Speaking to workers across every industry, the pain can be universal: a double shift is some seriously hard work. There’s just no denying it. On the flip side, there’s some good news: everybody makes it through.
But no matter what industry you’re in, a double shift has some realities that we all can identify with. It can be difficult mentally and physically, presenting challenges simply as the hours march on.
So what can you do? How are you supposed to muster up the energy not just to survive your shift, but handle it? There are least 15 solid tips for that which we’ve come up with here, go ahead and try some out for yourself…
You may find they’re all the motivation you need to go from just skating by to thriving during those long overtime hours.
1. Do The Math
What’s the main reason we all agree to take those doubles? OK, it’s the money. Those extra hours can be make or break for us during certain months—above an beyond being nice to your coworkers, or simply taking the shift nobody wants.
So what can you do? Do the math: figure out exactly how much you’re going to be making from that shift. Right from the start, you’ll have a perspective from which you can be grateful for each hour as it gets you closer to that monetary goal.
2. Make a List
And now that you’ve got that number in your head, try to figure out what you’re going to use that money for. Maybe it’s a new Netflix subscription, an long overdue spa day, or maybe the new shoes you desperately need for those aching feet.
Whatever those double-dollars can get you, simply making that list can be a huge push towards a better shift.
3. Plan For Your Friends To Visit
Have a set time or two where you can count on seeing some familiar smiling faces. Maybe they’ve never seen your work before, or maybe they’re best friends with all your coworkers. Either way, having that known break can be a big motivating factor in getting through a few more hours.
4. Take It 5 Minutes at a Time
There’s a theory that says when you want to eat an elephant, you have to go a bite at a time. The same is true with your long shift. The more you think about how long it is, the less motivated and more overwhelmed you’ll be. Dedicate the first five minutes to doing something really well, and then take the next five to do the same.
5. Plan Out Your Breaks
Instead of eyeing the clock to see when you get to go home, maybe splitting up the shift into smaller pieces divided by breaks can be a good way for you to pass the time.
Plan out each break, know how you’re going to spend it (more on that later), and work hard so you can treasure those few minutes off for yourself.
6. Spread Out The Caffeine Rations
We’ve all been there: in an effort to give yourself an early boost, you overload on caffeine. What ends up happening is you’re dehydrated, jittery, and spiraling towards a caffeine crash.
Limit yourself, and each sip of coffee will mean so much more in the long run.
7. Sneak In Your Favorite Snack
OK, so maybe a chocolate bar isn’t the healthiest piece of substance, but sometimes when something hits the spot, that’s all that matters.
But when you do eat, make sure you don’t pile it all into one sitting. Using what’s called the “grazing” method, try to slowly eat small portions of food throughout your shift. You’ll never be too full or empty.
9. Sleep Before, Not After
Trying to reward yourself with sleep later can be a nightmare. All you’ll be doing is battling your eyelids all night. If you go into it counting down the hours until you can sleep, it’s an uphill battle from hour one. Instead, if you can, sleep it off the night before.
10. Power Nap
Studies have shown that even 10 minutes of shut eye can help us to be more alert, mobile, and efficient. That quick power nap during a break may be all the boost you need.
11. Try To Master a Skill
Commit to stretching out a lesson for yourself over the extended hours. Maybe now is the perfect time to develop that job skill that you haven’t quite mastered. You essentially have two shifts worth of time to really get it down!
12. Tag Team
If you have a coworker who’s “in it” with you, it will make all the difference in the world. Sometimes it’s all about having that support system to make it through. Another coworker sharing in your plight makes support easier for you and them.
13. Treat Yo’ Self
Have something ready and waiting for when you get off your shift. Whether it’s a massage, date night, or just a well made bed, make sure you have a treat waiting as your reward for a hard day’s work.
14. Entertain Yourself
If you can load an episode of your favorite show or a movie onto your phone, then do it! You can take short breaks throughout the day to keep referring back to it. It’s a fun little way to make the hours seem less dragging.
15. Don’t Be Bashful
It’s OK to let people know you’re working a double. Even telling some of your favorite customers or coworkers can give you an opportunity to be encouraged—or get a reality check that you’re just not alone.
While it’s not always going to be our favorite thing, there’s plenty of upside to working that double. Remember: you’re going to make it out, so make every second really count.