Surviving the 80 hour work week

Why hello strangers! I’ve clearly gotten a little bit busy since coming back from Ontario.  It’s been crappy weather, some respiratory illness for me and the flu for Manfriend, and , oh yeah, the mystical 80 hour work week reared its ugly head thanks to some extra guests at Job 2 this week.

(Note: That may sound sarcastic, but I’m actually grateful for their business. Keeps us busy in one of the slower months of the year and I prefer Job 2 to Job 1. Job 1 = necessity at the moment. Job 2 = loads of fun).

Life has been a tad crazy. Along with changes that I’m trying to figure out, I haven’t been able to work out (read: stupid respiratory illness) and I’ve been focused on recovering. Which is a good thing to focus on, but I’m tired of sitting still. I want to MOVE!

A question I get often from people I do and do not know alike is “How on earth do you survive working 80 hours a week?” Here is my answer to that question.

1. I don’t thrive, I exist.

When an 80 hour work week rears its head (which it doesn’t often thank goodness) I pare down my schedule to see what can be let go of to allow more time for sleep and exercise, two things that are very important to me.  This allows me to exist more than to thrive/survive. Yoga classes and spin classes are cancelled in favor of home workouts, anything that causes me to travel for more than thirty minutes is adjusted, and friends and letter writing times are rescheduled.

2. I ensure something fun is planned for each day.

Even if its 10 minutes of jogging a certain route I love or just going for a walk, eating my favourite chocolate bar or a phone conversation with my best friend — there is something stress relieving and fun scheduled for each day. If you don’t take at least 10 minutes for yourself in a work week like this, you will break.

3. I stock up on the veggies, fruits, and granola

On the go snacks are the only way to do it. Get out your bigger purse and stock up on quick snacks and ensure they are pre-packed and refrigerated. It is so easy, SO EASY, to grab fast food when you are on a work week like this. It is ridiculously easy to grab Mcdonalds by the bus station if you are not prepared to snack often and snack happy.  Some of my favourite on the go snacks:

– cashews and blueberries with dark chocolate chips- yogurt and granola (don’t forget the spoon)
– small oranges that are easy to peel (think mandarins and clementines)
– carrot sticks with hummus- apple slices (with a little lemon juice so they don’t brown) and some peanut butter
– bananas

If you HAVE to stop for a snack, make it jugo juice, booster juice or something smoothie or frozen yogurt related. You’re less likely to overeat and there is something relatively healthy in each of those (depending on what you choose!)

When your tired your body craves sugar, because usually your brain has used all your glycogen stores to fuel itself — so you can eat very poorly if you’re not careful. I have more than once in an 80 hour workweek downed packets of sugar on their own. Don’t be afraid to ask bosses for a break, or to grab an apple, banana or orange instead of a sugar pack. The sugar high will last longer, and your body is better able to break it down.

4.  I Sleep often and when I can

If you have a 40 minute time period in between job one and two and you’re at home, sleep. Forget the laundry, the mess by your desk that Manfriend has been bugging you to clean for weeks (SORRY BABE!) and sleep. Catch that cat nap, you’ll be grateful for it later when a toddler escapes its parents and you’re responsible for chasing after it until you can reunite the family (may or may not have happened yesterday)

5. I have travel plans sealed down.

If you own a car this is less of an issue, although make sure you are not driving when you are over tired. If there is ANY chance that you could cause injury to yourself or others leave your car where it is and take a cab. Most cities have a number you can call to report a car being left overnight for just that reason (or being drunk).  If it is in a parking garage with no overnight parking, shmoozing with the attendant or paying for an extra day can work (trust me).  Just remember, paying any price (for cab or parking) is worth it. Your life is not worth saving the cost of a 20$ cab ride.

If you take the bus, then make sure you know your route, where to catch it, and times. It will save you the hassle of worrying about it later on.  If you have to walk late, know emergency numbers, have a whistle (I am not kidding) and know which buildings along your route home have overnight security or are open 24/7. It will save you so much stress.

6. Finally, I don’t stress

Lose a button? Wear the wrong bra for under the white work shirt (did that yesterday), don’t stress. Most people will understand. And if they don’t, then maybe you need to reconsider who you are working these 80 hours for and why on earth you put yourself through this once a month or so!

Plan something fun when you’re done! After all, you just earned a whole bunch of money. I am working so much to save for school and pay down debt, but that doesn’t mean I don’t buy myself a subscription to Runner’s World or a pair of Pro Compression socks or an hour long massage when I’m done a work week like this. You deserve a prize! You did it!

7. I smile

This is not your life forever, and you’re going to have a lot more fun if you smile.



2 responses to “Surviving the 80 hour work week

  1. You go girl!! I would love working high hour weeks!! They have to be tiring, but in a a rewarding way! Make that moneyyy!

    • They are SO tiring. I would have no issue with it if there was an 8 hour gap at night so I could at least sleep 6 hrs in a row. Its the starting at 4:30 am that kills me! A DOCTOR today told me to get more sleep. I asked him if it was an official prescription and if he could write me a doctors note 😉

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