Those in the truck driving industry are well aware of the importance of balance. In the trailer, ensuring that the weight of the load sits evenly on the axles means your truck is safe and legal to drive. But load weight isn’t the only important balancing act drivers have to perform.
Long hours, days and sometimes weeks away from home can destabilize any driver’s life. Whether it’s missing out on major life events like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, or just missing those everyday moments, it takes a lot of sacrifices to be on the road. And when those sacrifices remain imbalanced, life is not satisfying. Because of this, fleets risk losing their employees and encountering retention issues.
Keeping life balanced between work, home, family, friends and personal hobbies is critical and sometimes extremely difficult. But it is possible. Excellent tools exist to help drivers maintain a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle; although it may take some rearranging or adjusting, you can balance your load and find more peace and fulfillment.
Here are some tricks to keeping your life in balance.
Set your personal schedule on the road.
Finding your balance while on the road means making room for your non-driving life while away from home. Schedule blocks of time during the day for personal activities outside your working hours. By setting aside some regular “me” time, you can exercise what power you do have over your schedule while providing yourself with some R&R, rejuvenating the tired mind and body fatigued from working and living in the same space for long periods of time. Use your personal time for hobbies, working out, TV shows, books, (video) calls home or any other activity you may regularly participate in.
Keep in touch with the home front.
Although you may not be able to see your family every night in person, you can find ways to take part in home life. Thankfully, many technological devices and programs have made carrier pigeons and the pony express permanently obsolete, so you don’t have to wait days or a week to have a conversation with someone you love. Even hundreds of miles apart, you can connect with your family and friends at any time in real time.
Even so, your time is precious and sometimes limited, so make every conversation count: send simple texts throughout the day to a spouse, loved one or friend; schedule social time and call someone; or video call home and see your family’s face (and give your family the chance to see yours as well). Although life at home can move pretty fast while you’re gone, you can keep up through real-time conversations via text, phone or video.
Plug into society.
There has never been more access or appetite for real-time interaction in society than now. Exhibit A: the age of live streaming. Individuals and companies alike take advantage of the immediate connection with others that live streaming offers, but this phenomenon largely proves that we as a society want, need and crave real-time updates on our favorite brands, shows, and people.
Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue again, keeping us—all of us, drivers included—connected with the world around us. For the driver, there are services that make live streaming, satellite tv and real-time updates possible wherever you stop. That means no more missed season premiers, no more game spoilers, and no more boring downtime.
Scaling the balancing act
You’ve got your load, and you’ve prioritized it so it appears balanced. Now it’s time to drive onto the scale and see how your load actually sits. When it comes to maintaining balance in life between work, home, and friends, there’s wisdom in figuratively driving over the scale. Self-checking your load periodically ensures you are either prepared to keep going safe and sound, or you are aware of what needs to change to make your life more balanced.
You’re not the only one aware of the importance of balance. Fleet managers and owners increasingly hear drivers demand better work-life balance, especially from millennials who prioritize work-life balance as they pursue careers in the trucking industry. Fleets’ solutions to this demand have included improving pay and benefits, but those are steadily becoming less appealing than amenities that directly contribute to better work-life balance. So fleets are acting accordingly: adjusting route designs to provide drivers more home time and providing drivers with in-cab satellite TV like EpicVue.
If you need to make a change, do it. Need some more structure in your workload? Make a schedule (or a new schedule if you have one that’s not working out well for you). Need some more family time? Set up video or phone calls that you and your family can look forward to while you’re away. Need more connection to the world? Ask your fleet manager about in-cab satellite tv. You deserve a healthy work-life balance.
Driving balanced is a win for everyone.