I was driving to work the other day – it was still dark, it was cold, it was pouring with rain, and traffic was at a standstill. Looking around, I could tell people were grumpy, fed-up, and exhausted before their work day had even started. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, too; man, if I could be anywhere else but here right now… damn you, work, for getting in the way of a nice relaxing life…!
Then I quickly checked my thoughts. I didn’t want this negativity to influence my work or my interactions for the day. I remembered at a previous place of work that there were a bunch of people who were constantly complaining about their job. It used to drive me nuts – if you don’t like something, CHANGE IT, I wanted to tell them. It frustrated me that they would be bringing everyone else down with their negativity and self-pity.
And yet here I was, almost doing the same.
Generally, quitting your job on a whim isn’t really the best option – after all, you have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and career ambitions to work towards (and travelling the world staying in 5-star resorts sadly requires funding). BUT changing your attitude towards your job is something that is much more achievable. Without getting too life-coachy on you, it is also important to remember to stop and count our blessings from time to time.
We spend so much of our time and energy at our job, so rather than simply going through the motions like a drone everyday, we should get enjoyment from what we do. Burnout is normal, particularly when the weather is also glum, so here are 8 reminders to help you reignite your love of your work!
1. You are not your job
Your job does not define who you are – but how you do it does. I remember having an ‘aha’ moment at a local fruit shop. I saw a man there who was working stacking fruit. While most people might find this to be a fairly monotonous and thankless task, you could tell this guy loved his job. He carried out his tasks with a positive, cheerful, passionate attitude that was evident while he worked. I was actually kind of envious. Remember that how you treat people – colleagues and clients – is much more important than what you actually do.
2. What’s important to you?
Your job should not just be about the money you get paid. What else do you get out of it that is important to you? Are you learning new skills? Do you get to travel with your job or experience new people and places? Remind yourself of all the other opportunities that you get through your role (but also that you get a regular paycheck, paid holidays and other benefits – those are not things to be sniffed at!).
3. Don’t get caught up in politics
With the amount of time we spend at work with our colleagues, it can be easy to get caught up in office politics. DON’T! Negativity and unnecessary bitchiness will only drag you down. Avoid conversations that focus on the downfalls of colleagues and ditch the gossip sessions. Approach interactions with compassion and an open mind and you’ll enjoy spending time and getting to know your colleagues much more.
4. Make it work for you
Sometimes it’s not the work that gets us down, but the restrictions of a 8-5 lifestyle. If possible, try and make your job work around what’s best for you. Perhaps you can leave later in the morning, or get out to visit the gym at lunch, get away early one day to watch your kids play sport, or work from home a day or two a week. Just a small adjustment to your routine can make it much more bearable. Talk to your boss or your team to find a solution that works for everyone – so long as the work gets done, I’m sure they’d rather make small allowances than lose you completely.
5. Your job is helping you to achieve your goals
Whatever your personal goals are, remind yourself that your job is helping you to get there. Perhaps you want to pay for a new car, take your family on a month-long holiday or to become recognised for a certain area of your work. Focusing on how your job is helping you to achieve these goals will give you back the motivation to get up in the morning.
6. You have purpose
Staying at home in my pyjamas and watching back-to-back episodes of Orange Is the New Black sounds pretty great to me for a lazy Sunday. But how would I feel if that was my reality every day? If I had no reason to get up and get dressed in the morning?
You have a job because you have skills and talent that is needed. How does what you do ensure the success of the company you work at? Having a purpose – whatever that is for you – gives us self-worth. Don’t forget that what you do contributes to something pretty cool. Be proud to be a part of it.
7. Turn your commute into ‘you’ time
Instead of banging the steering wheel and cursing anyone who cuts in front of me, I’ve decided to turn my time in traffic jams into a positive. After all, there are actually now not many moments in life where we are forced to sit with our own thoughts (and no smartphone to scroll through)!
Download some podcasts to listen to for your drive to and from work, turn up the volume on your favorite tunes or use your hands-free kit to phone a friend. Create a ritual for yourself where you take a moment to give a little gratitude for things you’ve experienced throughout the day. Whether you’re on the bus, train, bike or car, just take some time to chill out rather than resenting the journey.
8. Switch off
Leave work-related thoughts at the office when you leave for the day. Enjoy your life outside of work – your sports, hobbies, social life, family time and other interests. If you’re fully productive during the day at work, then you’re entitled to walk out the door on-time and make time to enjoy your personal life!
Let’s face it, most of us have some place we’d rather be than in the office, but considering how much time we need to spend at work, it’s critical to our own well-being that we’re doing something we enjoy, in an environment that we find positive and uplifting. Small changes to our approach and attitude can have a big impact on how we, and those around us, feel about our job. Try it and let me know how you get on!