I've been a college graduate for less than a year now but some days it feels like I've been doing this for eons. Every now and then, I wish I had taken the rest of the month off after I graduated like some of my friends. However, I don't live with my parents anymore and I had bills to pay. So, I started working two days after I graduated.
A real 40 hour a week job is quite different from being a full time college student. I admit there were days when I blew off class because I was just exhausted. It was my choice whether or not to turn my assignments in. I could roll into class late if I wanted. Now? Not a chance.
Working 9 to 5 can be stressful but it's an integral part of being an adult and it's not terrible. In the beginning, I admit that I̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶h̶o̶t̶ ̶m̶e̶s̶s̶ I found it kind of hard to get into the swing of things but I'm starting to feel my way out.
There's a lot of advice I wish someone had given me when I first started out. I've picked up a bunch of habits that are extraordinarily helpful and that are helping me finally get my life together. Lucky for you, I'm here to share that advice! Whether it's your first job or your twentieth, I've put together my top tips to help working girls everywhere get through the day.
Everybody likes music while they work! I definitely recommend soundtracks with no lyrics because I can't think with someone else in my ear. Since I'm a huge nerd, my favorite work music is a track called Zora's Domain from the Ocarina of Time soundtrack. I turn on the 10 hour version, pop my headphones in and just work. This track is super calm and relaxing and it helps me stay focused-it's like spa music!
2) Pick Out An Outfit and Set Alarms
+This should be common sense but I'll admit-I used to slip up on this. I may or may not have had an episode or two where I overslept and was late to work as a result. I mean, it happens, you know? But it's horribly unprofessional and it makes you look bad.
So, two things that will give you a huge head-start while getting ready for work are picking out an outfit before bed and setting your alarms to repeat. This way i̶f̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶'̶r̶e̶ ̶1̶0̶0̶%̶ ̶t̶r̶a̶s̶h̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶m̶e̶, you'll always wake up on time whether or not you remembered to set your alarm. And with an outfit already picked out, you'll be out the door in no time!
3) Pack Lunch
I firmly believe in lunch hours. Sometimes it's necessary to get out of the office and away from negativity and stress, even if only for an hour. It's good to have a minute to relax and gather your thoughts so you can power through the rest of the day. However, buying lunch every day can be expensive.
Think. I usually spend about $8 on lunch. Times 5 days a week, times four weeks a month, times 12 weeks a year. That's around $2000 I could save just by bringing lunch from home. I tested this out for two weeks and I was able to save an extra $100 just by bringing dinner leftovers to work the next day. Thrifty and convenient!
4) To Do List
I can sometimes be a forgetful person. Okay, ALL the time. When I realized that this was affecting my work, I had to do something about it. It turns out, something as simple as having a visible, tangible to-do list boosted my productivity.
I took a half sheet of paper, wrote "To-Do" at the top and taped it to my desk. Then I taped it to my desk, making sure it was covered top to bottom with tape. Now I can use dry-erase markers to write tasks and just wipe them away with a kleenex (or my finger if I'm lazy). Seeing my goals for the day right in front of my face helps me prioritize and get things done!
5) Stock Your Desk
There's nothing worse than waking up 20 minutes late and flying out the door only to get there and realize you've forgotten to put on deodarant. (Come on, we've all done it!) Then you're all hot and gross because you were in a rush and...well, it's a recipe for a sweaty disaster.
Luckily for me, I'm used to being a shambles. I learned early on to keep a few travel sized essentials in my desk: deodorant, floss, toothbrush, chapstick and lotion to start with. Dollar tree has a bunch of travel sized essentials that fit nicely into a desk drawer. Leaving my headphones at home once taught me to also leave an extra pair of headphones in my desk. (I can't tell you how sad that day was.)
6) Snacks & Drinks
Can I stress this enough? My boss is kind enough to keep the supply closet and the fridge stocked with chips. granola bars, drinks and more. I try to bring my own healthy snacks from home as well, like fruits and pretzels. This is super important; having something to munch on when hunger pains strike really helps me to concentrate on my work instead of thinking about how hungry I am. (Especially when you skip breakfast on a regular like I do.)
7) Day Planner
"Action without planning is the cause of all failure." (That certainly explains a lot.) I'm embarrassed to say that I've made appointments that I was supposed to keep over my lunch break and completely forgotten to go. When you get into the groove of working and your bosses throw extra assignments at you without warning, it can be easy to lose track. I'm learning now that it's good practice to think about my week beforehand and write down everything important that I need to get done in my planner. Otherwise, outside of work I never get ANYthing done.
These tips all seem so basic but trust me they are LIFE-CHANGING and will have your work game on point! Once you make habits out of all of these, getting through those 8 hours will be that much smoother.
Be-tee-dubbs, I made an infographic of everything in this post for easy pinning. (In my Maui voice) You're wellllcoooome!
What habits have saved your life at work? Let me know in the comments!
Confused Millenial mommy, constantly learning and reinventing myself. College grad, budding authoress and awkward geek extraordinaire. I like the Bee Gees.