There are endless quotes about the working life when googled on the Internet; quotes from wildly successful entrepreneurs and authors to philosophers, saints and activists. Some of my favorites are among those who didn’t attain much monetary wealth in their lifetime, but held the invaluable vision of what kind of work creates a happier life.
“Work without love is slavery.” –Mother Theresa
“I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself not for others…” –Joseph Conrad
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” –Gautama Buddha
How many of us can say that we have discovered our purpose or have found ourselves through our work? I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people are always seeking to find the career they would be the happiest and most fulfilled in. For some people it comes quickly and easily, while for others it can take almost a lifetime of searching.
In the interim of getting to the point where you have found what you are meant to be doing, we all, of course, have to work to make a living. That means taking jobs we don’t necessarily love - jobs we wake up wishing we didn’t have to go to - and weekdays spent living for the weekend. I always find myself thinking that there has to be an easier way than this system we have set up for ourselves.
If there’s no way to beat the system, then there has to be some way to work around it - or at least try to be happier in our day to day routines. Here are some tips for making your workweek a little more manageable and hopefully more fulfilling before your weekend begins.
Getting up earlier
I love to get as much extra sleep as I can, even if that means hitting the snooze button five times before getting out of bed. The mornings I end up doing that though are usually the days where I feel more hectic and rushed. When we leave less time for ourselves in the morning, we start our day off in a panicked state – running out the door and arriving just on time, if not late, for work.
Try and leave yourself more time in the mornings to do things that relax you and get you motivated. It could be making yourself breakfast, reading the paper, going to the gym, doing yoga; whatever brings you peace of mind, practice doing those activities in the mornings to set the tone for the rest of your day.
Making plans for weeknights
I find that the days I have plans after work are the days where I feel happier in general. It doesn’t have to be every night, but when I have something to look forward to in the mornings, it makes my day a little easier to get through.
Whether it’s cooking dinner at a friend’s place, going to see a movie, having a wine night with friends or simply watching some of your favorite shows on Netflix, making plans for ordinary days helps to break the monotony of your schedule and freshens your routine.
Taking pride in your work
Even if you absolutely dread your job and can’t see yourself working there forever, until you do find a career that you’re happy in, it might be a good idea to start finding things in your current surroundings that you do enjoy.
Sadly, most people do not like their jobs and feel stuck in the positions they’re working in. You always have a choice to change the things in your life that you don’t like. Try and find something at your job that does resonate with you – it could be a coworker, an upcoming project, a skill that you didn’t see yourself using but are actually really good at.
When you take pride in your work, even if you dislike it, you begin to shift your perception and open the doors to more opportunities in your life. Find greatness in yourself and in your work; if you can’t find it in your current circumstances, then work just as hard to find that greatness elsewhere. Just as you strive to land the perfect job, strive to find your perfect happiness.
As Steve Jobs beautifully said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”