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!
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.
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.
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!