This is one of those taboo like work topics. Some people think you’re not at work to have fun and that’s that. I beg to differ having worked out the average person is going to spend nearly 100,000 hours (that’s a lot of zeros we would rather have in the bank instead) of their life at work. I think what you do for a living has to be enjoyable, maybe not all the time but certainly most of the time. It’s time to stop doing stuff we hate just to pay the bills- I don’t believe we are just here to work, pay the bills and die.
So having said that let’s explore what might make you unhappy at work. The obvious things people might start looking at are your boss, the work you’re doing, company culture etc but sometimes this isn’t even the problem- even though it ends up looking that way.
1. Unnecessarily long commute
I’ve discovered people will tell themselves all kinds of reasons why their decisions are the right ones. Once you make a decision your mind will go about finding evidence to support this- more often than not you will find it. Long commutes yes can be used to learn, catch up, plan etc. However, the reality is if you’re commuting long distances or spending a long time travelling you are just burning yourself out. You get to the office frazzled before your day even starts because of train delays or cancellations, traffic stress or other chaotic instances. Starting your day and ending it with stress is unlikely to help your motivation, performance and productivity.
2. Poor quality relationships
If your outside work relationships aren’t great then chances are how that makes you feel will impact on your work and how you feel about work. These relationships issues can range from poor friendships, family conflicts or arguments with boyfriends or girlfriends or non-existent social circles. Most people try to be professional and some people are genuinely great at compartmentalising, but whatever you don’t resolve or deal with in one area of your life tends to show up somewhere else as a something seemingly unrelated
3. Poor finances
If you’re mismanaging your money or are in a lot of debt whether you can afford to pay it or not chances are you will stop enjoying your work. If all you ever seem to do when you get paid is pay lots of bills and have very little left to treat yourself then you will probably start questioning why you are doing this job. Rightly so if all you ever seem to have is more month at the end of your money. We are wired to enjoy reward and recognition, meaning whatever gets rewarded will get repeated. If you can’t reward yourself for going to work and spending your precious hours working then you’re unlikely going to stay motivated for long.
4. No outside work interests
If you have no out of work interests and all you are ever doing in the week is work, sleep, eat and repeat you will slowly but surely lose sight of what you love and enjoy and who you are. This will probably extend into relief of coming off the treadmill on Fridays, flaking out on commitments on Saturdays and being hit by Monday blues on Sundays. The more this happens, the less likely you are to even enjoy your own company in and outside work.
5. Lack of exercise
Caused by lack of time, or maybe just pure laziness. It’s a vicious cycle. If you don’t have time you can’t exercise, if you don’t exercise you affect your health and well being. Your energy levels aren’t going to be great, you will probably feel tired and lethargic. The last thing you will want to actually do is exercise. You’re unlikely to feel good about yourself and work or anything else in general.
So what then? Make a decision. Change the one thing that will have the biggest impact on your work and life and the rest will follow. Decide whether you want better or worse for yourself from this point on and then take action.
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