The traditional 9-to-5 model has been around for decades and is a way of structuring the workweek that seems expected and inescapable. For many of us, the 9-to-5 feels like a trap. And that’s not to mention the negative impacts that this way of working can have on our health, relationships, and social lives. Of course, many of us, unfortunately, work longer hours than the standard 9-to-5, but it’s still true that many 9-to-5ers notice they can’t pay attention to other areas of their life that they would like to. In other words, a 9-to-5, for many people, makes it difficult to achieve a work-life balance. In any 9-to-5, for example, you may still have to make long commutes, work overtime, and find yourself with enough time off.
Getting stuck in the rat race and living to work – rather than working to live – has become an accepted part of life. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Freeing yourself from the 9-to-5 life gives you the opportunity to rethink your worldview and prioritise what matters most. Whether you’re eager to spend more time with loved ones, you want to create more of a meaningful impact in your life, or you want to explore other countries, escaping the 9-to-5 life will enable you to live life on your own terms.
For most people, the main reason for taking a 9-to-5 job is the need to pay the bills and have financial security. However, you can achieve both these goals working non-standard hours. With a more flexible role, you can work when you’re most productive and maximise your income in condensed working hours.
Understand Your Motivation for Leaving the 9-to-5 Life
Before you make any changes to your life, spend time thinking about why you want to make them. Understanding your desire to leave the 9-to-5 life behind will help you to make the right changes going forward. Are you unhappy in your career or is it simply the working hours that get you down? Do you wish you had more family time but can’t condense your current role into a more family-friendly routine? Are you longing for the option to spend more time travelling to far-flung locations and can’t fit this into your allocated time off? There are many reasons for wanting to abandon the 9-to-5 lifestyle and they are all as justified as the next.
Plan a Career Change
Whether you’re sticking with your current profession or trying something new, you’ll want a concrete idea of what you’re going to do next. Digital marketing is one viable option for people who are newly self-employed. With plenty of training courses and professional tools available online, it really is a job you can do from any location. As a digital marketer, you can analyse current trends, research new marketing methods, and see how many users are searching for specific topics all with only a laptop and an internet connection. Furthermore, the industry has so many specialties that you’re sure to discover a role that suits your skills and interests.
Of course, digital marketing isn’t the only industry that offers an alternative to a 9-to-5 lifestyle. Online counsellors, academic tutors, website designers, tech support advisers, and accountants are just some of the careers that allow you to work flexible hours and choose your own location.
Employed or Business Owner?
Perhaps you’re stepping away from the 9-to-5 life because you want to follow your passions and create your own business? Or do you value the security of being an employee? If so, you can embrace non-standard working hours and create a lifestyle that’s more in-keeping with your goals.
The tech revolution has transformed the way we live and work. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions, more people have been working from home than ever before. Similarly, businesses have seen the financial and practical benefits of using a distributed workforce.
This means that they’ll be more opportunities to take on roles that offer remote working options and flexible hours while still being categorised as an employee. If you’ve always longed for the freedom outside a 9-to-5 role but you want the security of being employed, this could be the ideal compromise.
Trial Your New Lifestyle
Before you walk away from a budding career and a secure job, take steps to try out your new lifestyle. If you’re owed any time off, take it now and give yourself a trial run to see if your new lifestyle really is for you.
The grass always seems greener on the other side and it’s easy to imagine working on your own terms will make you happy. In reality, working for yourself and being totally responsible for generating revenue each month can be a lot of pressure. While many people thrive with this level of accountability, it isn’t something everyone enjoys.
By trialling your new lifestyle before you make big changes, you can learn more about what works for you and what doesn’t. With this information, you can adapt your plans accordingly.
Assess Your Budget
Walking away from the 9-to-5 life might mean taking a pay cut, at least in the beginning. Take a look at your budget and see whether you can modify your outgoings to live on a reduced income? If not, are there are any luxuries you’re willing to give up in order to fund a freer way of life?
If you are planning to set up your own business or work as a freelancer, you’ll also want to ensure you have some money behind you in case of emergencies. For many people, this means reducing their budget now, in order to save enough to enable them to adopt a new lifestyle in the upcoming months.
While it can be tricky to get used to living on a reduced income at first, the benefits gained from escaping the rat race and living on your own terms can far outweigh the extra income you were earning.