Working a Side Gig? Here’s How to Prep for Your Second Shift

UPDATED: July 21, 2022
PUBLISHED: July 23, 2022
Working a Side Gig? Here’s How to Prep for Your Second Shift

For some, a second job or a side hustle is a great way to earn extra cash. For others, it’s a labor of love. People who work two (or more) different jobs can find it exhausting to switch gears from one to the next.

Here are some tips from those who have mastered the dual-occupation game:

1. Set the stage.

Just like an actor “becomes” his character while donning a costume, you too can transform into the role you’re playing. Create physical spaces designated for each job to better separate your work personas.

“I bought a coaching-only laptop and have an office in my home for coaching,” says Heidi Lueb, who works full-time as head of finance at Thesis agency while also serving as city counselor for Tigard and moonlighting as a triathlon coach. “It’s about being in a different physical space.”

2. Mind your time.

“The worst case is when everything blends together and you become overwhelmed and torn between tasks,” says Thom Long, a design firm owner and associate professor at Hampshire College. “My goal is to create as much parity as possible between my roles.”

Long sticks to a dedicated schedule in which he only focuses on one role during certain days. Because Long can’t neglect his other work entirely, he allows himself an hour in the middle of each day to respond to emails and phone calls.

3. Learn to say no.

You’re spinning enough plates—what’s one more? Don’t overload yourself, warns full-time freelance writer and editor Kristen Seymour. “Learning to turn down work was huge for me,” she says. “I could probably work 80 or more hours every week if I wanted to… Realizing that I could actually say, ‘No, thank you,’ and still land work when I wanted it made it much easier for me to stick to a more-or-less regular workday.” 

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine and has been updated. Photo by Odua Images/Shutterstock

Susan Lacke is a writer, editor, and adventure junkie from Salt Lake City. In addition to contributing to SUCCESS, Lacke writes about endurance sports for Competitor Running and Triathlete magazines and is working on her first book with VeloPress Publishing. Despite near-constant exposure to the world's fastest athletes, her own run speed remains mediocre.