Our founder, Arianna Radji Lee, shares her five tips to keep you sane when juggling more than one job.
You might have heard the term ‘burn-out’ used over recent years as a term to describe feelings of being physically and emotionally run down. You may have also seen, felt or even found yourself rolling your eyes at yet more millennial jargon.
But, as of 2020, the phrase ‘burn-out’ has officially been recognised as a global medical condition since it was added to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases. Their definition of the term is ‘a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.’
I started this year with three jobs under my belt:
1) As a freelance event consultant where I am currently working for my client 3 days a week;
2) I also teach spinning at boutique spin studio, PSYCLE, four times a week, and
3) Most recently launched Pachamama to support women’s transition to motherhood by offering pre and postnatal health and wellbeing events
Now this might sound strange coming from someone who works in events, but I don’t deal well with stress. Like, at all. Ever since my father died 5 years ago, my levels of anxiety have risen to the surface and are only ever an aggravated email away. Over the years I’ve had to find coping mechanisms to help keep my anxiety at bay; and now, more so than ever with three jobs on the go, I’ve really had to focus on the best ways to navigate my stress-levels without compromising on the work itself or my own well-being.
Full disclosure and as irony would have it, as I write this, I have a stress-induced stye on my left eye, so I’m certainly no expert in self-care! I’m also well aware that the jobs I’m referring to are all business-related and there are many other forms of jobs, such as parenthood. Whatever you’re juggling though, here are some of the things I have found useful when managing multiple things on the go. Some of my advice will resonate with you, some certainly won’t. Take what you can or what you need and start small. No one is going to have time to implement everything at once. I’d suggest picking one that you can add to your weekly schedule and try it. Once that becomes habit and routine, add another, then another. And whatever you do, don’t berate yourself for not having the perfect self-care regime. It doesn’t exist. The fact you’re even considering making yourself a priority is a massive step in the right direction.
Let me know how you get on and please do share any self-care rules and regimes you have that work for you.
1) Set your non-negotiable. Whether it’s at home or at the office, be crystal clear on your working and lifestyle norms so that both you and others can make sure you stick to them. For example, if you’re a working mum, your non-negotiable might be that you need to leave work early on a certain number of days to pick your kid up from nursery. If you’ve vocalised and established that rule with your employer, you won’t end up feeling guilty or concerned about leaving when you need to, and your colleagues can adapt and adjust to support you achieve that.
2) Start with the things you love. Everyone’s got a to-do list. Mine is ginormous and is all over the place – I write notes on my phone, I have an app to help manage tasks, I email myself things to do and I set calendar reminders. For someone who’s so organised, the way I structure that organisation isn’t great, and when I look at the number of things I’ve got to get through it can be ridiculously over-whelming. When faced with a long list, most people tackle the hard jobs first and save the enjoyable ones till last. Well, I reverse that. Behavioural change specialist and friend, Shahroo Izadi, taught me that it’s much easier to make a start on the harder tasks when I’m feeling good about myself. So now I start my day with the things I enjoy the most or that are the easiest because they make me feel capable and confident enough to take on the tasks that I find more challenging.
3) Dial-down the digital. A lot of my work means having a social presence. As a spinning instructor I use Instagram to help build and celebrate my community of riders; and as a small business owner I use it to increase brand awareness. I’m also in about 20+ active WhatsApp groups that are a constant source of notification, even when muted! There’s no doubt that technology is incredible, but if we’re not careful, it can be incredibly harmful. The feeling of always having to be ‘on’ and available is exhausting, so here are some of the parameters I’ve set to protect myself:
- The days I’m working for my client, I set my personal phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’. You can set a handful of people who, if they call you instead of text, can get through, but otherwise that phone doesn’t make a sound.
- I’ve switched WhatsApp, Instagram and Mail notifications off. I know I will be opening these apps at certain points throughout the day regardless of getting notifications. So why have the added nuisance of getting reminders?
- I allocate time for Instagram. If I didn’t, I’d be on it way more than I need to be. How many times have you found yourself unnecessarily scrolling through when bored or just to kill time?
- No walking and texting. So many times I’ve almost bumped into someone on the street or worse, wondered how I wasn’t run over because I didn’t check the road properly before crossing. Instead now, I listen to a podcast on my walk to the station or speak to my mum. It’s amazing.
4) Proximity is power. Last year I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a seminar by world-renowned life-coach Tony Robbins, which was a bizarre, wonderful and life-changing experience for me. One of the most significant lessons I took away from it is the idea that the people you surround yourself with and spend time with are ultimately who you become. He explains it here (yes, he does talk that quickly in real life!), and whilst he’s talking about it from a business perspective, I applied it to my personal life. I surround myself with family and friends who are loving, supportive, smart and successful in the hopes that I, myself, become all of those things. Having friends who not only support my business goals, but who don’t make me feel guilty when I need to put work first, is incredibly rare and refreshing. So find people that lift, bolster and encourage you when the going gets tough and be sure to recognise it when they need it in return.
5) Sleep is a healer. I think that if everyone had the ability to sleep as much as they needed, we’d be so much healthier. But of course, with work, kids and other commitments, hardly anyone has that luxury. I’m also not a good sleeper. I find it hard to switch my brain off at night so it sometimes takes me hours to fall asleep, and when I finally do, it’s always disrupted. I find tiredness adds to my levels of stress and anxiety, so in order to help manage it, I plan my working week (where possible) and weekends to ensure there are at least one or two nights that I know I’m able to get eight to nine hours of sleep. I read Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep which claims that you can’t ‘bank’ sleep, which is probably true. But just knowing that there is even one night in the entire week that means I can ‘catch-up on’ the sleep I’ve missed out on, has massive psychological impact and in turn makes me feel less anxious about working late or waking up early on the other days.