Shift work can be amazing for some people, whereas for some people, like me.. Its not. So, a bit of background on me. Once I’d finished school, sixth form and college, I went on to a steady 10-5pm Monday-Saturday retail job and then to a supermarket for shift work, and finally where I am now; an Apprentice in a 9-5pm job and I’ve never been happier to go to work in my life.
For me, working at a supermarket doing shift work was good for the first few months, I was on good money and didn’t mind the bizarre hours. After a little while however, I was switched to doing 10 hour night and some day shifts 5 days a week without being able to have my weekends just didn’t work for me; I work better with a steady routine and I just need my sleep. Although my time wasn’t great when I worked shifts, there were still a few things I liked about working shifts.
Some people unlike me, prefer shift work, and I admire these people because its just not for me. Lots of people need to do shift work as it works around their childcare, other jobs and is just how they like to work.
So what did I learn from doing shift work? Well let me tell you..
1. Keep a record of your rotas.
This is something I learnt very early on. Take photos or notes of what your hours are for the month as soon as your new shift rota is out so you can still plan your life around your shifts.
2. Track your hours.
If you’re like me, money has never been something I’ve been good at monitoring. How much money I was owed was never something I kept track of or checked (it’s bad I know). When I started my shift work I downloaded a clocking in and out app which I could input my hourly rate, and this worked wonders for me.
3. Book your holiday at work in advance.
The amount of times I was denied time off was crazy. And that was partly because it was too short notice or there were already loads of people booked off for the time I wanted. Get your holiday booked in early and you wont have the disappointment of being told no, give it in at least 5 weeks in advance.
4. Prioritise your downtime.
You’ll feel like you’ve got more time off if you prioritise what you want and need to do when you’re not at work. I found to-do lists extremely helpful and making sure I’d planned meeting up with friends and family in advance, which certainly helped my wellbeing because I was still able to have somewhat of a social life and chill out time.
5. Enjoy going out during the 9-5 hours!!
Something I loved about working shifts was the fact that I could go out shopping and to do stuff during hours that the majority of people worked. Shops and car parks were always empty which meant no queues!!!
6. Remember to take some time for yourself.
This was something that I would do in my time when I woke up before work if I was doing the afternoon shift. I would literally stay in my bed until about 11am and then sit around just relaxing. It made going to work and doing 10 hour shifts a bit more bearable!
7. Plan your meals ahead.
One day a week I would batch cook and plan my dinners for the week. When you work weird hours, this can be a real life saver! Just knowing that you’ve got something yummy to eat during or after a long day is a lovely feeling!!
8. Finally, make those weird working hours work for you.
If you end up working 3pm-10.30pm some days and 6pm-4am others, make those hours work for you! Get yourself into a pre and post work routine that sets you up for the day ahead so you don’t feel completely scattered.
So those are a few things that I learnt whilst doing shift work.. Whether you’ve done shift work before, are still doing it or are planning to do it, I hope you are able to find these tips helpful!! The funny thing is, I didn’t actually realise I’d learnt and likes doing these things until I’d stopped doing shifts!
If you have done shift work before or are still doing it let me know what worked for you!! Have a lovely week everyone!!