How to Survive an Early Work Schedule

If you’re unfortunate enough (or fortunate enough, depending on your outlook) to end up with the early morning shifts or office hours, it can be tough to force yourself to get out of bed in the morning. And by the end of the week, you’re looking forward to nothing more than sleeping in as long as you want. But things like an odd weekend schedule and bedtime hours during the week can make the transition and surviving early work hours even harder.

Set a bedtime and stick to it

Though your friends may call you an old person, keeping an earlier bedtime is beneficial when you’re waking up and working those early morning hours. An earlier bedtime is a surefire way to help get those necessary seven to eight hours of sleep; but don’t slack off on the weekends. While you can go to bed an hour or so later on Saturday and Sunday, pulling all nighters or going to bed too late can make Sunday night and Monday morning needlessly difficult.

Set an early bedtime during the week and try to maintain it on weekends whenever possible.

Early to bed, early to rise

If you’re setting an early bedtime, the next natural step is... you guessed it, an early alarm. Give yourself a little time if you’re in the habit of hitting the snooze button, but otherwise you should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep before a firm wake-up call.

Stick to the same idea with weekends. While going to bed super late and waking up in the afternoon is a great feeling, you won’t really appreciate the sudden switch in schedule on Sunday night when you’re in bed and restless.

If you’re particularly bad about hitting the snooze button, consider placing your alarm clock in an area where you have to actually get out of bed to turn it off.

Plan ahead and stay focused

If you’re waking up at the crack of dawn, you’ll need a gameplan you can stay focused on for getting ready. If you’re trying to squeeze in an insane morning routine, you’ll definitely need the focus in order to avoid being late. Consider planning out your morning the night before by putting out clothes and shoes, or making your lunch.

When you do wake up and get started with your routine, don’t indulge in anything you haven’t set time aside for. You’ll waste time distracted by the T.V. or the newspaper, so unless you’ve scheduled time for those things, it’s best to leave them for when you come home. Be sure to schedule time for breakfast, though!

By sticking to these simple tips for your routine, you can survive early morning shifts and early evenings. Be sure to break the rules every now and then if you need to hang out with friends or family, especially around the holidays--sacrificing one tired day every now and then is better than never seeing your loved ones.


Creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by S.Tore.