Make Room to Love the Work You Do
Here’s the thing: We spend most of our hours working, and nearly half of us don’t enjoy our work. Is that lack of joy emblematic of the work or is it indicative of how we approach the work at hand?
The Conference Board conducted a study of 1,500 employed individuals and found that 51% were satisfied with their job. Meaning, 49% were not satisfied. Dissatisfaction can result from boredom, working in the wrong industry, being overworked, or simply doing work you dislike.
But – and this is perhaps the most fundamental cause – it also can result from a failure of presence of mind and spirit to bring to whatever the task at hand is. We’ll put that fact aside for a later conversation around what practices can shift your awareness. For now, we’ll focus on how you can make more room for work that lights you up.
Making room for the work you love is important for every visionary, business owner, or creative. Even if you’re feeling tired, unmotivated, or dissatisfied, you can set aside time in your week for your passion project or more time for the part of your work that brings out your best genius qualities. Your doing so gives you a sense of agency in your work life and work flow. You can recognize that – whatever your circumstances – you have certain choices during most weeks on what work you will pay attention to and how you frame the work at hand.
Reclaim Purposeful Work
The default alternative to assuming agency in your work flow is simply to show up and check off your to-do list or to fulfill assigned tasks. This is essentially treating your work like a job. Your doing so means you’re essentially “dialing in” massive hours of your one life while you navigate traffic, meet deadlines, or fulfill obligations. If you’re dialing it in, don’t fret. You can change that way of approaching your life without changing jobs. For now. Stop and check in with these inquiries.
- Pay attention to what activities, work, projects, or questions make you feel most alive.
- Ask yourself what you would do this week if making money weren’t a factor.
- Get back in touch with your young genius and what activities and work bring it out.
- Consider the moments when you feel at your best.
Then make time to wonder. Take a walk with these inquiries. Spend five minutes every morning for the next week writing your responses to these queries. Doing so lights up your curiosity and sense of wonder. Wonder isn’t kids’ stuff. When you leave room for wonder, you leave room for your passions.
Passion projects and impassioned work aren’t just for fun. They keep us engaged, driven, motivated, and very often, they make us more successful at work. A passion project might be a daily focus on health and wellness. It could be a yoga practice. It could be writing a graphic novel. It could be starting a new blog or an expansion on your business. It could be journaling or meditating.
Schedule In the Work You Love
It doesn’t matter what it is – an event planning business, a podcast, yoga training, or a new book. What matters is that you’re including this passion project in your to-do list. When writing your weekly schedule or adding meetings and projects to your online calendar, make sure to plug in thirty minutes, an hour, or two hours for the work you love.
If you have a full-time job, assume agency and craft your job. Job crafting means you advocate for shifting what tasks you work less on or more on (see your responses to the inquiries above), shifting whom you work with or don’t, and shifting your mindset and framing of parts of your job.
If you can, use your walk, your coffee break, or your lunch time to focus on the work you love or refreshing your attitude.
We all have those days in which distractions seem to get in the way of the work. It’s especially challenging to stay focused on the work you love when you’re feeling overworked, distracted, or stressed.
Channel your purpose into everything you do. Bring your purpose to the office, to family dinners, to the gym, to the passion project, to your meditation practice. Let your purpose lead you to the work you love and to love the work you do. When you’re in touch with your purpose, you’ll find the journey is not just bearable, but more enjoyable.
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