Working Woman


Mornin’. I’m off to my first day day of work!

Because I’m beginning my internship today, I wanted to start a discussion about adjusting to a full-time work schedule.  I’ve been really spoiled over the last two years because my grad school classes were at night, so I’ve had the luxury of sleeping a bit later, working out in the mornings, eating a hot lunch at home, and making my own work schedule based on when I am most productive. I got a taste of the typical workday last year during my practicum at an elementary school, so I know going to work every day will be a tough transition. It’s not the actual work that bothers me (after all, I chose school psychology for a reason!) but it’s the little inconveniences that come from having to go somewhere all day, every day. For example: having to wear business casual clothes (which aren’t that comfortable in my opinion); bringing an extra pair of shoes to work on snowy days; packing a gym bag every day; not being able to leave for lunch; not having my own office space; lugging my computer to work each day; and not being able to control the temperature of my work space.

I don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill here, but these little things do add up.  However, my mission on Taking Back my Twenties is not to complain, but to take charge of my life and find ways to make working days more enjoyable. Part of this means making life at work more comfortable.  I have a few ideas about how I’m going to accomplish this, so I made a list of goals.  Most of the things on this list are common sense, but they tend to be easier said than done, which is why I’m going to need reminders…

1. Think about food ideas before weekly grocery trips so that I can incorporate leftovers to make lunches more interesting. And, pack plenty of snacks!

2. Pack my bag, lay out clothes, and make lunch the night before.

3. Get in bed 30 minutes before bedtime so I have a chance to wind-down.  Since I’m a night person, I tend to get energized before bed and then I have trouble falling asleep right away.

4.  Pick one day a week to skip the gym and work late to reduce the amount of work I have to do on weekends.

5. Keep a pair of old flats and a sweater at work for comfort.

6.  Get up 15 minutes earlier than I actually need to so I don’t have to rush in the morning.  I hate rushing.

7. Get organized and take the time to stay organized! Once I know what my case load will be like, I want to create an organization system that makes my life easier so I don’t waste time looking for things.

8. Think of each day as a learning experience and not just a list of tasks that I need to get through.

I know many of you have probably mastered life in the working world, so I’d love to hear your tips for making the work day more enjoyable!

  • Lauren
    September 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I think you have all of your bases covered! It sounds like you are more than ready to enter the regimented life of a full-time work schedule 🙂

  • Nicole (Please Don't Weigh Me at the Zoo)
    September 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Hey Laura! Good for you for taking charge instead of complaining…a lesson that could do many people well, including myself sometimes. 😉 I understand where you’re coming from completely…I spent 8 years in college (4 years of undergrad and 4 of med school), so when it was finally time to really enter the workforce I had a pretty difficult time adjusting and finding happiness.

    I do a lot of the things you do already – pack my stuff up the night before, plans my meals out on the weekends, get some relaxing in before it’s time to go to bed, and wake up 15 minutes early. That last one is a HUGE one for me, because I hate rushing as well, and starting out my morning in a frazzled state of mind really makes it tough for me to hold out much hope for the rest of the day. Also, I don’t know what your schedule will be like, like if you’ll have actual appointments or whatnot, but that’s how my day is structured and I’ve found that having my own boundaries helps me a lot. For instance, if I know that I have 50 minutes with a patient, I take 50 minutes – period. Unless there’s a dire emergency or extenuating circumstance, I allow myself that 10 minutes that’s built into my schedule every hour. A girl has to pee and reset her brain! It was hard at first because I wanted to please everyone, but I quickly found that I can’t do the job that my patients deserve when I’m going out of my mind.

    I love your last one about seeing the day as a learning experience. I try that one and generally fail miserably, but I like to think of myself as a work in progress. 😉

    And one last thing…have you ever considered meditating? I know, I know…New Age-y and weird. But honestly, I’m NOT a New Age-y kind of person, but I’ve found that meditation has helped decrease my anxieties so much, and it really does help me to think through situations more clearly, whether I’m thinking about work stuff or ways to relax. I never thought I’d be able to commit to meditation because I can’t even stop my mind for a minute, but I bought a great book called 8-Minute Meditation that’s done wonders for me.

