, has that been stretching. I’m not an accountant. And it’s like learning a different language altogether.
So, as October began, I lined up my multi-vitamins on the counter, filled up my water-bottle, got out my calendar, and determined that I would need to take the best possible care of myself and be really, really organized to make this whole two-or-three job thing work.
And the funny thing? My organization didn’t last that long. The craziness ensued, and I spent the last couple of months with that feeling you get when you’ve lost a little weight and your pants are too big – constantly pulling up, constantly catching up.
But I’ve survived. Maybe more than survived: I’m enjoying relationships and continued success in both jobs. I’ve finally found a little time to write again. My house has been slightly cleaner the last couple weeks.
And although I wouldn’t encourage super-busyness on a normal basis, and although I highly value rest and quiet and space, I do understand that life brings different seasons, and some of those are really, really busy ones.
So here’s a few things I’ve learned working two jobs:
1. You really do have to take care of yourself. Let me tell you, I can feel it. Those days where I miss breakfast, or have too much sugar, or too much caffeine, or too little sleep? I feel it. I can power through a double-shift day on a good breakfast of eggs and toast. I can feel alert and bright when I’ve had enough water to drink. But when I don’t take care of my body, my brain melts into a fog and I just have to slog through my day. Eating well, drinking plenty of water, stretching muscles after a long day of standing, moving gently, sleeping plenty – these are so essential to being well during a super busy season.
2. The more intentional you are, the less time you waste. It’s simple math: when you spend a lot of time working, or have a lot of commitments and responsibilities, you have less free time to spread around. I’ve learned this the hard way – no matter how much I work, or how much I don’t, I only get seven days each week, and each of those seven days always only has twenty-four hours. So I’ve had to be really clear on my priorities, and what I really, really want to get done. One of my goals for the new year is to get better at this (more on this later). My days can disappear into a wafting, pointless fuzz of social media, Netflix, and plopping on the couch if I’m not careful. Or, if I’m careful, and thoughtful, and intentional, I can write and read and pray and take a bath and tidy my house and build my marriage. But that just doesn’t fall into place without a little thought, and it definitely doesn’t happen by chance.
3. Listen to your body. This follows both #1 and #2. I’ve learned to be really gentle with myself. I’ve learned that when I break down into senseless tears before 8 a.m., it’s time to take a personal day. I’ve learned that when I’m dog-tired and my feet feel like they’ll never recover from hours on concrete floors, I need to watch a movie or take a bath and not force the errands or the cleaning. I’ve learned to stretch tight muscles, drink when I’m thirsty, sleep a little longer one morning, spend a little more time with my husband. I’m also learning to identify the big stressors in my life and creatively figure out ways to make them less stressful (whether it be working on a relationship, getting a big task done, asking for help, etc.).
These three things seem so simple, yet they are so crucial to living well in the midst of a busy season.
So important, so practical these three. But do me a favor? Come back Wednesday? Because there are two other things I’ve learned that I really, really want you to hear.