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Why do we work 9 to 5? What a bizarre concept that we all do this at the same time. That we all drive to work in the morning and drive home at the same time at tea time. How bizarre!

After this we all have tea, watch TV and then go to bed. Before we get up and do it all again.

It’s a form of control. Beliefs about how we should work a 9 to 5, five day a week lifestyle are controlling our behaviour and our lives. Everything else we do is constrained by when we work.

We don’t have to work like this. What if we worked differently? Work that we feel inspired to do. At a timetable to suit us.

There are many ways to break out of the 9 to 5 and the restrictions it imposes on our lives.

Find a 9 to 5 Alternative

Find a job or create a business that allows you to work from home
Create passive income (books, music, online courses, rental property, affiliate marketing)
Work part time (spend less and you can work less). Or have several part time jobs to fit around your lifestyle.
Job share
Work 6 months on / 6 months off
Create an online business. (courses, classes online, e-commerce, sell your stuff online, advertising on a website, virtual assistant, online consultancy – SEO, finance, business, fitness classes online, social media training – the list is endless – Google is your friend here.)
Create a side hustle
Create multiple income streams (for example, a part time job and a side hustle)
Work 2 or 3 long days and have the rest of the week off.
Take a skill and turn it into a business where you work the hours you want – handyman, sewing, photography, baking, graphic design, painter and decorator…
Take your job and make it your business – hairdressing, beautician, web design, travel agent, estate agent, mobile mechanic, recruitment…
Take an everyday activity and turn it into a business with the hours you want – dog walking, cleaning, window cleaner, babysitting, gardening, ironing…
Work a job with alternative hours
Seasonal work
Work weekends and have the week off
Start a business with somebody else and share the work commitments.

There are infinite alternatives not listed here. Create your own way of working that has never been done before. There are no rules!

Change a 9 to 5 Job To Suit You

Not quite ready to break out of the 9 to 5 yet. Then, escape the 9 to 5 mindset, by changing the way you work these hours. Ideas include:

Work very close to where we live or move close to where we work
Work outdoors (and get exercise and paid at the same time – no gym membership required)
Get a 9 to 5 which is your hobby or passion – get paid to do something you enjoy.
Can you work 2 or 3 days from home? Ask your boss?

An Alternative Schedule = More With Less Money

If we jump out of society’s constraints we can have more. More time. More connection. More energy to follow hobbies, interests and passions.

If we do things at different times than society expects we can live cheaply and have a better quality of life

We could…

Go to the gym off peak
Go on holiday off peak
Go on breaks in the week rather than the weekend.
Go on a break in Jan and Feb
Go on holiday in term time (I do and I have kids)
Restaurant off peak meals (Mon to Fri)
Travel on trains and planes off peak

If we’re not constrained by work 9 to 5 commitments, we can also have more time. We can:

Spend less time commuting
Go shopping when everyone else is at work
Visit places when they are quieter
Get fuel when everybody else is at work

Quit 9 to 5 By Changing Your Perspective

The problem many people cite is how they are going to quit the 9 to 5. People often worry they won’t have enough money or have the security of a job. It’s ofte a matter of perspective.

It’s been ingrained in us that we have to live life a certain way – get the nice car, the biggest mortgage you can afford, shop til you drop, spend lots at Christmas and work a 9 to 5 job to afford it. 

It’s also been ingrained in us that working 9 to 5 provides a good regular salary, that it offers security and will be difficult to earn as working another way. In actual fact this is complete rubbish. Many people who quit their jobs and work for themselves find they can earn more working for themselves with fewer hours.

Consider the hairdresser who works for a salon. If he quits the salon he can charge more, work in people’s own homes (so has low overheads) and earn more money per hour. Once he or she has a client base, it is relatively stable so he has security and more money.

If you look at things differently, you can begin to see a multitude of ways of how you can drop out of the expected way of living and find a new way. This doesn’t mean dropping your quality of life but it can mean thinking of new ways to do things and dropping out of the rat race.

Some ideas to consider:

Question the Narrative – Keep questioning the narrative. Ask yourself why is it you believe you have to work the 9 to 5 lifestyle? Other people don’t, so why do you? The problem is for many of us, it’s been deep rooted in us since childhood that this is the way to live. We see everybody around us living this way and assume that it’s the only way for us too. But it isn’t. In 2022, there are so many ways we can live.

Is it possible you can earn money if you leave your 9 to 5 job and do something else? If you stopped what you were doing and set up your own business is there the possibility you could actually earn more in the long term? Take yourself out of the equation, could somebody else earn more? If you answered yes then why not you?

Is earning money the be all and end all? Is money the most important thing? What are you trading for earning money at a 9 to 5 job? Your time, energy, enthusiasm, happiness – you’re never go to get these things back.

Make a plan – just sit down and make a plan as to how you can survive out of the 9 to 5. This is your first step to making it happen.

Quit the 9 to 5 By Spending Less

Spend less – if you spend less you can work less. It’s as simple as that. Do you really need the biggest and newest TV? Can you downsize your house and your mortgage? Do you need a car – or the newest model? All the material things you think you need, you pay for with time working. It’s okay to have these things but how much time and life are you trading  to have them. If a car get you from a to b – does it really matter what it looks like? If a house offers warmth, shelter and a safe space does it matter if it doesn’t have the newest kitchen? 

Join the sharing community – car share, do a holiday home swap instead of paying for a hotel, share rides, co-work with other people in each other’s homes rather then paying for an office, share skills – can you bake a birthday cake in return for getting your tap fixed?

Trust Yourself – Being unable to drop out of the 9 to 5 is often just a manifestation that you don’t trust yourself to make it work. But you’ve always made it work in the past, so why not now? Think about the worst case scenario – if things didn’t work out, what would you do? Write it down. In that piece of writing you have the answer – you can trust yourself. You will act and do what you need to do should the situation require it.

Spend less on food – learn to cook – one pot meals are easy and quick to learn and cook from scratch. Help food waste and spend less with apps such as Too Good to Go ( free app which allows you to purchase unsold food from top eateries at the end of service, to prevent it from being thrown away).

Explore alternative movements which can help you leave the 9 to 5 lifestyle. Some will speak to you, some won’t. Find the ones that do. Some ideas include minimalism, co-living, the sharing community (see above) and the tiny house movement. 

Keep reading and learning – there’s a wealth of information out there. You can save money and live well.

While you’re thinking differently here are other society traditions we can consider outing ourselves from…

Mindless shopping
Mindless media consumption… TV
Facebook and other social media
Mindless phone use
Drinking alcohol
Keeping up with the Joneses

What would our life be like if we lived differently? It can bring us all kinds of freedoms we have never imagined. Start yours today.

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