9 to 5 Doesn't Have to Suck - Work Survival Guide

9 to 5 doesn't have to suck

I have seen so many blogs on ‘escaping the 9 to 5 life’, ‘why you shouldn’t be working 9 to 5’ so much recently. What if you want to work 9 to 5? That’s okay!

So I wanted to write a post on some actionable advice on how to make your 9 to 5 great and if it’s already great, even better. I am a great believer that it doesn’t have to suck!

How to Get on with Your Colleagues​

The people you work with on a daily basis can be a hit or miss. But fortunately or unfortunately whatever your case may, we spend a hell of a lot time with them. If you aren’t holding hands round a campfire but want to be one step closer to that dream here is a popular tool used in many organisations. I invite you to take the animal test (I understand some people hate this type of stuff, personally I love it – stick with me.)

Once you know if you are a laid back monkey, data driven owl or a ruthless lion you will be able to understand what makes you tick and be able to understand the needs of your colleagues better. All employees act differently, are motivated by different incentives and of course gel with different people. This is a great first step to take if you are struggling!

Find a Mentor​

If you are at the early stages of the 9 to 5 world it is important to establish an organic mentee/mentor relationship. This doesn’t have to be within your organisation, it can be in the form of friends, family or ex colleague. Look for what you are needing development in, if it is someone to keep you grounded, someone to drag you out for a pint when you are stuck to your desk or someone to push you to the limits. Check out this post on the formula behind a strong mentee/mentor relationship from the lovely Evodie! It's horrible feeling helpless whether you are in 9 to 5 or not and a great mentor can make the world of difference.

Reject those Meeting Invitations

Most organisations are guilty of meeting overload throughout the working week. Unnecessary meetings can be frustrating, time wasting and a distraction from your creativity and productivity. Having a solid 2 hour or 3 hour block of time without distractions allows you to complete a task more effectively and of course improve motivation.

How to avoid the meeting overloads:

  • Don’t be afraid to reject meeting invites.

  • Try to find conclusions through other mediums.

  • Block out a day of week, no meeting Wednesdays!

  • Reduce members of attendees – if too many people are wanting to chip in, the meeting will be dragged out. Try to decipher a spokesperson for a particular group of people.

  • 30 minute or 1 hour meeting is a natural block of time for a minute invite. Which usually leads people to filling that time even if it could be finished in 22 minutes. Why not try putting shorter meeting times into the calendar initially.

Step Away from Your Desk​

Use your half an/hour lunch wisely – step away from the desk! I see so many people having their lunch at their desk not giving their eyes a rest from the screen and not allowing themselves to recharge. Utilise this time not only to step away from your desk but even step away from the office!

Don’t get me wrong I love my colleagues but I try to make effort to meet up with my friends outside of work at lunch. Integrating your working day with our world outside work ensures you are not waiting to have your social life until the weekend but making it part to your working week.

This goes for breakfast too, I love getting up a little earlier and meeting up with friends before work (understand this is not an option for everyone – I am definitely a morning person haha!)

The Impact of a Commute​

I’ve been lucky so far in my working life to avoid horrendous commutes, but when I do find myself travelling for work, I try making the most of my time (as a natural train doser - the struggle is real!)

UK’s office of National Statistics found that people who commute for more than 30 minutes a day have higher stress and anxiety levels than people who commute for less time. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable for most people. I hate this statistic, so started on some research and found CommuteKit, a little gem of curated resources to make any commute enjoyable, productive, and relaxing.

If you have the opportunity to walk or cycle to work – do it! Even if it is just once a week. Walking or cycling to work is more than just exercise, it will naturally make less stressed as well as increasing your ability to concentrate and think creatively.

You Have More Free Time Than You Think​

We have a lot more free time living the 9 to 5 life than we think we do! For inspiration on how to make the most of your time check out this awesome post by We Are Explorers.

Thanks for reading, as always would love to hear from you guys if you have more tips for 9 to 5 ! :)

Hi, I'm Sophie! I hope you enjoy my blog where I share my tips on traveling, starting a career, eating healthy, dating and all those other tricky things of being in your 20s.


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