How to Survive Long Shifts


Lately, my job has been scheduling me for twelve hour shifts. I work a regular food service job that I don’t particularly care about, so alas, these are miserable. It’s open to close, setting everything up and taking it all down. Plus, I work in more of a dining hall with different stations, and I’m typically at one tiny station. All day. Luckily, I have cool coworkers so at least I can venture out to talk to them when we’re not that busy.

If you ever have to work a long shift, here are my main tips for survival! Hopefully they can help you out.

1. Grab coffee

I make sure I have coffee before I clock in for work. It’s my favorite type of drink, really, so I might as well treat myself for torturing myself, right? If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you can have any other favorite drink (tea, smoothie, Red Bull, whatever), or maybe a favorite breakfast item to start your day instead.

2. During break, get away

I actually liked it better when I had two jobs and went to one right after the other. I simply cannot stand being in the same place, doing the same thing, for twelve hours. It drives me crazy. I try to at least go outside or to a different building on campus when I’m on break.

3. Jam out to music

My job unfortunately does not have music playing from speakers anywhere like regular restaurants do. Sometimes I’m allowed to have one headphone in (or to just play music from my phone) when we’re opening or closing. I try to take advantage of this especially during long days because music keeps me motivated.

4. Have something to look forward to

I always think of something fun and/or relaxing that I can do when I get off of work, either for that night or the day after. Last week, I was off the day after one of my doubles so I went to the beach right after work. It was a blast, although it might not be the best thing to do after having such a tiring day (I kind of get sick after long shifts a lot, which may or may not be my fault for this reason). It might be better to relax and pour a glass of wine, take a bath, and read.

5. Prepare for the whole day

Technically you should do this everyday so whoever comes in after you isn’t left with a mess, but I try to get everything done as early as possible when I’m working all day. Anything that I can get done early, I do. This way, I can leave as soon as we close. I can also start to slack off towards the end of the day when I get tired without getting behind for it.

Do you ever have to work long hours? If so, how do you handle long work days?

3 thoughts on “How to Survive Long Shifts

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