Starting full time work in the corporate world for the first time can be a daunting prospect. It’s a significant change in your lifestyle and if not handled correctly can lead to deficiencies all areas of your life: health, wellness, time, energy, friends. But it doesn’t have to be this way, you can still find time to do the things you want to do, see the people you want to see and go where you want to go.
Based on my own experience working at one of the big 4 financial service firms; I want to share with you the ideas, tips, solutions I implemented that helped me go about my days with enthusiasm, vitality and energy.
Now, regardless of your background (schooling, nationality gender) I want to make it clear that the advice I give can apply to anyone, although you may want to fine tune certain elements to suit your personal tastes and preferences.
These are my key takeaways during my transition into full time work which have helped me continue to live a happy, healthy, life, while developing in my career and as a person:
Finding a routine is by far the fastest way to guarantee you a success and happiness in your new job while progressing in your chosen career .
“routine in an intelligent man is a sign of ambition”
– W. H. Auden
A routine helps to train your body and mind to operate at optimal output throughout your day, it also enables you to develop appropriate time management to incorporate other activities outside of work into your weekly schedule. Routine is simply removing the excess energy expenditure resulting from decision fatigue, examples of where this can be applied is:
Find a breakfast that is simple easy and tasty, have this every morning so there is no deliberating on what to eat before you go to work.
Go to bed and wake up at the same times each morning.
Exercise at the same times (know the form of exercise).
Eat lunch at the same time each day (have it prepared).
Know what you are wearing to work the night before.
For me this is the dark horse in the race to workweek satisfaction. People neglect or choose not to give much attention to the foods they eat throughout the day – this is a massive mistake.
Your diet plays such a big part in how you feel and think, you want to guarantee you’re eating the right foods paying particular attention to the foods you eat at important intervals, particularly breakfast and lunch. These two meals are so important to get right as they weigh heavily on the productivity of your workday – stick to light meals that are going to digest easy, this will keep you feeling energized and focused post meal.
This is a non-negotiable, you can’t expect to feel your best if you not sleeping your best. 6-8 hours sufficient any more or less can be detrimental to mental and physical performance.
Observe your sleeping patterns – take note of when you feel good after waking up, How long did you sleep for ? What did you do the night before?
Answering these questions will identify what works for you to ensure consistent quality sleep.
It’s important to note, its not the quantity of sleep you get – its about the quality.
Sleep linked with routine – you can’t have one without the other – the core of a good routine is sleep, so make sure you get it right.
For further information and resources on improving sleep see here.
Exercise is a powerful tool that improves brain function- find a time that fits around your routine and incorporate a minimum of 30 minutes physical activity per day.
Examples could be:
- strength training
- HIT training
- group fitness
- team sports.
The type of exercise doesn’t matter, it’s important to find a regimen that resonates with you – consistency and disciple is all you need. Once routine is established your workouts will become less of a chore.
Going to the gym during lunch break is a fantastic way to break up the afternoon and gives profound clarity and focus upon returning to work.
Exercise will improve your overall well being, its actually scientifically proven, here is an insert from one of my favourite books on this topic, ‘Spark’ by John J. Ratey, MD :
‘Research from kinesiologists to epidemiologists shows again and again that the better your fitness level, the better your brain works. Charles Hillman proved that fit children score better than unfit children on cognitive tests of executive function; Arthur Kramer showed that getting in shape increases brain volume of older adults; and population studies including tens of thousands of people every age show that higher fitness levels related directly to positive mood and lower levels of anxiety and stress’.
The only thing stopping you from mastering these 4 areas is your laziness – don’t let yourself get in the way of you performing at the best of your ability.
Remember, your body is a reflection of your mind.