5 Adulting Tips to Help You Prepare for Your First Day of Work

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Congratulations on the new job! The days leading up to your first day can be filled with a ton of emotions. To get rid of the first-day-of-work-nerves and help you prepare, here are five adulting tips.

1. Get organized

Organization (in and out of work) is key to success. It saves you time and makes you more efficient.

If you don’t use a planner, you’re going to want to start. And if you do use a planner, the tips & tricks in this blog post will help you maximize your planner!

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More info on how to use a planner to successfully build your career

Planners are great because they can help you:

  • Say “no”
  • Cope with stress
  • Set and track goals
  • Create a space for positivity

More info to help you decide which of the 3 best planners for young professionals is right for you.

2. Create a general schedule

Creating a general schedule can help you:

  • Stay organized
    • There are so many things to keep track of — birthdays, deadlines, appointments, bills, happy hours, brunches, etc. When you have a general schedule, you can easily find the time to fit everything in.
      • For example, in the general schedule image below, it shows that I have free time from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm every weekday. So, I know that if someone wants to get together, I can quickly and easily tell them I’m free from 5:30-6:30 pm every weekday.
  • Bring routine into your life
    • When you know what to expect, you’re less likely to overcommit to things.
      • Building off of the last example, with a general schedule, I can easily and quickly say “no” to things because I can see how tight my schedule is with only 1 hour of free time a day.
  • Ensure you are spending your time according to your life priorities
    • When you can see on a calendar how little time you have before and after work, you’ll be more selective about how you spend that time.
      • As you can see, in the schedule below, there isn’t much free time because I’m spending most of my days at work. Based on my life priorities, I can decide if this schedule works for the goals I am hoping to achieve.

Here’s an example of a general workweek schedule (Yes, this is an example of the schedule I had for one of my jobs. And this isn’t even that bad).

priorities in life - real schedule

A few things to keep in mind when you create a general schedule:

  • Include commute time with some buffer room and to get to the office 10-15 minutes early on your first day.
  • Just because you create a general schedule, does NOT mean you have to 100% stick to it. It’s okay to deviate from the general schedule every once in a while. The point of creating this schedule is so you can get a birds-eye-view of your week and be able to make decisions on how you spend your time based on what you see.
  • Include meal times. As you can see, I forgot to do that with the schedule above…work-life balance at it’s finest. So fun.

More info: How to define and make time for your priorities

3. Meal prep the Sunday before

I like to fully prepare my lunches and partially prepare my dinners and breakfasts. What this means is I create lunches that will still taste good reheated in a microwave and won’t make the office smell bad. Then pre-cut and pre-cook (ex. bake potatoes or sautee mushrooms and onions) breakfast and dinner ingredients so I can throw everything together in a pot or pan for those meals. This way, I can still eat breakfast and dinner fresh off the stove/out of the oven.

More info: Meal prepping with a group of friends

4. Choose your outfit the night before

This will save you time and help to prevent decision fatigue. I find that if I pick out an outfit the morning of work, I change at least three times. But when I choose the outfit the night before, I don’t even try on clothes. I just throw an outfit on a hanger and call it good.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Even if the office wear is on the more casual side, play it safe.
  • Cover your back, shoulders, and armpits (if you lift your arms, the sleeve should still cover your armpits)
  • The hemline of your dress or skirt should be below your middle finger of your hand when you are resting your arms at your sides
  • Avoid anything sheer or with cut-outs
  • Don’t use leggings as pants

More info: Office wear inspiration

5. Do some self-reflection

This is something I wish I had done before my first job right out of college. If I wasn’t so caught up in starting my career and proving myself, I wouldn’t have completely lost myself in the process. I didn’t set limits for myself so I got to the office by 6 or 7 AM and often left at 6 PM and quickly got burnt out.

Doing self-reflection exercises can help you:

  • Understand your limits.
    • There’s being a good employee and then there’s overworking. A good employee goes above and beyond the daily tasks and paces themselves. Overworking is when you say “yes” to everything even when you feel swamped.
  • Know where you want to set your boundaries and how to set them.
    • I didn’t set boundaries with my coworkers so I often got take advantage of and had to stay at work later to get everything done.
  • Know what you want to get out of this new job.

What now?

Now you know 5 adulting tips to help you prepare for your first day of work. It’s time to get organized, set a general schedule, meal prep, choose your first day outfit, and do some reflection so that you can start your first day on the job feeling (as) relaxed (relaxed as possible) and confident.

Other resources:


Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.