A lot of people think their life has ended with a full-time job. That is surely not the case. It’s all in the mind. This post is intended to help you achieve more from your life despite your 9-6 job. I was compelled to write this post because there are too many people who blame their jobs for not doing anything else in their lives. It makes me sad; I had to come up with some tips.
1. Learn to enjoy work
Work doesn’t have to be that boring and pathetic. Do everything that’s in your hands to enjoy the time you are actually being productive and getting things done. There are different types of tasks which we have to complete throughout our work hours. I believe there are three types of tasks at work:
- Tasks that require research work and one needs full attention to complete these
- Tasks which require attention but we can complete them while listening to music
- Tasks which we can complete while watching TV shows on our phone
Luckily the tasks from category 1 are mostly the fewest. So once you are done with those and you move on to category 2 type tasks, have your playlists ready on Saavn or SoundCloud and play them while you complete your work.
Since we are stuck at work most part of the day, it is a good idea to catch up on our missed episodes and series on the cell phone while we work. So you have your earphones on and you are working on the computer. If needed, you can look down for a second to get the feel of the scene and then back to your computer screen.
I learned this technique from my colleague and trust me it feels so much better. Surprisingly, I get more work done too. My productivity increases when my mind is refreshed watching/or listening to my favorite shows.
Now I actually enjoy my work hours much more than before and I keep myself up to date with the latest episodes of all my favorite TV shows and dramas. I keep my favorite videos on ‘Watch Later’ list on YouTube and play them while I work.
Why not get a yummy coffee and have it on your desk?
Or sip a lemonade/smoothie while you work.
Look up events of your interest which might be of interest to your company too. I attended some really interesting events on behalf of my company. You can do so too.
Office parties can be a lot of fun. In all good companies, HR department keeps arranging parties to celebrate birthdays and awards for employees.
2. Make a daily exercise routine
There is no doubt that your quality of life will improve drastically the moment you add exercise in your daily routine. I would recommend outdoor instead of indoor always.
Find out the closest sports complex/gym near your house or office. Work out a plan of how you can be regular. The best way is to pack up your gym bag a night earlier, change into gym gear at 5:45 pm in your office and head straight for sports at 6 pm sharp. In case you are made to work overtime, make sure you read my article called ‘Say No to Late Sittings at Work’. In case after the office doesn’t work for you, consider a lunch break routine. Maybe you could exercise for half an hour in lunch break daily before starting your meal. If nothing else works, consider jogging home from work (I have done that a few times).
3. Become an excellent planner
Plan it all out to perfection! Make lists. Every morning, the moment I reach the office, I make a list of all that needs to be done. Throughout the day I keep crossing out all the points which I have completed successfully. That’s how I can prioritize my work and make sure I don’t get distracted.
Following are the examples of lists I make in office to keep my life organized. Since we spend our daytime in the office, this is where we have to organize our lives. So its best to make your personal lists here too. You can write these in your phone or on a small diary in your bag.
- 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
- Gift ideas for upcoming family birthdays
Also be a master at budgeting. While you’re working, make sure you’re saving as much money as possible by planning it properly. Impulsive decisions and spending such as last minute gifts for friends/family can easily be reduced by planning gifts way in advance and looking for the best yet affordable gift options by ordering online well in advance. If you plan better, you will save time and money. Use Post-its at work and do all your planning at your desk.
4. Plan the fun stuff
Make sure you plan every weekend in advance. Those in the corporate world understand the value of a weekend better than anyone else. We only get two days in the whole week to do everything we’ve been dreaming of. Write down what you would be doing and when. Plan weekend getaways with your one and only. Message friends and family and mark your calendars for all the fun things you’ve been wanting to do. Don’t procrastinate. Do what you have been wanting to do. Plan parties with your friends/family. Following are some ideas:
- Pajama slumber party – with favorite snacks and TV shows
- DIY party – Everyone can bring their own stuff and make together
- Movie night – Prepare a mattress, cushions in the lounge and get a good horror/thriller
- Cooking/baking party – Everyone decides a dish to make and the rest can write recipes for themselves
- Karaoke night – YouTube has almost every song’s lyrics in videos. It can easily become a karaoke machine if you play it on your TV. Play your favorite songs and have a singing competition
- Game night with Dum Sherad/Pictionary/card games
5. Don’t neglect your hobbies and interests
This is when you take out time to do things you love. I can’t stress enough that hobbies are vital in a person’s life. The satisfaction you get from doing things you love is what makes your life worthwhile. If it’s a DIY project, find inspiration on Pinterest while you’re in office. If you like to write, complete articles while you’re in office. Make the most of your time at work. Trust me! You can easily complete all office tasks along with things you love to do by planning out your time properly.
