Job/Career Life

6 Ways to Survive Your 9-to-5

Working in a corporate environment is never something I thought I’d be doing for my career. I’m not the *biggest* fan of it, if I’m being completely honest. As every writer or designer dreams about, I was hoping to become self-employed, or work at an agency filled with creatives just like me. Alas, I sit for eight hours a day in the corner of a cubicle, staring at a computer. It’s not glamorous by any means.

Here are a few ways I’ve learned to manage the life of working a 9-to-5 job:

1. Get up from your desk as much as you can.

I’ve had days where I don’t move from my desk for the entire eight hours of my shift. The result: I feel groggy, my mood is awful, and my body feels like it wants to fall apart. It is super important to get up and away from your desk a few times a day, especially if you’re in front of a computer. Go for a walk, wander around your building, or even walk up and down the stairs a few times. Getting your blood pumping will leave you feeling less fatigued after a long day. There have been many reports on how awful sedentary behavior is for your health, so keep your body moving! It’ll thank you in the long run. (Pun intended.)

2. Take your lunch break!

Coffee at cafe
Treat yourself to a coffee at a local cafe at lunchtime–you’ll feel recharged, renewed, and ready for the rest of your day!

Along with short, intermittent breaks, it’s crucial that you take a lunch break. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easier said than done. I have worked through lunch many times, eating at my desk as I try to get things done. This never accomplishes much of anything; my time isn’t spent being productive, as I’m concentrating on scarfing down my food as quickly as possible. Walking away from your desk to refuel with food helps concentration, improves mindfulness, and takes a lot of stress out of sitting for eight hours.

3. Turn your monitor brightness down.

Turning down the brightness just a hair on your screens will help prevent headaches and eye fatigue, and is better for your eyes in the long run. There hasn’t been concrete scientific evidence that the light from screens can damage your eyesight (not yet, anyway), but it’s best to err on the side of caution. Staring at a bright, back-lit screen for eight hours can’t be beneficial

4. Dress up your desk.

Tassel garland
Tassel garland–how cute is that?

As long as your supervisor is okay with it, bring in some decorations and dress up the place you call home for eight hours a day! Removable contact paper works great for walls, and push pins can be used to hang frames. Plants are also a great option; the color green has been proven to increase productivity and helps to destress. This Buzzfeed article has some great ideas on how to spruce up your space.

5. Keep necessities on hand.

Hand lotion, tissues, multi-surface cleaner, and panty liners are just a few of the things that I have in my desk drawer. It’s also a good idea to keep a nonperishable snack, bandages, spare phone charger and umbrella nearby as well–no one likes getting caught up in an unexpected rainstorm!

6. Collaborate as much as possible.

collaborate
Working with a team is not only productive, it fosters new ideas both from you and your coworkers.[/caption]

There should always be room for collaboration with others, no matter your work environment. Not only does brainstorming with coworkers produce great results and products, it also gets you out of your routine and re-energizes your work day. Your work relationships will become stronger, and your mind will thank you for the exercise!

Working a 9-to-5 desk job can be draining, but if you make room for a bit of fun and relaxation, you can turn it into a positive experience.

How have you learned to survive in your 9-to-5? I’d love to hear any tips you have. Comment below!

  • Paula Smith

    Great advice. Although my working day is very varied I seem to have more and more “desk time” at the moment and I’m terrible for eating lunch at my desk. I definitely think a tidy and pretty work space helps…note to self- must declutter on Monday!

    • Haha I always end up with a really messy desk at the end of the week XD It feels good to declutter in the beginning of the week; great way to set intentions for the rest of the week! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Chelsea Hodges

    9 to 5’s are not fun, I’ve definitely learned to make the most of the time by talking to other coworkers and to take frequent breaks!

    • Amber

      I agree! Luckily my coworkers are so awesome and I can have meaningful conversations with them; I definitely would not be able to get through my days without them!

  • Lolita “Lolitambonita” Bonita

    I am not surviving really struggling. Noone takes their lunch break and I always feel dead awkward. Everyone also stays late and even though my team are lovely sometimes I struggle! X
    Lola Mia // http://www.lolitabonita.co.uk

    • Amber

      I hear you. My last job was quite the struggle; my boss really did not like when I took lunch breaks (even though I was allotted at least a half hour break BY LAW) and I stayed late all the time because that’s just what we “did.” Once I broke out of that and became more autonomous, defining my way to work and how I am most productive, I had a much easier time.

      I hope your job gets easier, lovely! Or I hope you find a job in which you’re more comfortable to take your breaks and balance your work life. xx

  • Gabrielle Trenbath

    great tips, especially the one about getting up from your desk. I always seem to forget this.

    http://www.blogsbygabrielle.blogspot.com