Working odd hours, switching from a day job to one that requires you to pull all-nighters or moving from a part-time job to working full-time; change is never easy.
When you are accustomed to a certain work schedule, adjusting to a new one can be tough. Making the transition easier requires making sacrifices and figuring out what’s important so you can plan your schedule accordingly.
Here are some tips to help you adjust to a new schedule:
Schedule Your Snooze Time
If you are accustomed to sleeping during the night, making the transition to snoozing in the daytime won’t be easy. The best way to approach this challenge is to adjust your schedule so that it allows you to get enough sleep. For instance, if you work a night-shift job, you’ll have to rearrange your days so that you get a seven or eight hour window to sleep before your scheduled work time. If you have people dropping by your house during your scheduled sleep times, consider posting a note on your door asking them not to knock. Instead, they can stick a message in your screen door and you can contact them when you have time.
Early Birds Adjust Better
Before you go back to work or transition to a new job, start rearranging as much of your schedule as you can ahead of time. This makes it easier to completely transition when you actually have to. Do a dry run by waking up, getting dressed and starting up your espresso machine around the time you’ll need to report to work. The caffeine should help you stay up for at least a few hours, and once you’ve forced yourself to stick to your new hours, you’ll find yourself needing it less and less. You can also commute from your home to your workplace to see how long it will take you to get there. Doing a few dry runs will allow you to more accurately plan your new schedule.
What’s Most Important?
Remember, not everything on your “to-do” list is a priority. With the changing schedule, you may have to scale back on several things. If this means your best friend has to find someone else to bake cupcakes for her kid’s bake sale, then so be it. People who love and want the best for you will understand your need to prioritize. Write down everything you need and want to do, and start ordering them by importance. The tasks that fall at the bottom of the list are probably not priorities. You can either postpone these things, or skip doing them altogether.
Round Up Support
Your friends and family are there to support you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask them for help. You might consider asking your spouse to pitch in with the cooking or cleaning duties, or asking your kids to feed the pets. Contrary to what some people believe, reaching out is not a sign of failure or weakness. It simply means you’re human and entitled to need a hand sometimes.
Organization is Key
When you get started with a new schedule, it can be hard to maintain steam if everything around you is in disarray. For this reason, keeping your house, as well as your “to-do” list organized is important. You might start by having a designated space for your uniforms, keys and other work-related items. This way, you won’t have to run around like a maniac trying to find the things you need to get to work on time. Also, consider using a calendar to keep track your tasks, and keep the calendar in a spot that’s easily accessible.
Adjusting to a new work schedule takes time and may require you to make a few sacrifices. However, if you plan your sleep times, keep things organized, prioritize your tasks and ask for help when you need it, you will fine-tune your life so that adjusting to your new work schedule is less hectic.