5 Tips on Transitioning to a 40-Hour Work Week
As a college student, I remember thinking about what it would be like to work 40 hours a week. Sure, my schedule was busy, but I felt more in control of what I was spending my time on. Transitioning into my first and second post-grad jobs brought a lot of learning lessons and mindset changes. I used to think that by working for someone else, I wasn't in control of my life. I felt as though I was following someone else's dream.
It wasn't until I left my second job that my mindset completely changed. I realized that despite working for someone else, I am still following my dreams and learning valuable things that will help me in the future. Here are the tips that helped me transition into a 40-hour work week.
1. Be thoughtful in the interview process.
My first tip in transitioning to a 40-hour work week is making sure that you like the company. In order to do this, you'll need to approach the interview process a bit different and ask thoughtful questions to determine what the overall culture is. If you end up in an environment that is negative, you have the power to control your emotions and reactions to situations. I wrote a blog post on how to stay positive in a negative environment, so I suggest giving that a read.
2. Plan out your week.
As I mentioned above, when you start working 40 hours a week, you might feel as though you are not in control of your life or time. What you'll realize is that you need to get a bit crafty with the time you do have outside of work. Make a plan to squeeze in dinners with friends mid-week, hit a yoga class on Tuesday night, work on your side hustle, read, craft, etc. Doing so will help you reclaim your life and focus on the things that matter most to you. I'm of the mindset that your job does not define who you are, your hobbies, interests, and values do. So, that's why I make it a priority to do the things that I care about on a daily basis. That helps me create balance, which leads me to my next point.
3. Balance is important.
Another thing that I've learned is balance is essential to overall happiness. If you feel like you are always pulled in one direction and are neglecting other aspects of your life, you'll end each day feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. There will still be work for you to do, that's why you have a job. It is important to understand and implement a time when you shut your laptop down for the evening. Spend guilt-free time away from work to rejuvenate and recharge. I know that if I don't do that, my work is not as good and I'm not as productive.
4. Get enough sleep.
The college schedule allows you to wake up and go to sleep at different times each day depending on your classes. Typically, working 40 hours a week is on an 8-4 or 9-5 schedule, so you'll need to get plenty of sleep. I used to think my parents went to bed super early, but now that I've transitioned my sleep schedule it is tough for me to stay up past 11. Sleep allows you to do your job well and have enough energy to do the things you want to do once you clock out for the day.
5. If you have a bad day, plan something fun after work.
Just like anything, there will be good and bad days at work. The key is not to let the bad moments at work ruin the rest of your day or week. So, I suggest planning something fun on days that are not the best. That could mean getting ice cream after work, doing an exercise class, going to see that movie you've been waiting to see, catching up with a friend, or painting your nails.
Hope these tips help you! As always, let me know your feedback in the comments below or on Instagram.