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14 Ways to Cope With the 9 to 6 Grind


Let’s discuss career today. I have been working for about nine years now. From Sales Representative to Marketing Manager; From 6 days (45 hours a week) to work-from-home; From biggest franchisers to private start-ups; From Rs. 20,000 to £2500 a month; Been there, done that. I’m lucky to have worked in a number of industries: Airline, Banking, Retail, Finance, IT and Medicine which has given me a lot of exposure and knowledge. I have worked in different cities like Karachi, Wah, Coventry, Stratford, London, Windsor, Slough, Islamabad and Lahore.

Both my sisters are entrepreneurs who run their own professional photography businesses. Given a choice, I wouldn’t always prefer this corporate lifestyle as it is not always easy to manage work, home, sports, relationships and leisure at the same time. But I am glad I have gained significant experience which will help in my career and personal growth. It also keeps my life disciplined. I know if I didn’t have to wake up so early early every morning, I wouldn’t sleep early at night. I rarely get lethargic as I literally have no time for that. I am accountable for every minute of my life as it’s planned ahead and I can’t afford to fail as there’s a lot at stake. I do miss my me-me time and all the time I could give my hobbies when I worked from home (for only a few months), but I still plan to take out time as much as possible.

It feels great to know that I can manage my own expenses and savings wherever I am. Most importantly, it gives me the confidence of being who I am. My experience defines who I am and what I’ve done. I never wanted to be considered as someone who just hangs around doing nothing.

In a corporate life, it is very easy to lose the track of time and let those weeks, months and even years pass by. Life is too short, you need to take hold of your life. Be in charge. Don’t let this routine make you give up the best things in your life. Your hobbies, your family time and your play time. The way I look at it, now that you’re working hard, you deserve to enjoy life even more. Of course it is not easy but we must make a consistent effort to take out time for all the things that matter to us. Trust me, it is possible.

There are some things we must adopt in a 9-6 lifestyle. The most important thing is that we must make the most of the little time we have. It is not humanly possible to focus 8-9 hours a day. No matter how good an employee we are, high productivity only takes place during a few hours of our attention span as it doesn’t last long. Following are some ways you can survive the corporate lifestyle.

1. Healthy eating habits
It is true that ‘Jaan hai tu jahan hai’. The world only exists till you are healthy. It is compulsory for every adult to have their daily intake of 5-a-day fruits and vegetables. Here is NHS link on how you can manage it in a corporate lifestyle. Here are some options you can take to work along with your lunch:

  • Apple
  • Guava
  • Banana
  • Peeled Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Pear
  • Apricot
  • Peach
  • Fruit Chaat in a lunch box

2. Small prayer breaks
During the day, go and say all your farz namaz in office prayer area or your own office. When you splash water over your face while you perform wuzu, your eyes will feel refreshed too.


3. Organize your self
Manage your time well. Have all your important documents uploaded on your personal online account so you can access them from work every time you have a bank or legal commitment. Know all your legal details, your bank, car, insurance etc details on the go. Upload it all on the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. Make sure you have online banking activated on all your bank accounts. Be in charge of your life on the go.

Make lists and notes:

  • To-do
  • To-get + Groceries weekly and monthly lists
  • To meet (social commitments)
  • To call (family, apologies, condolences)
  • Shows/movies to watch
  • Owe (if you owe someone anything and if anyone owes you something)
  • Weekend tasks
  • Packing list for trips
  • What to cook
  • Books to read
  • Topics to write on
  • Gift ideas for upcoming family birthdays

4. Be there for your family
Your family should not feel that you are not there when they need you. Have quality family time every night and weekends. As there is little time with them, try to be nice and keep it pleasant.

 

5. Take out time for sports
The best way is to have your gym bag ready when you leave for office in the morning. Before office ends, change into gym gear and drive straight to your sports club. An hour or two running outdoors will do the trick for you and make you feel refreshed after that perfect shower.


6. Take out time for your hobbies and interests 
It is true that if you don’t make an effort, desk jobs will kill your creativity. During work hours, plan the rest of your day keeping time slots for the things you love doing and stick to the schedule. If you are an artist, doodle on your diary or plan your next painting when you’re taking a little break from work in office. After work hours, make time for things you love. I run straight to the Tennis courts as soon as I finish work. Tennis not only keeps me active but also motivates me as I have always loved the sport. Thrashing those balls also kills the daily frustration in life.

7. Make an effort to get at least 8 hour sleep every night
It is sometimes hard to get proper rest with such a robotic routine. But try to keep yourself relaxed as one really can’t afford insomnia and sleeping disorders in this lifestyle. Proper sleep is vital as it will make or break your day.

 

8. Socialize
I can’t stand the life in which humans become robots. Where they only eat, work, sleep and repeat. In order to feel human, it’s vital to go out, meet friends and socialize once in a while. During weekdays, avoid late night meet ups. Plan the week ahead and fit in meeting only those who will make you feel good.

 

9. Plan the perfect weekend getaways 
What is a point of a corporate life style if you don’t have time to spend it with the ones you love? Weekend getaways are exciting as you have something to look forward to. It’s best to plan them way in advance as planning them is half the fun.

10. Find best friends in your colleagues
No matter how many friends you have in your life, you are now stuck with your colleagues. The sooner you get along well, the better. Going out with them for drives with full music on a good rainy day is itself something you’d enjoy as long as you get along well.

11. Enjoy your lunch/tea breaks
Make that one hour every afternoon special by either going out, or eating in or meeting a friend. Lunch breaks are happy occasions.

12. Eye, hand and shoulder exercises while sitting in office 
It is actually harmful for our body organs and posture to be sitting in one position from 9 am to 6 pm. There are recommended exercises which you can do while you are at work. Here are some eye exercises to help improve vision and remove signs of strain from computer screens. Here are some exercises to help your tired hands. Pay attention to your posture and try to sit with a back rest most of the time.

13. Free time at work
There will always be times when you are meant to stay in office but you have finished all your assigned tasks and related organization. There’s free time for you. I like to keep an office drawer to keep myself busy if I get free time in office. Some times I organize my email accounts, phone, purse or write articles, sort out my online drive, doodle, make grocery lists, make drawings, call friends & family or even apply nail polish. These activities also help in keeping our mind fresh so we can concentrate on the work better once it comes.

14. Me-Me time
After months of a corporate lifestyle, one deserves a break from everyday life and may be a shoulder or hand massage. You may even want to indulge yourself in a fancy mani – padi to escape from your robotic routine once in a blue moon.

Most importantly be happy. Life is too short to fret over your mean boss or that you don’t have time to do anything. Its all in our head. A day has 24 long hours. According to the 10 minute rule, anything can be done in ten minutes. We only need to organize and plan our lives and everything is possible. Never ever give up your interests and hobbies for anyone or a job. Make time for things that matter and you will become a happier person. I would love to know how you cope with your work life? Are you in the corporate world or are you a businessman or freelancer? Would love to know. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Nadiya Najib

Nadiya Najib