By: Alyssa Kapaona
It seems like just yesterday your biggest concerns were figuring out your major and making sure you had lit plans lined up for the weekend. But those days are long gone and you’re noticing that finding a night when you and your friends are all off at the same time is suddenly a rare occasion. Welcome to the world of adulting. It’s a transition, but nothing you can’t handle. Here are three tips on how to navigate life with a full-time job, like a boss:
1. Get organized.
Stuff gets crazy when you are working 40ish hours a week. Figuring out how to manage all of your responsibilities can be overwhelming. First, take a deep breath. You got this! Now get started by writing down everything you need to take care of in your life: house/apartment, car, job, pet, kids, health (mental, physical, and spiritual), chores (laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.), budget, etc.
Under each category write down what you need to do to maintain these items. Be as specific and obvious as possible. This will help you remember all those pesky details. For example, for house/apartment write:
For health, you could list things like:
One strategy a close friend uses to manage her responsibilities is to do everything at once. Every October, she takes a couple vacation days to do her annual appointments (OB, optometrist, car stuff, etc.). She gives herself enough time in between appointments so she is not rushed or stressed and makes sure not to schedule too much in one day. She admits it is hard to take vacation for something other than vacation, but at the end of the day the peace of mind knowing that things are taken care of is a little mental vacation in itself. She also tries to have some fun when she can, like enjoying a nice, long lunch at her favorite restaurant or scheduling a facial so it’s not all work and no play.
If you need to remember any deadlines for your responsibilities, then put that down in a calendar or as a reminder in your phone. For example, every year I have an alarm that reminds me to get my car’s safety check. Another helpful tip from a friend is not doing a traditional “to-do” list, but instead just scheduling things in your calendar. This way you make sure you have a time carved out for your “to-do” item. Making sure you have time for all the things you are responsible for is the key to making sure it will get done and that your start to adulting is a successful one.
Real talk: once you have a full time job, it will monopolize most of your waking hours. I repeat: most of your time will be spent at your job. While this fact can be a bit depressing, it does put in perspective how precious your free time is, so start prioritizing!
What do you love to do? What relaxes you? Who do you like to hang out with? What activities do you need in your life to feel fulfilled, balanced, and energized? The thoughtful and reflective answers to these questions will tell you who and what you value. Think about these things and be sure to make time for them. When I first started adulting, I was working indoors most of the day. While I enjoyed my job, I missed spending time outdoors, so I made sure to have at least one outdoor activity planned during the week to ensure that I felt balanced in my new role as a full-time professional. And don’t discount the small things; adulting is a lot about doing what is best for you. My preferred outdoor activity were weekend surf trips, but that wasn’t always financially feasible. So, I also learned to appreciate smaller scale activities like a walk in my neighborhood or a local hike.
In regards to who you value, be sure to schedule time for them as well! If you have a partner, try setting up a date night once a week. If you’re living alone, make sure to set up regular time with your support system aka family and friends. My friends and I have found that regularly scheduled things were helpful. For example, every Friday was our happy hour date. However, don’t be afraid to be spontaneous and change up your recurring event or add something new to the mix. Some of our best times were things that happened on the fly. After you find what works for you and your social circle, be sure to maintain it. Keeping up with your social connections is an important part of adulting and their support will help you both get through the tough times and enjoy the good times.
3. Set Goals.
Now that you are more organized in your adult life and spend your time according to your values, it’s important to think about your future. If you just started adulting, odds are you are dreaming of bigger and better things, whether it’s moving up in your job, owning instead of renting, going back to school, starting a family, etc. It’s important to recognize the things you want to accomplish and start planning on how to get there.
Don’t get me wrong, you should definitely enjoy and savor the moment of starting out, but if you pay no attention to your goals and passions, time will pass and you’ll realize it has been awhile since you moved in a direction you intended to go. You don’t always need to be scheming, and starting small is a good idea. For example, share a goal with a trusted and honest friend. Check in with said friend every few months purposefully about your goal to make sure you are connected to your aspirations for the future. This small bit of accountability could make all the difference of a dream becoming reality or not.
Working full-time while learning how to adult is no joke. Maintaining your responsibilities and relationships is a great way to make things smooth when you are starting out. Narrowing in on your values and goals will also be key to moving you forward with purpose and intention. It won’t always be easy, but stay your course and before you know it, you’ll be full-blown adulting, and doing it well.