Create a routine. Don’t let your hours slip away each work day with the mentality that you are “just waiting to go to work.” First, realize how long it takes you to get ready for work and how much travel time you need to arrive at work on time. If it you need 30 minutes to prepare for work and 30 minutes travel time to work, then plan your day so all your activities are completed 1 hour before your punch in or clock in time. If you plan on doing errands, etc. and driving directly to work after your errands plan on having those activities completed in time to allow your 30 minute travel time to work.
Run your errands in the morning. Grocery stores, banks and shops tend to be less busy before 1 p.m., so you will save time by beating the crowds in the late afternoon (when all the first shifters rush to the banks and stores before they head home for the evening). If you have never shopped during the morning hours during the week, you will be amazed how quick you can get your shopping done! If you drop kids off at school, save gas and time by doing some shopping after you drop them off.
Make your appointments during the day well before your scheduled work time. Decide if you would like to make your appointments first thing in the morning with enough time to return home and then leave for work, or leave from your appointment and go straight to work. If your doctor or dentist generally are unpredictable, schedule the appointment time 2-4 hours before you need to leave for work. Better to have extra time if your appointment gets done sooner than risk getting to work late.
Leave notes, voice mails, or text messages during the week to keep in touch if you and your loved ones have opposite schedules, Hearing your voice or getting a note from you when they return home will add some cheer to their day.
Record your favorite TV programs that you miss while working second shift. Pick a relaxing time when you can watch them. Save time by skipping all those commercials! You can also watch whole episodes of many TV shows on the internet at any time of the day or night.
Plan a relaxation time each day for yourself when working second shift. Pick a time that works best for you, either before or after work, doing whatever you enjoy, reading, TV, exercising, daydreaming, etc. Without a planned relaxation time, a second shifter could easily work all day before going to work, return home from work and work some more, then go to bed, get up the next morning and start the cycle all over again! So, for your physical and mental well being, plan some fun times while working second shift!