This post was written by an external contributor. Entering the world of graduate jobs? Here’s some top tips to get ready from Lucy Skoulding.
You’ve spent months fretting about finding work after graduating or waiting to finish your exams and get out into the world of work. The time has arrived and you’re not to blame if it’s all a bit terrifying.
You might have had people warning you that the transition into working life is very tough. Starting full-time work is a change if you’ve been used to the spontaneous, lack of structure that university lends itself to, but it’s not a scary as it seems if you gear yourself up for it.
Become a master of plans
Even if planning doesn’t come naturally to you, getting to grips with organising your time is important if you don’t want to become a stress ball who keeps missing appointments. Full-time work doesn’t mean you have no free time, you just have to adjust to using your time differently.
Become joined at the hip with your diary. Often people prefer to use digital calendars on their phones or laptops, but if like me you would rather keep an old-fashioned paper diary, then go for it. Use your diary to record meetings, events, and appointments as well as to jot down your to-do lists.
Learn how to make quick dinners
This comes down to meal planning and working out how much time you have to make dinner on any given day. Buy a blackboard and write your meals for the week to make it a bit more interesting.
There are plenty of quick, easy recipes online and in recipe books, or try asking your friends and family for tips. Meal prep and bulk cooking also saves so much time (and money). Cook up a big pasta, curry, or hot pot, or prepare a big salad. Portion it up for lunch or dinners and keep meals fresh by freezing them for another day.
Don’t go to bed too late
Everyone knows how much sleep they need to stay healthy and well, it’s usually seven to eight hours, so make sure you go to bed early enough to get your shut-eye.
Find a night time routine which relaxes you, whether that’s winding down with a bath, hot drink, or reading. In the first few weeks of working life, there’s no escaping the fact you might be tired, but you will soon adjust and feel better for having more routine in your life.
Have fun but relax too
Forgetting the above point for a moment, there will be some evenings when you’ll be invited out or have plans which run on late on a work night. Go along, enjoy yourself, and have fun, but try to schedule in some relaxation time during your working week too, or you will burn out.
Do all your ironing at once
Become a master of chores in general. It’s easy to ignore them and let them build up, but then you will spend your whole Sunday doing house work. Instead, find the most efficient way of doing chores, like ironing your clothes all at once.
Decide what jobs need doing every week and tick them off as you do them. Slot them in to your daily routine and they will be far less intimidating than letting the work pile up.
Exercise and go outside
Unless you have an active job, most of us move around far less when we start working because the general drill is sitting at desks or in meetings all day. Before you start, work out how you will fit exercise and fresh air into your life.
Can you walk or cycle all or part of the way to work? Would you have time to join a gym or can you exercise at lunch time? What about trying a new team sport after work? Getting fresh air during the working day is hugely beneficial to help you concentrate for a long period of time.
Take your own food to work
As much as café food is tempting, making your own lunch can save you so much money. Speaking from experience, buying lunch out can easily cost you £7. Add a coffee on to that and you’re spending £10 a day just on food at work. That’s around £200 a month – ridiculous.
Homemade meals don’t have to be boring – make your favourite sandwiches, soups, pastas, and salads. My favourite thing to do is make a bit of extra dinner then bring what’s left over to work. Most workplaces have facilities to heat food up.
Leave plenty of time for commuting
Arriving in time for work, meetings, and appointments is important – consistently late people will be remembered, and not in a good way.
If your maps say a journey takes half an hour, leave 45 minutes before you need to be there. Simples.
Get ready for day one
Last but not least, make sure you prepare fully for your first day at work. This means finding out what you need for the first day from your company, asking what time you must arrive, and checking whether you need to prepare anything. It also means ensuring you have the right equipment and dressing appropriately for the environment you will work in.