Adjunct faculty can be very busy individuals. They often teach on the side in addition to holding a full-time job ("American academic," 2010), or they teach multiple classes and sometimes for multiple schools (Caruth & Caruth, 2013).
Many adjuncts find themselves on a daily and weekly basis trying to juggle family (spouses, kids, parents, etc…), work, teaching, scholarship and/or degree work, side-jobs (whether or not related to academia), and hobbies, downtime, and/or volunteer work.
As adjuncts, we need to be sure we are dedicating enough time to our classes and students; therefore, it's important we manage our time effectively.
First, if we aren't sure how we're spending our time, we can keep a time-monitoring schedule, then analyze it for areas we can cut, condense (multi-task), or adjust. For example, if I find I'm spending too much time watching television, I can limit myself to a few hours of television per week. Or, I might pre-record shows, then watch them as I'm also folding laundry.
Sometimes we have to learn to say "no." I may really want to help my church out by volunteering for another need, but I have to know when I can't fit another thing into my schedule and therefore say, "I'm sorry, but I have to say no this time."
Some adjuncts don't spend enough time on their classes and students, so they have to adjust for that; however, others may spend too much time in their classes. It's good to take breaks and schedule grading/administrative duties, so consider checking your courses for questions only once or twice a day as opposed to multiple times a day.
Keep time for yourself. Breaks or spending time on personal passions is important to maintain a healthy life. And speaking of health, keeping exercise and healthy eating as a priority is important as well. I know adjuncts who go all day without eating because they are busy running from class to class. Even having a quick snack ready can make a huge difference in energy levels.
Finally, family is key. I'll never forget when one of my doctoral teachers told me that during his doctoral program, he set aside time each week for his family. One of his friends didn't do this, and his marriage ended in divorce during the doctoral process. Keeping our family as a priority is so important. I try to grade and check on students during the day while my kids are at school so I can have evenings saved for them. I know some adjuncts who work full-time, spend time with their kids during dinner, then wait until they are in bed until they grade. Finding something that works for you and helps keep your stress level down is important.
Balancing "life" as an adjunct is not easy. We often have extra duties and stress that others don't. Learning how to balance our schedule and keep stress to a minimum can help keep us happy and sane and therefore keep us excited and passionate about teaching.
American academic: A national survey of part-time/adjunct faculty. (2010). American Federation of Teachers, 2, 1-18.
Caruth, G. D. & Caruth, D. L. (2013). Adjunct faculty: Who are these unsung heroes of American academe? Current Issues in Education, 16(3), 1-10.