Preparing for the Day-to-Day Grind

For those that have just graduated, the day-to-day grind of Corporate America will hit you quick.  After taking a month or two off from school and traveling or just relaxing, you have to get back into a structured routine.  Adjusting from care-free vacation mode to a structured schedule is challenging.  Here are some ways to prepare for the day-to-day grind to ensure you hit the ground running and a look into what I do for each of these items:

Wake up at the same time every morning.  If you need to be up at 6 AM to start your day and head into work, practice doing this for at least a week before you start your full time job.  This will get your body adjusted to the routine earlier.  This is one of the more challenging transition points for recent graduates to get accustomed.  But it is vital if you are to stay awake and pay attention at your job.  Steve’s take: My schedule is variable based on where I work each day.  When I work in the city, I wake up at 6 AM.  When I work outside the city, I wake up at 5 AM.

Exercise in the morning.  For those of you that know you are low energy in the morning, exercising will jumpstart your day.  You don’t need to go out and run 10 miles in the morning, a simple 10 minute walk will do the trick.  But being somewhat active will allow you to get your body moving and energy level at the appropriate level to keep up with the grind.  Steve’s take: When I wake up, the first thing I do is stretch for 5-10 minutes.  I then go for a run.

Unwind after work.  If exercising in the morning is not for you, do so after work as a way to unwind from a stressful or hectic day.  Read a book.  Go out to dinner with friends.  Whatever works for you as a method to take your mind of the daily stresses and projects.  Unwinding after work is critically important.  Having balance between your work life and personal life will make your whole life that much more fulfilling and enjoyable.  Steve’s take: I don’t run every morning, so I exercise in the evening at times.  I also enjoy just walking around the neighborhood and reading a book in the park to forget about the work grind.

Plan out your time.  In Corporate America you use a calendar to keep track of meetings, do the same for the rest of your life.  Planning out your time will keep you focused on what needs to be accomplished on a daily basis.  It keeps you prepared for the multiple activitiesand focuses you have in a given week, and keeps you on track so you don’t miss anything.  Steve’s take: Every Monday morning I compile a list of everything I need to accomplish or do in a given week and give them time slots on my calendar.  Even events like, “go out with friends” - I write down everything so I know what is going on at specific times.

Keeping these routine-based ways to prepare for the day-to-day grind will help you be more focused both at work and outside of work.  While you may think focus will be easy, with so many activities going on in and out of work you will quickly realize focus can be a challenge.  Take control of your day-to-day schedule and routine so the grind does not get you down.