6. Don’t lose your spark
- While you’re stuck at work, there’s no restriction on sending a romantic message to your spouse. Send sexy emoticons for distraction.
- Mess around with your colleagues. Laugh on silly jokes and enjoy the little things in life.
- Face the fact that you will have to spend most of your conscious hours at work, so try to make the most of it.
- Tell your colleagues jokes. Narrate funny stories. Laugh it out.
- In a meeting, crack a joke or smile to your boss.
- Hide from colleagues or tickle one.
7. Enjoy your lunch breaks
Lunch breaks are precious. Why ruin them by staying at your desk. Make sure you get up and do something fun. Plan them in advance. A few quick ideas:
- Meet friends.
- Eat out.
- Sit on the office rooftop.
- Play table tennis, darts or ludo which is set up in office.
8. Complete all your personal chores during office hours along with work
I cannot stress enough that 9 hours a day at work are more than enough for any office work to be completed. Make sure you take small breaks during this time to complete your personal work too. This is so you don’t have to do it in your precious little time at home. All your personal chores such as:
- Online banking
- Phone calls
- Important messages
- Planning with friends
- Handbag organization
- Updating budget diary
- Applying nail polish (only on hands, never feet!)
- Adding up month’s expenses
- Cleaning up desk
- In fact, even your outside chores such as a visit to the bank, hospital and mechanic can be done during office hours. All offices allow employees to take half days to manage such issues in their personal lives. Just choose a day when office load isn’t too much and you can easily go and get your chores done (once in a blue moon).
9. Take care of your self
- Drink 8 glasses of water every day. Divide your days so it becomes a habit. I have 4 glasses in office, then 2 while playing Tennis and 2 at home at night.
- Saying all 5 Namaz of the day. These breaks are essential for us to work better. Work is no excuse.
- Complete your vegetable/fruit intake. Bring your cut fruit in a lunch box every day.
- Eye, hand and shoulder exercise while sitting in the office. 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 day.
- Are not sitting all day. Try to stand and work for at least one hour every day. Sitting all day is very unhealthy for your body and will eventually make you fat.
- Staying confined indoors is unhealthy too. Find a park very near your office and try to walk there whenever possible for a breath of fresh air or to simply admire the blossoming flowers.
Office jobs where you have to stare at the screen for 8 hours every day can really strain your eyes. Once you complete some project deadlines, why not take your eyes off the screen for a while and doodle or draw on a piece of paper to refresh/relax your mind and eyes. I do this often.
- Don’t become lazy. A corporate job can drain you out but that doesn’t mean you should lose the will to live. Get up and go home the moment time is up. Do not spend a minute of your break on your computer. Switch it off, and go out, get a break! We have to be robotic but it’s for the best. This is actually the best part of a job, it teaches you to get up and do what is required. No chance to be lazy or your whole routine will be ruined badly!
10. Ideas for time spent traveling to or from work
Some of you will be living really far from the office and would have to spend a considerable part of your day traveling. I have had my share of those times too. (After years and years of struggle, finally I live 5 minutes from my office and 5 minutes from my Tennis courts where I run to straight from work. Thank God!). If you have to travel a lot, try to work out a way of enjoying your commute time too. You don’t want to be miserable in those hours.
- Listen to podcasts/audiobooks on the way. Mark good ones on your podcast app (or here) and save in your phone or car.
- Read all the books you had been wanting to read all your life. This is your time.
- If you drive yourself, you can get Quran Tafseer DVD and try to complete the whole Quran while you’re driving. Or if you would rather unwind, play your favorite DVD so you enjoy your favorite songs in the car.
- While driving, enjoy the silence and do zikar. Read ayat Kareema or Surrah Fatiha
- Buy your favorite DVD’s for your car and sing along loudly. It is a stress reliever. Make your drives memorable.
These were just some tips to help make your life happier with a full time job. Remember, you only get to live once, so live it up!
- How do you stay happy despite your full-time job?
- What are the techniques you use to entertain yourself during and after office hours?
- Which point above do you most agree or disagree with? I would love to know.