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11 Things People With Long Working Hours Understand So Well

11 Things People With Long Working Hours Understand So Well

The 40-hour workweek has been the American standard since the early 20th century, when Henry Ford discovered the sweet spot for productivity and scheduling. Yet, in recent years, more and more workers are committing to workweeks of 60 hours and above, pushing their minds and bodies to the limits — and incurring dreadful results, like the following 11 difficulties long-hours workers experience on a daily basis.

1. They Are Seriously Scared Of Office Chair Butt

When one spends untold hours parked at one’s desk, one has little opportunity to walk to the water cooler, let alone get the recommended daily dose of exercise! Unfortunately, that over-abundance of sitting can create office chair butt: a flat, saggy posterior that comes from the atrophying of the gluteal muscles. There are a handful of helpful tips to prevent bad cases of chair butt, but long-hours workers still have much to fear for their rear.

2. They Don’t Have Enough Makeup To Cover Their Eye Circles

Long days at work usually mean excruciatingly short nights of sleep, resulting in the dark circles of fatigue under one’s eyes. Despite the plethora of products on the market to cure and cover those under-eye circles, a long-hours worker’s bags are simply too deep to fill. Thus, they not only feel tired all the time — they look it, too.

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3. They Look Forward To Their Long Hours Paying Off

There are plenty of people who seem to be made to work long hours — particularly those who aim to move up the corporate ladder. These people will put in the time to go back to school, take on complicated projects, or whatever else it will take to move ahead in a great management career. While life may not be a party right now, working a ridiculous number of hours is simply a stepping stone to the fulfillment they look forward to from their jobs.

4. They Feel Most At Home In The Break Room

The more time one spends at work, the less time there is to be at home. Eventually, the workplace just begins to feel like home — especially the break room, where one can eat, lounge, and sleep without ramifications.

5. They Live Off Vending Machine Goodies And Fast Food

Sure, one could pack an inexpensive, healthy lunch and dinner every day — but that would mean taking time for oneself instead of rushing to and from the office every waking minute. In contrast, food from the vending machine is convenient, which means one can grab a candy bar and immediately get back to work.

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6. They Are Incessantly Teased By Co-Workers

Just because one member of the team is an overachieving long-hours worker doesn’t mean everyone in the office stays well past 5 p.m. every evening. Most employees give the bare minimum to their jobs, and like grade-school bullies, they will mercilessly make fun of those who put effort into their work. Unfortunately, co-workers’ laziness and tormenting only forces long-hours workers to work longer and harder.

7. They Have No Time For Romance

Conventionally, romance is about slow charm. Passion grows at its own pace, and it usually takes time for two people to develop feelings of love and commitment. Thus, most long-hours workers can’t tolerate traditional forms of dating and courtship. If one must find a mate, the Web is the best place to look, but more often, it is easier to simply go without.

8. They Never See Their Friends — And Always Feel Guilty About It

Of course, one wants to go see one’s friend on open mic night, and of course, one looks forward to trying that new Lithuanian food place with everyone — if only one could get a few hours away from the work desk. A long-hours worker’s friends are always annoyed by the work responsibilities that keep their friend away, and long-hours workers feel the same, but worse.

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9. They Usually Miss Important Family Functions

Most successful people have their families to thank for providing support and stability — especially in the beginning, when long hours kept them away for most of the year. Graduations, anniversaries, and even birthdays are often lower priorities than the project that is due in mere hours. Fortunately, most family members will stick by their hardworking loved ones, no matter how many big events they miss.

10. They Hear Over and Over How Work Will Kill Them

Working long hours is a recipe for a death cocktail. Stress, lack of sleep, eye strain, and sitting for such an extended period of time has been shown to lead to all sorts of physical and mental disorders, from early heart attacks and strokes to dementia. One may be working hard now to enjoy a life of leisure that will never come.

11. They Are Constantly Terrified By News Stories

Every week or so, the media machine produces a new story on someone who has dropped dead from working long hours. The phenomenon is so common in Japan that it has its own name: “karoshi”, or death from overwork. However these poor souls die, we definitely don’t want our beloved long-hours workers to experience the same fate — but how in the world are we supposed to get them to stop working?

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Featured photo credit: reynermedia via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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