It may come as no surprise that a career as a truck driver can mean being away from home both day and night. So, how does one strike a balance between work and life if the cab of the truck acts as your workspace and home space five out of seven days a week?
Establish a Work Week Routine
For an NTB driver, the time spent working and time off duty is consistent. A driver has 14 hours— most during the night—to get 11 hours of driving completed. What happens during the 10 hours off is mostly eating and sleeping. That being said, it’s also important to have a little mental downtime, so the mind has time to transition to a place of rest.
For many drivers, this on-the-road downtime schedule will look something like this:
Once the parking spot has been established, the first thing to do will be to eat a meal. Even if it’s technically morning, for many drivers this meal will be dinner. Keeping a rotisserie chicken in the cab refrigerator can make this meal easy and that one chicken can be spread out over several days.
What does a driver do to create a quiet relaxed mind space when the driving is done for the day? Chatting with family was the top response we got from NTB drivers in a recent survey. Use the time to share events of the day, however mundane. Not only will this help transition thoughts from work to life, but it will also keep lines of communication flowing from home. Listening to how the day went for your kids, spouse, or friends can really help keep a person grounded.
Many drivers we surveyed enjoy reading books, spending time doing devotions, or reading the news before nodding off, while some like to play some games on their device. Whatever helps bring the mind to a place of rest is what is best for each individual.
A good 6-8 hours of sleep is really important before starting work for the day. Making sure your cab is comfortable and organized can be very helpful for a good sleep period. Keep a few items that remind you of home in your cab. A photo of loved ones, a comfortable pillow and blankets, and a framed favorite bible verse are all things that can help with making your cab feel more like home.
A good breakfast can really help start the day on a good note. Keeping a dozen eggs and some diced fresh vegetables is all you need to make some flavorful scrambled eggs in the microwave. Add some diced ham or bacon you’ve cooked at home and YUM! Wrap it up in a tortilla with some cheese for a change.
One really important part of hometime is leaving work at work, so transition your headspace at the end of your workweek to focus on your time at home. While hometime will go best if there is some routine involved, it’s also good to leave room for a little spontaneity and fun. Most NTB drivers reported that they like to get chores out of the way first. Doing laundry and packing up for the next work week first allows them to enjoy their hometime more.
Prioritizing family time or time to spend outdoors doing your favorite activities can revitalize the soul and mind for a positive outlook on the next week of work.
Finding a balance between work and life is an important factor in avoiding burnout. Share with us how you accomplish feeling refreshed before the start of your workday or week.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
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