How many of you work 9-5? I’ve recently been thrown into the world of Monday to Friday routine, and I must say, I don’t miss working ridiculous hours at all.
Working for myself was good and all, and I had the freedom to work with people that I wanted to work with and could tell I’d get along with, but I do not miss getting up and out of my bed at 5am and finishing at 8/9 in the evening.
I enjoy having evenings where I can actually go and socialise if I want to, and weekends are now a free for all. If I want to go out drinking, I can… if I want to lay in bed for 48 hours, no one is going to stop me…and if I want to go away somewhere just because I feel like it, there’s no shift-swapping or client rescheduling involved.
I have, however, discovered that I don’t really like sitting at my desk for 7 out of the 8 hours of a working day. I’m lucky enough in my role that on Mondays and Tuesdays I can run around the office, doing bits and bobs for other people, but for the other three days, it’s a totally different story.
As someone who is usually quite active and not able to sit in the same place for longer than a few hours, I found I had to start finding ways to entertain myself during the working day, otherwise I’d end up leaving the office for a walk… and then I’d probably end up with no job at all, and we all know how badly I dealt with unemployment.
So here are my top tips on how to get through a 9-5 working day. Some of them might work for you, some might not… and others I just find amusing, so take what you will from them!
- Find people you have something in common with.
In the office, there are approximately 3 people out of about 15 who are under the age of 40. So naturally, I gravitated towards Fiona, the receptionist who is similar to me in age. We’ve been on a few nights out together, and have quite a few things in common, so when my office in the basement (I know) gets a bit overwhelming or my bum gets too sore from sitting down, a trip to reception for a natter always comes in handy. Also once she got given some cake from a hotel round the corner from the office and she saved a piece and brought it to me, so it helps to have friends in (literally) high places.
Also in the basement is Karen, a lovely lady who enjoys books almost as much as I do. When she has finished a good crime thriller, she likes to pass it to me, and in turn I read it and pass it onto Janice, who sits next to me in our little room. This makes for interesting conversations about the books we have collectively read… like a mini book club of sorts that we don’t need to travel anywhere for.
2. Get snacks
The day is long. Give yourself something to ‘break’ it up by bringing in little treats for yourself to have here and there. I like to bring in little boxes of fruit, as well as little chocolate things, and when I have them I make sure that I stop what I’m doing, work wise, so I can give my brain a little break from the tasks I’ve got throughout the day. A little goes a long way here, I rather look forward to my little snack breaks in the day.
3. Step outside at least once a day for a minimum of 15 minutes
Get outside. Don’t spend the entire day cooped up at your desk, it isn’t healthy. Even if it’s raining, go outside for a wee wander when you can. For the sake of your mental health as well as your physical health. Humans (or any other animal really) were not designed to be kept in confined spaces, so why should you subject yourself to that 5 times a week, for 8 hours at a time? Go outside, get some fresh air, re-awaken yourself.
4. Answer emails as soon as you can
Don’t let that shit build up. The more you end up accumulating in your inbox, the more your own dread at having to deal with them will rise and you’ll end up getting over panicked and stressed about something that you could have handled with ease days before. I have been guilty of just ignoring some emails, but trust me, it’s not worth it. I had a quiet few weeks to begin with at my job, and I thought I was doing myself a favour by keeping some tasks and emails on the backburner… you know, to give myself something to do on other quiet days, but suddenly the office was met with an onslaught of things to do (we are currently in the process of moving our office location) and I ended up having to come in early to be able to get all the previous tasks done on top of the new stuff we were getting. An email free mind is a peaceful mind. Remember that.
5. Plan fun things to do with your free time
I’m a sucker for a good plan put in place, and using some of the free time I have at work to get some ideas together for what to do on the weekends is something I really enjoy doing. Because I have these hours that I know I’m going to be free no matter what and I don’t need to be worried about anything work related, I like to fill them with things that I enjoy doing, and things that will bring me happiness. On the third Wednesday of every month I know I have a book club to go to, where there is wine and nibbles for me to go to town on whilst discussing book with like-minded people. Usually on a Tuesday we like to go to a pub quiz, where I get to get competitive in a safe environment (with friends) and no one will really mind if I kick off about losing (again, because they’re my friends). During the weekend, Mr OneBigStressball and I have been trying to get out at least one of the days to do something outdoorsy such as hiking, or even trying things out in the city that we usually overlook, like the museums and quirky bars dotted around the city.
Having plans allows you to look forward to things, and though there is a fine line between planning ahead and wishing your life away, knowing that you’re doing something fun after work is sometimes the only thing that will help you get through the day.
So, that’s my own wee take on how best to get through a 9-5 working day/week. Do you guys have other tips? Any other suggestions on how to manage?