Trucking is a demanding profession which influences one’s life greatly. Though there are perks of solidarity, adventure and travel, too much of anything often becomes frustrating. Everybody loves to have a good time with family and friends. It’s normal for truck drivers to miss their home, especially when they are on the road for long periods of time. Well, the question here is…
There is a lot of money in the trucking profession. OTR hauls are difficult, but highly paying too. Though the influence that a trucker’s job has on his life is BIG, there sure are ways to fix it.
Man’s gotta do his work.
Work is important in life. Every person has to do his/ her share of work. Not working at all has the same effect as working too much. Too much work leads to depression and frustration. Successful people always have balance. It’s important to focus on both work as well as life. Ignoring any one of them can create difficult situations in life.
Here are some hacks for truckers for better work-life balance…
Emotional wellness is essential for a human being. Love and care cannot be compromised at the cost of work. Physical distance often creates emotional distance between truck drivers and their family. A trucker must always keep his people close, even when he is away.
Clear communication is important. A trucker should convey his needs without shame. He should always be there for his family. Most problems are solved easily when family members get together. He should constantly stay connected with his family. This not only kills his loneliness, but also makes his family feel safer and satisfied.
Relationships only get difficult when there are boundaries drawn in between. Happy couples stay true and frank with each other. They always take care of their spouse’s needs and convey true feelings. Family time is rejuvenation time. Truckers must make the best out of their time back at home. They should put work totally aside when back at home. Spending quality time with loved ones makes one’s life thrilling as well as exciting.
Eating habits may look insignificant, but they have drastic effects. On the road food isn’t as nutritional as at home. Since work demands unusual hours of strenuous work, nutrition is important. Unhealthy foods are everywhere and disease is easy to have.
Eating right requires will power. Say NO to fried foods and sugary sodas. Carbohydrates and sugars might look tempting, but they are bad for the human body. Avoid having food at truck stops. Meats, fruits and vegetables are good for health. If and when possible, cook your own food.
Stock up healthy snacks like beef jerky, nuts and dried fruits to munch on your way. Sipping up water along the drive is a good habit as it always keep you hydrated.
Every person is born with a pre-planned sleep cycle. Even though most people are diurnal and few are nocturnal, truck drivers are the true cathemeral species (irregularly active at any time of night or day, according to prevailing circumstances). Adjusting to changing work timings can take a tool on one’s health. Having a set routine and sleep pattern is essential for truckers (exceptions are possible). Very rarely (only when unavoidable) should a truck driver drive without sleeping well, as any lethargy or drowsiness while driving can be lethal.
Technology has come a long way in communication and accessibility. A great trucker stays connected with employer, customer, family and friends. Most smartphones have FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype. These applications enable instant video communication for little to no cost.
Try to make an effort to keep others informed. Letting your spouse know where you’ll be at a given time helps decrease the potential disconnect. Recording videos and audios of family members and sharing it with them will give a great peace of mind when you’re on the road.
Great truckers are averse delays. They believe in communicating any important or crucial information at the right time. They hate to wait, and keep others waiting. Advanced communication technology enables truckers to send information in all formats, text message, voice message, video message, email, etc. and even lets them share important paperwork via Email or WhatsApp.
Sitting on the driving seat for long hours in the same position is bound to have adverse effects on your spine. Bad posture and insufficient lumbar support break one’s back. Stretching a bit every now and then is essential in a sedentary lifestyle.
Plan your workouts around your work schedule. Bodyweight exercises are easy and can be done anywhere. It’s important to burn calories and build muscles to stay healthy and fit.
To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
Trucking demands unexpected physical work. Exercising and stretching at any pit stop should help in burning those calories that accumulated while you were physically inactive. Physical fitness can radically change your life behind the wheels.
There is an added benefit of working out. It helps you in staying happy. Endorphins are released in the body post-workout. These are chemicals of happiness. Boredom, depression and loneliness, rising out of life on the road, can be totally avoided just by incorporating a workout routine in your life.
Keep your mind simulated on the road. Entertain and educate yourself while driving. Listening to a comedy show or a news report is a good idea. It’s important to always have fun in life. If you find your job boring, make it exciting by mixing it up with exciting stuff. Satellite radio has always been truckers’ favorite choice for passing time. Good music is everyone’s friend, a great company so to say.
Bluetooth enables truckers to make calls from their truck’s dashboard while driving. Boredom and drowsiness must be replaced with laughter and stories. Being able to call anyone from anywhere, a trucker can always stay connected with his pals.
Having clear priorities is important in life. You always have to make a choice. Choose what’s best for you. Money coming into pocket is always great. But when you start making money by staying away from home for weeks together, it starts making life stressful and frustrating. You need to stop when necessary.
Knowing what’s more important to you at every point in life is the key to right and perfect balance. If you have covered all your payments for the month and gathered sufficient savings, say no to a haul. Be there for your daughter if it’s her birthday. If your father is ill, attend to him. Say Yes to a haul if it helps you qualify for higher incentives. Making the right choices is important in profession as well as personal life.
Being an adventurous trucker will have its attraction but you can choose dedicated trucking routes that involve driving the same route for the same company, week after week. You are often paid straight pay, or a set amount each week since you drive a set route. That way spending time with family becomes regular and the balance between work and home finds its way.
Even with a constantly changing route and irregular intervals between loads, a trucker must strike out a set schedule pattern for sleeping, eating, exercising and working. Human body has a tendency to develop habits. If you stay hungry till 1 PM for 7 days in a row, you will stop feeling hungry till 1 PM everyday. Developing good habits and sticking to them is important. With a charted out plan and set schedule, a trucker can get more work done in lesser amount of time.
Save all the dates of all birthdays, anniversaries and all important dates on either the smartphone or on a calendar notebook. This way you know the days you need to be home. Or even if you cannot be there, you can always call or send a message to let that family member or significant other you are thinking of them.
Google calendar is also useful for scheduling important events, meetings and occasions. Having a calendar take care of all important notifications spares your mind space for focusing on the road better.
Plan your day before you begin working. Planning before executing makes tasks easier and lowers stress. Rest stops, pit stops, and food breaks should be planned ahead based on the location and duration of the trip so that you have certainty in your plans and work life does not take a toll on your health.
Trucking has its unique set of challenges. Things can get out of control sometimes. A delivery can be delayed due to bad weather conditions, or loading can be delayed at a dock. But these are some situations that every trucker confronts every now and then.
Just give it a shot, I am sure you can have a balanced work-life in the trucking profession just like in any other profession.