To live a happy life, you have to find balance between work and play. Too much work and you are overstressed and physically exhausted. Too much play and you end up sleeping on your buddy’s couch. As an OTR trucker the line between work and play is even more skewed. After all, you live, work, eat and sleep in your big rig. How on earth can you create a healthy work-life balance as an OTR trucker?
Get a Life Outside of the Job
The first area to address is your personal life. Yes, you are traveling for most weeks out of the year as an over the road trucker. At the same time you need to maintain emotional connections with loved ones back home. This can be your extended family or friend group, but it also includes your close family.
By penciling social time into your busy trucking schedule you are combating stress, loneliness and depression, which are three of the most common issues of OTR truckers. Here are ways to manage this:
- Use FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Skype to do live video messaging with your friends or family.
- Choose from videos, text messages or emails as ways to keep in touch throughout the week. For instance, you can send a text every evening to your children to tell them goodnight, or make a video a week to send to your spouse.
Thanks to technology there are plenty of ways to stay connected. You just have to make the commitment to stay connected no matter where your trucking jobs take you.
Manage Financial Affairs
The entire point of taking OTR trucking jobs is to be able to make money to support yourself and your family. Therefore, you need to make financial matters a priority. Figure out exactly how much money you need to earn in order to cover your business and personal financial obligations each month. You might have semi truck loans or loans to trucking school to pay back. Also tack on money you want to save or invest in a retirement fund.
Once you have taken enough trucking jobs to cover your finances for the month, you have earned the right to slow down. For example, you may be able to take a weekend off as a company driver. If you are an owner operator, you might be able to turn down a trucking job so you can spend more off-duty time at home.
Keep Your Work and Life in Balance
As the seasons change your work goals and family priorities will, too. You might need to find ways to work less during the holidays and summer months so you can spend more time with your family when they are free. Then when the kids are back in school, you can pick up steam with OTR trucking jobs. It’s all a matter of balancing work and life in a way that makes sense to you.