In an ideal world, we’d all work a 38-hour work week, pack up our desks every day at 5:29pm and have the doors locked by 5:30pm.
The ugly truth is, at some point in your life, you’re bound to go over the traditional 38-hour working week. The 9-5 is a fairy tale told to children so they’ll go to bed, attend school on time and inevitably join the workforce themselves.
In reality, you’re more likely to slog a 50+ hour working week, wave the 5:30pm knockoff goodbye as it goes past and curse yourself for ever believing in the fairytale.
Instead, working long hours week after week without losing your sanity is a skill you must learn to acquire.
Luckily for you, we’ve thrown together a few of our most helpful pointers in acquiring this skill, because it’s time to shatter the illusion of the 9-5 for good.
1. Have someone cook for you
We’re not suggesting you hire a personal chef. But if you have a housemate, sibling, partner or parent who will happily cook for the both of you, take that offer up every chance you can get. A home-cooked meal will beat UberEATS any day.
2. Wait until your day off to make plans
Don’t fall into the trap of making plans when you’re in a good mood. While hiking Mount Kilimanjaro may sound like fun a week in advance, the day will arrive and you’ll actually want to die instead.
3. Buy yourself a bible, aka a diary
No matter how good you think your memory is, there is no way you will remember every single key date, name or email address. Invest in a good diary and write. everything. down.
4. Find a way to unwind
Find a hobby. If not a hobby, a book. If not a book, a TV show. Whether you relax by watching Seinfeld reruns, diving into the latest episode of Game of Thrones, or simply undertaking papier-mache, have a place where your mind can go that isn’t work.
5. Work is work, home is home
Don’t confuse the two. You wouldn’t lug your TV into the office to catch up on last night’s episode of Hell’s Kitchen, so apply the same philosophy to your loungeroom. Try to leave work at the office and avoid opening up your emails on the couch.
6. Tune out your colleagues any way you see fit
Don’t get us wrong, we’re sure you love your work fam, like we do. But sometimes you need to block out the chatter in order to focus. Instead of screaming across the room at your colleagues like a crazy person, try playing tranquil sounds in your headphones, like thunderstorms. This might sound like an option reserved for weirdos, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it. I recently discovered this little gem, and it’s completely tuned me out of co-worker conversations.
7. Don’t eat lunch at your desk
Or wherever you work. Take a walk in the sunshine and get outside, even if it’s for 10 minutes. You’ll clear your head and dramatically decrease the chances of an office homicide.
8. Avoid thinking about Friday when it’s only Monday
At the risk of sounding like a cliché wall print, don’t wish your week away by constantly thinking about Friday. It will only go slower. Instead, think smaller and try to look forward to your weeknights. This helps if you have a home-cooked meal waiting for you, because food.
9. Write a list of your daily tasks, and tick them off as you go
Even something as menial as ‘call back Susan’ or ‘determine whether or not Bran really is the Night King’. Ticking off tasks as you go will make you feel like you’re achieving something.
10. Clear your desk
As the old saying goes, ‘a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind’. Einstein famously disagreed with this point, but what did he know? If your desk is covered in schedules, folders and the Bridge to Terabithia, you’re probably not going to get any work done.
Alternatively, if the above 10 points aren’t helping, maybe it’s time you found yourself a new job. We’ve got all the best ones listed right here.