    Wow, long comment. Just some thoughts! I can’t wait to read how the things you’ve chosen are working for you. 🙂

    • Laura
      September 13, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you so much for all of your insights!! I just may give meditation a try:)

  • kath
    September 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Good luck!!

    Here are two from me:

    If you get an hour for lunch, take 20 minutes to eat and then go outside for a 20 minute walk. Fresh air works wonders. You can also call your mom to talk on the phone!

    #2: cook in bulk on Sunday. Makes weeknight dinners SO much easier.

    • Judy
      September 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      Good luck,
      I so look forward to coming along with you. I’m retired but so much enjoy both you and Kath. God Bless you both

      • Laura
        September 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm

        Thanks Judy!

    • Laura
      September 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks! I’d love to walk at lunch, but I have to be in the office in case kids need me:(

      I should cook in bulk…maybe I’ll consult KERF for freezer friendly/bulk dinners…

  • Laura
    September 13, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Here’s my $.02:

    If you can find a way to work out in the morning, do it. I hated the first day that my alarm clock went off at 5 am, but once I got used to it, I really enjoyed the fact that by the time I made it to work at 7:45, I’d already worked out. It also meant that I felt much more awake and alert at the beginning of the day (and throughout the day, really). I found it was a lot harder to motivate myself to go to the gym after a long day of work than it was to do it first thing. It also frees you up after work so if you want to grab dinner with a friend, you don’t have to worry about fitting in a workout.

    If you have any ironing to do, do it all at once and over the weekend. It’s nice to know that everything in your closet is ready to go during the week.

    Last random-and-possibly-not-as-applicable-in-your-line-of-work thing: each week, create a list of three things you’ve just accomplished, three things you’re working on, and three things that you will work on once your current tasks are completed. It’s a good way to keep yourself accountable for what you’re trying to get done, and also a good thing to do so that if your anyone asks what you’re working on, you have a clear and organized response.

    Hope you had a good first day!

    • Laura
      September 13, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks Laura! I love your idea about creating lists of things I’ve accomplished. As for working out in the morning, I know it feels incredible to be done for the day, but I just don’t think I can bring myself to get up that early just yet…maybe in a few years:) The nice thing about school hours is that I get out closer to 3:30 so I can be in and out of the gym by 5ish!

  • Kerry
    September 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Sounds like you have a great plan in place!

    I use my commute time on the train to keep myself organized, that’s where I make my meal plans, grocery lists, workout plans, etc. Now that I have a smart phone (yeah!) I can even catch up on email and blog reading.

    • Laura
      September 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm

      Great suggestion! I actually did a little blog reading on my commute this morning:)

  • Kat
    September 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Personally, I detox best by exercising post-work, so that’s probably the best thing I do for myself.

    Otherwise, since 99.9% of my life revolves around food, I would highly recommend packing your lunch the night before and allowing enough time for an unrushed breakfast. That’s what puts me in a good place for the day.

  • Jenn
    September 14, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Laura,

    I’ve found that it’s important to balance the desire to organize and prepare for the week over the weekend with relaxing and having fun. Sometimes I get a bit carried away with trying to prepare for the week ahead (grocery shopping, laundry, pre-planning meals, cleaning) that before you know it, the weekend is gone and I’ve had no down time (or fun!).

    Also, even though I love my job, I get the Monday blues. It’s just hard to be motivated to jump back into the work place at the start of the week! But I’ve found that treating myself to a coffee from Starbucks, or stopping at a bakery for a little something special really makes Monday morning a heck of a lot easier to get excited about!

    Just my thoughts :o)

    • Laura
      September 15, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      Wow, that’s great advice that I’ve never thought about! Thank you, thank you:)