Working 9 to 5?


You get up, get ready, go to work from 9-5 (or thereabouts), come home, eat an evening meal, relax in front of the tv catching up on your favourite tv programmes, reading a book or watching a film.

The above-mentioned ‘average day’ is or has been a common experience for many of us, even though working patterns have deviated more beyond the traditional 9-5 working hours for many people in recent decades.

My working patterns for the past four years have included a fair amount of evening work, teaching from 6.00-9.00pm for one or two evenings a week, alongside some more standard daytime hours. Those hours this year, once I factor in the self-employed work that I do that has flexible, i.e. to a point I can choose when I work, hours mean that I can find myself unoccupied and with a free morning on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as I teach on those evenings.

I can feel oddly guilty about doing nothing on a Tuesday morning but watching tv, such can be the ingrained nature of daytime working hours, but the reality is that my Tuesday morning just happens to take the place of my Tuesday evening, and those relaxing evening activities that we enjoy after a working day are perfectly acceptable in the morning.

Sometimes we can be obsessed that if it is the daytime, that we should be working and anything else is slacking off. A friend of mine who was a vicar was once reported to her bishop by a member of her church because she was mowing her lawn in the daytime when she should be working, the bishop fortunately acknowledging immediately that it was a specious complaint.

One of the best pieces of time management advice I received in my younger years was to work two sessions out of three in a day, and that if you were working in the evening, then it was perfectly acceptable to take either the morning or the afternoon off in order to manage your time and wellbeing. Some people often find themselves working morning, afternoon and night for very necessary reasons, including to have enough money to live or when setting up a new business, but it is certainly less than ideal.

If you work unusual or non-standard hours, don’t feel guilty about taking a morning off to catch up on that tv programme that you love. And if you don’t feel guilty anyway, well done.

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