9 Strategies to Help You Adjust to Working Full Time

Adjusting to any new job is a struggle even if you aren’t new to the workforce, but working regular full time hours after being on a flexible student schedule is even more of a challenge. Keep in mind that I say this even though I was a very busy university student. I had a full class schedule and I also worked three jobs: I was a teaching assistant, a retail employee, and a nanny. In addition to school and work, I was also in a serious relationship.

However, despite how busy I was, when I made the shift from student to adult and had to work full time hours (in addition to commuting, being solely responsible for my first mortgage, and running my own household for the first time), I was completely unprepared. I remember coming home from work and going straight to bed for the first several weeks of my employment because I was simply exhausted. “Adulting” is serious business!

tie-690084_640 (2) 9 Strategies to Help You Adjust to Working Full Time

If you are in the midst of transitioning to working full time, consider implementing the following in your life:

Get an agenda book. It can feel overwhelming to balance your work and your life. You will have a lot to keep track of, so detailing your new schedule, appointments, to-dos, goals, and important notes all in one place, like in an agenda book, is crucial for staying organized and achieving success. I am old fashioned and believe in putting pen to paper for this task (in fact, I’d rather live without electronic devices completely).

Sleep regularly. You might be used to staying up late, but it’s important to get into a regular routine to help your body adapt. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. My routine is so ingrained in my life that I keep my “work hours” over the weekend, too. I promise that your body clock will adjust, it just takes time. Having said that…

Put your alarm across the room. Sleep is good, but oversleeping is not. The consequences for sleeping in and missing class are very different than the ones you’ll receive for not showing up to work. If your alarm clock is not within easy reach, you can’t turn it off accidentally or hit snooze on purpose.

Prepare in advance. Week day mornings can be hectic if you are trying to get everything done at the last minute and stressful if you end up forgetting something in your haste. Plan your outfit the day before, make your lunch in advance (use a meal planner to make this task easier – this one also helps organize your grocery shopping!), and put everything that you need to take with you by the front door.

Stay active. Exercise gives you energy, so regardless of how tired you are, don’t skip your workout. I prefer to exercise in the mornings so that I don’t have to worry about it after work, but I know that it may sound daunting to wake up even earlier than you absolutely have to right now. I suggest getting active over your lunch break or immediately after work (don’t go home first because your couch will tempt you!). I use a Fitbit to remind myself to keep moving during the day.

Keep your hobbies. I’m not going to lie and say that working 9-5 isn’t a drag. It gets monotonous fast, so you need to incorporate things to look forward to in your life. Continue your hobbies and make time to have fun!

Don’t just live for weekends. In the same vein as my point above, don’t be one of those, “is it Friday yet?” people. If you only live for the weekends, then you are wasting a good chunk of your life because most of us spend more waking hours working than doing anything else (unfortunately!). The way I look at it is this: my job is a necessary evil that sucks a lot of time away from my life, so I’m not about to let it infringe on my personal and family time too. Work gets your 9-5 hours every week, but you get the rest of the day whether it’s a weekend or not. Make the most of it!

Eat regularly. Make sure that you bring healthy snacks to work to avoid eating all of the junk that will be available at the office (and you thought the freshmen fifteen was bad – just wait!). Also, no matter how busy you are, make sure that you take time for lunch. If you can squeeze in a walk, bonus!

Track your accomplishments. Make sure that you take the time to track your accomplishments at work while they are fresh in your mind. You never know when you will need to speak about them in an interview and it’s also a lot easier at review time if you’ve made an ongoing list rather than frantically trying to think of all your projects at the last minute. My regular readers know that I’m a list person, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it also feels pretty good to see everything you’ve achieved spelled out on paper.

Share your tips for adjusting to working full time below! I’m thinking about doing a career series, so let me know if you think this content is valuable (or not!). Thank you for reading.

Disclosure: if you buy any of these products from me, or do any of your amazon.com shopping through my store, my sweet boxer, B, will get some treat money. He thanks you in advance for supporting his cookie addiction and I thank you for supporting my blog.


31 thoughts on “9 Strategies to Help You Adjust to Working Full Time

  1. This post talks about exactly what I’ve been struggling with – it’s so hard to keep active, be social and remember my hobbies when all I want to do when I get home is watch Netflix before I have to wake up early again the next day! You have inspired me to keep trying to do the things I enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so glad! I use to fall into the bad habit of just doing nothing when I got home from work and then I would get so angry at myself for not being productive, having fun, or staying active. It’s exhausting at first, but your body adapts and changes when you force it to! I feel much happier and more balanced now that I work AND do what I love (I was SO resentful when I felt work prevented me from doing what I loved, but I realized I was getting in my own way).

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your tip on not living just for the weekend is so important! I haven’t started working full time since I’ll be starting grad school soon, but even interning part-time can be draining since I’m always looking forward to the days when I’m not working. My week is so much more rewarding and fun when I have plans after work even though all I want to do is go straight home after I have a full day of work haha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At one point, I was getting pretty depressed about having to “waste” my life working. Even though it’s reality for most people doesn’t mean that I was happily accepting it.

      However, I have learned that I need to maximize the time I do have for myself, which consists of waking up at 5 a.m. to get my day started earlier, and making sure that I do the things I love after work.

      Of course weekends are still the best days ever, but I’m making it a point to enjoy my Monday – Friday as well. I’ve been working for awhile now, but even I need to be reminded of my own tips sometimes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whoa!! You really wake up at 5am to start the day? What do you do first thing in the morning to get your day started? Sometimes when I’m just at home doing nothing I feel like the hours drag on, but when I DO have work, it feels like the hours can’t pass by quickly enough haha 😦

        I’ve been wanting to start doing yoga or meditation in the morning but don’t have the motivation to do it because it’s always super cold in the morning, do you have any tips for that?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The first thing I do is workout, which is awful. It’s especially awful in the cold! The only thing that get me moving is knowing I won’t have to workout after work and that the evening will be mine.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Adulting is not always the most fun but overall pretty cool. The alarm clock across the room is a very good tip. When I wasyoung and living alone I kept mine by the coffeepot (really small apartment) that way I had to get up and leave my bedroom. At the coffeepot I then turned it on and the bathroom was right there, so shower!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Girl I needed this!!! Living the student/a billion part time jobs life is totally different than one full time job with real adult responsibilities… You’d think it would be easier than running around with your head cut off (that’s how I felt in school, anyways) but nope I have been proven wrong! Will definitely be using these tips to make the transition easier! Thanks lovely!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. the good ol’ agenda. i love mine so bits! i can’t imagine life without it. the only difficulty is coordinating with ADW… which is where my dual agenda comes into play: one electronic and the other on paper. that is always tough, imo! but it works so far…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Really needed this. I’ve just gone back to work full time after 8 years of working part time after having my daughter. It’s only been 3 weeks but I am already struggling! After reading this I’m definitely going to take down some of this advise x

    Liked by 1 person

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