Being a Better Employee Series: Do Something Before Work
This is the fifth post in a series about how we can all become better workers. The first post was about being early,the second was about having an opinion, Friday’s was about doing more, and the fourth was about helping your boss.
This one has less to do with work and what you do while you’re there than it does with having a nice balance in your life. In other words, it might just make you feel better when you’re at work if you’ve done something beforehand (or afterwards, if that’s your style—I just can’t get much together after work).
I used to set my alarm at 8:15am at my old job. I would shut it off, drag myself to the shower, wash up, and then hurry up and change. Then get ready for work. If I ran a little behind schedule, I was rushing to make it to work on time. By the time I got there I felt like I had just woken up and I wasn’t fully “there.”Was this all I had?
Then something happened one month and I got all jazzed up about getting into shape. So I started going to the gym, but I quickly realized I was too lazy to go after work: I was tired and I just wanted to watch some TV and relax. So I started going before work. That means waking up earlier, which is a nightmare to most people, but I quickly adjusted. And let me tell you, there is nothing better than walking out of the gym after a good workout and saying to yourself, “OK, let’s go to work now.”
You feel like you’ve already accomplished something in your day and that work is merely another place you need to be at, not THE place you HAVE to be at (although, yes, I realize we all HAVE to be at work). It was a fantastic feeling.
I kept the workout for around a month and then decided to do NaNoWriMo, and that also meant waking up early to write. That was a couple of years ago and I have been waking up early ever since (mostly to write, although I did have to train for the Urbanathlon).
Without this new routine, I would not be able to maintain this blog. I wouldn’t have this great side project that allows me to practice my writing and share my opinions with others.
The point of getting up early and doing something else is to make you feel like you’re life doesn’t just revolve around working. It also gives you time to get side projects off the ground, catch up on e-mail, read, etc. There are tons of things you can decide to do with your time before work:
- Start a hobby
- Drink some coffee
- Watch TV, the news, etc
- Start a side business
- Learn something new
I know, I know, getting up early is a nightmare for most people. You will get used to it. Trust me, I feel weird staying in bed past 5:30am now because I’ve been doing it for so long.
In the end, having something else on the side (whatever it may be), is likely to make you a happier person and so a better employee while you’re at work. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Check out the rest of the Being a Better Employee series.