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5 tips for doing a full-time job in part-time hours

5 tips for doing a full-time job in part-time hours

I started my job, like many people do, as a full-time worker. Then I had a baby, and when I returned from maternity leave I worked 4.5 days a week. When my childcare circumstances changed, I went down to four days a week.

Did my job get less demanding when I decreased my hours? Not a chance. If anything, it got more demanding. Nothing about my role changed, except that I had four days to do it in instead of five. Actually, I even agreed to take on some new tasks, because I like a challenge – even when it essentially means doing more work for less money.

Working late isn’t usually an option for me because of childcare, and I already start at 8am – getting in earlier would probably break me. I had no option but to figure out how to do my job during the hours I had available. Here are my tips for all the other part-timers out there who feel like they’re struggling to squeeze full-time roles into part-time hours:

1. Talk to your manager

It can be hard to admit that you’re struggling when you’re part time. Many part-timers are so grateful that their employers agreed to reduced hours that they don’t want to admit that they’re having a hard time making it work.

But don’t wait until the work piles up and the stress overwhelms you. You’re no good to your employer if you burn out. Go to them and say, “Hey, I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. Can we talk about which stuff is really important so I can concentrate on getting that done first?”

2. Remind people that you’re part time

There will always be that guy who keeps scheduling meetings or asking you to do things on days you don’t work. I haven’t worked on Fridays in six months, but people still say, “Hey, can you have this to me by Friday?”

Remind them politely that you work part time and ask if you can send them that report or having that meeting some other time. Usually it’s not a big deal if something has to wait another day or two.

And since I mentioned meetings…

3. Stop going to so many meetings

No one has time to waste on pointless meetings, but part-time workers’ time is even more limited.

Many office-based workers spend their days in meetings that stop them from doing their actual work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in a meeting to discuss the conference call we had about the meeting the week before. Oh, and there’s no agenda. Do we need an agenda? Is someone taking notes?


When you get a meeting invite, ask yourself:

• Is this meeting really going to help me do my job?
• Will I have something useful to contribute?
• Do I have other tasks to do that are more important?
• Can I get through this meeting without wanting to gouge my eyes out with a spoon?

4. Put your phone away

If you can’t work longer, you have to work smarter. That means not checking your phone every 20 minutes to see how many people have liked your latest Facebook post. Stick that thing in your bag and don’t pick it up until lunch. Or if you need to do a poo. It’s perfectly acceptable to take your phone to the loo if you’re going to be in there for a while.

5. Believe in yourself

Look, you got this far because of your awesome experience and badass work ethic. Your employer agreed to let you work part time because they value you as an employee and don’t want to lose you. You didn’t reduce your skills when you reduced your hours.

You can do this.

12 thoughts on “5 tips for doing a full-time job in part-time hours”

  • I work in HR and this is such a relatable and helpful post to all the mums returning from mat leave and becoming part timers but need to do full time work load. Thanks for sharing #fortheloveofBLOG

  • I will definitely be using these tips when I go back to work after mat leave. I cut my hours after Heidi to 4.5 days and that half a day makes a big difference. The whole meeting thing winds me up, people arrange meetings about meetings ? #ablogginggoodtime

  • The point about meetings is bang on ! Very few are necessary and unless there’s a particular action for me or Information being shared which I can’t get elsewhere, I don’t go. Recurring appointments for “catch ups” without agendas or specific purpose are the worst. #ABloggingGooodTime

  • Put your phone away is a great piece of advice, not just for those who work full time but those who work full stop! I do way less work when my phone is lying around! #fortheloveofblog

  • Oh it’s so tough working part time and you are expected to still effectively do a full time job or full time hours. I found it a nightmare going part time and was often making my day off by working on a Sunday or on my day off. It’s probably one of the reasons why I quit. Oh and so many meetings, so many pointless meetings I sat in. There’s some great tips for anyone working part time, saying no is a huge learning curve. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  • There are some great tips here – I might try and use some of these for myself. I’d love to be as productive as I am but be able to do less hours. I’ll speak to my boss….
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  • This was me when I went back to work. I’d gone from 5 days to 3 but my workload had somehow increased rather than decreased. The people I work with are really supportive so I wonder if some of the pressure comes from myself more than them? These tips are a really helpful reminder that I can’t do everything! #ablogginggoodtime

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