If you’re reading this from the cubicle of the office bathrooms, silently scrolling through your phone trying to find a restaurant for your colleague’s birthday because you forgot it was even happening today. Don’t worry, we’re with you. Nearly 30% of management and legal workers report working more than 45 hours a week, and the worst part of all is that it isn’t surprising. We’re working harder than ever, which means we have less time to do the things we love. While rocketing rents and a passion for good food might require you to work longer hours, there are ways to make sure that you can enjoy the things that you might if you worked part-time. You just have to be savvy. Here are some tips for getting your life back while still managing the overtime.
Remember those friends who you used to call up and have a cocktail night with once a week? They’re probably long gone, living in the suburbs and bringing up a family. They drifted out of your life when you started working overtime and couldn’t make friend dates. Then you hit 30 and all of a sudden it became really difficult to make new friends. You could try reaching out to your old friends, but the soccer mom life probably doesn’t appeal, and you really don’t have the time to travel out to the suburbs for a glass of wine and an evening with your ex-best friend’s four year old. However, you could try online groups or dating apps, some of which have recently branched out into matching friends. For instance, Badoo allows you to search for potential friends in addition to potential love interests nearby. You never know, you could be sipping on margaritas with your new BFF in no time.
You may not keep a diary, because you stopped at thirteen and the final entry read, “I HATE MY MOM”. However, keeping a calendar diary is a very effective tool for keeping track of your spare time. Once you have pencilled in all of your overtime for the week, you can evaluate pockets of free time and make plans. You might find that you have much more free time than you previously thought, and by making plans for the week ahead, you can have something to look forward to as you make it through the week. Pencilling in your working hours might mean that you start to see how much you’re working and it may be the perfect antidote to cutting down your hours. There are some great scheduling apps which allow you to colour code your time and will help you to make the most of the hours that you do have free.
When you work over 45 hours a week, even getting up in the morning to go for a run might seem laborious. You’re overworked and your sleep is important to you. However, if you get up just twenty minutes earlier to do some yoga at home, you might find yourself feeling more refreshed and in control. Spending a little bit of time to yourself before work will give you a chance to evaluate how you feel and may give you the energy boost you need to get through the day. If you have a desk job, you might find that hitting the gym at lunch could be the timeout that you desperately need. As well as keeping you active, it’ll take your mind off the impending deadlines, and the endorphins will give you a buzz all afternoon.
It can feel disheartening when you’re working so often that you don’t feel as though you have time to yourself, but with a few simple tricks you might begin to see changes in yourself and feel as though you are getting your life back on track. Work is only important if it allows us to do all of the other things that make us happy.