How to Escape the 9-5

The nine-to-five working day that most of us are trapped in has been around for quite a while, now. Its longevity largely stems from practical concerns. Getting everyone into the office at the same time makes it easy to supervise and direct. And if everyone in the country’s doing it, it makes it easy for the surrounding economy to make predictions about people’s behaviour, and adapt accordingly.

But there’s something a little wearying about working from nine until five. While a little bit of structure can help to bolster productivity, too much of it can make every day seem to blend into the next one. This in turn can lead to a vague sense of alienation and depression. Many of us might recognise the experience of looking up at a clock at 5pm and thinking that it’ll only be sixteen hours until you’re back in the same place again.

Now, this is often dealt with via the occasional treat, like a spa day or a foot pedicure kit. But working life shouldn’t be something to dread. That’s why so many look to break out from the rat race and strike out on their own. But what’s the best way of going about this? Let’s take a look.


With the global coronavirus pandemic having now been declared, it’ll now be easier to persuade employers to allow you to work from home. There are also strong economic and environmental incentives for doing so, as it’ll save you from spending time, fuel and CO2 on getting from one place to another.

Prepare to go it alone

Before you can quit your job and strike out alone, you’ll need to take a few preparatory steps. First, you’ll audit your spending habits. When there isn’t a steady paycheck landing at the end of every month, getting those bills paid becomes difficult. To make things easier for yourself, you’ll need to be prepared to sacrifice a few things to ease this transition – so get used to the idea.

Understand your own personal psychology

Different people need different incentives to remain productive. If you’re going to be quitting the day job, you’ll need to make the best possible use of every hour, and that often means breaking down the time available and giving yourself small rewards throughout the day. Whatever your buttons might be, it’s crucial that you learn how to push them.

Provide yourself with an occasional reminder

When you’re going through the hardship of transitioning to a different career path, you might find that there are occasional periods of despair. Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this: for best results, you can take a picture of the cubicle (or checkout) you spent so long at, and put it beside your workspace.

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